SPDX 2.0 Spec draft: Seeking community feedback for the License Expression Syntax section

Mark Gisi


Attached is the draft of the SPDX Legal Working group’s License Expression Syntax for the upcoming SPDX 2.0 Specification. We are seeking community feedback by September 12th.



Often a single license can be used to represent the licensing terms of a source code or binary file, but there are situations where a single license identifier is not sufficient. A common example is when software is offered under a choice of one or more licenses (e.g., GPL-2.0 OR BSD-3-Clause). Another example is when a set of licenses is needed to represent a binary program constructed by compiling and linking two (or potential more) different source files each governed by different licenses (e.g., LGPL-2.1 and BSD-3-Clause respectively). In this section of the SPDX 2.0 specification we define the <SPDX-License-Expression> construct, a licensing expression string that enables one to more accurately represent the licensing terms of modern day software.



Here are some examples of real world source code license notices that highlight the need for a license expression syntax:



A summary of the SPDX Legal Working group’s decision to add a License Expression Language to the SPDX 2.0 specification can be found here:



We look forward to your feedback.




Mark Gisi | Wind River | Senior Intellectual Property Manager

Tel (510) 749-2016 | Fax (510) 749-4552


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