Re: FreeBSD Use Case for Short Identifiers

Sebastian Crane

Dear Warner,

I've read the policy draft you've written; clearly you have given this
lots of thought already. I'd like to offer my take on it:

The policy seems really similar to the REUSE standard [1] for licensing
notices, which combines the SPDX license list with a convention for
where and how to put these notices in the source tree. Given that your
draft policy has many of the same objectives as REUSE, you might want to
consider adopting the REUSE standard fully, as it would allow you to use
existing tools to check and add these notices. It also allows you to
generate SPDX documents automatically, if that is something you are
interested in.

In particular, section 2.4 would become unnecessary with REUSE. One of
the principles of the specification is to provide copyright and license
notices for *all* files, even if that license may be unenforceable. As
the BSD license has very few requirements, it shouldn't be hard for
distributors to comply with it anyway. Again, if all files (even the
trivial ones!) are supposed to have SPDX notices, it would be very easy
to spot the files missing them.

Finally, I also have a few minor suggestions. Copyright licenses aren't
necessarily contracts as stated in section 2; I think that part one of
the short essay 'Free Software Matters: Enforcing the GPL' by Eben
Moglen [2] is particularly good at describing the essence of software

Personally, I would remove sections 3 and 4 entirely and link to a
separate document describing those policies. I sometimes find it
confusing when projects have multiple documents explaining the same
thing, and it also increases the risk of contradictions when one is
updated but not others.

Finally, it occurs to me that full adoption of SPDX license identifiers,
if you decided to choose that path, would be the perfect topic for a
joint press release - maybe something to discuss in the future :)

Best wishes,



Join to automatically receive all group messages.