[Fedora-legal-list] [RFC] Switching to SPDX in license tags

Haïkel hguemar at fedoraproject.org
Fri Jul 10 09:20:48 UTC 2015


Forwarding to your attention a mail from Kate Stewart (Linux Foundation)
comparing SPDX license identifiers with Fedora short identifiers sent
on the legal list.

Could be of interest.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kate Stewart <kstewart at linuxfoundation.org>
Date: 2015-07-10 6:53 GMT+02:00
Subject: Re: [Fedora-legal-list] [RFC] Switching to SPDX in license tags
To: legal at lists.fedoraproject.org

2015-07-09 14:24 GMT+02:00 Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com>:
>On Thu, Jul 09, 2015 at 02:03:43PM +0200, Haïkel wrote:
>> On a more practical side, it would mean standardizing on SPDX short
>> identifier to design licenses
>> and exceptions in all our packages.
>> https://spdx.org/spdx-license-list
>I am aware of some projects using these identifiers. However, Fedora's
>use of license abbreviations is different in nature from that of SPDX,
>so I'd be concerned that use of the SPDX abbreviations would result in
>confusion (or else a costly change to Fedora's practices).

The attached spreadsheet compares the SPDX license identifiers with the
short form used by Fedora.

The first tab contains the SPDX License List v2.1 and shows the equivalent
short form identifiers in Fedora.    At this point, there are probably more
forms alike than different, as the SPDX legal team has been working very
hard to make sure there is coverage of the licenses Fedora cares about
and differences are minimized.  Over 80 license short forms from Fedora's
good list were added last year by the legal team.

The second tab is a list of all the Fedora licenses (from the good list)
are not on the SPDX license list, with some comments.  We are
certainly willing to re-consider adding them if you'd like to join us
(or email the list), helping to clarify some of the ambiguities.

For those that prefer, a google sheet with the same information can be
found at:

>(Separately I consider the SPDX identifiers problematic because in a
>number of cases they clash with common organic community abbreviations
>which happen to be in wide use in the Fedora community.)

Challenge is that common organic community practices vary from one
community to another, and have been changing over time.   A goal of
the SPDX license list is to reduce the ambiguity as to which specific
of a license is meant.

The license list itself builds on the work that Fedora started, making it
for the developers to accurately and unambiguously identify specific
The template for each license in the list that we ended up adopting is
based on some of Tom's excellent recommendations from 2010.
We welcome further constructive suggestions on how to bridge
any remaining gaps with the Fedora license list to spdx-legal at

Information on historical discussions of what is included, as well as
the thinking behind the discussion is documented in the team's weekly
can be found on http://wiki.spdx.org/view/Legal_Team for those interested.


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