FreeBSD Use Case for Short Identifiers

Warner Losh


The FreeBSD project is planning on expanding our use of the SPDX-License-Identifier. Currently, all files have the full license text. We have a mix of files with SPDX ID and those without.

What we'd like to do is expand this so we can accept software that only has a copyright notice plus an SPDX-License-Identifier to indicate the license. To that end, we're trying to craft a policy / document that describes how contributors, users and redistributors of the software can know the license for any given file in the tree.

For the files that have only an explicit license text, it's that license.
For files with both, the explicit license text is the license.
For files with only the SPDX-License-Identifier, the license text can be found in our source tree as src/share/license/<SPDX-License-Identifier>.txt with any copyright notices in the file pre-pended.

To accomplish this, I've started to put together an over-arching FreeBSD policy at which (a) needs to be copyedited and (b) likely needs to have sections 3 & 4 before 1 & 2.

I thought I'd run this by people here for review and/or to evaluate it as a FAQ answer :).


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