[REUSE] Handling of template licenses (think BSD, MIT)

Kai Köhne Kai.Koehne at qt.io
Thu Oct 8 16:07:20 UTC 2020


Hi,

I'm currently evaluating if we can adapt Reuse also for the Qt Project (qt.io), but want to understand Reuse better before proposing it to the whole project.

Is there some best practice to handle template licenses like BSD-3-clause, that have parts that is more often than not adapted by individual authors?

https://spdx.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause.html

The red parts mark text snippets that are often adapted, but still allow the whole license to be qualified as BSD-3-clause. So while the conditions of the BSD-3-clause are obviously the same, it seems to me that each and every of these 
variants create a slightly different license, and I'm not sure it's ok to just ignore these variants - especially if they are not just about an added comma, or the way paragraphs are enumerated, but about e.g. company names instead of 'COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS'.

Is there any common practice to handle this? I could think of

A) Creating variants like LicenseRef-BSD-3-Clause-xxx.txt that exactly match the original text.
B) Keeping the original text in the source files, and have a SPDX-LicenseIdentifier: BSD-3-clause line in addition.
C) Just ignoring the 'data loss'

IMO A) arguably defeats the purpose of the Reuse standard. B) preserves all information, but then consumers might still need to parse the source files ...

Does Reuse have any recommendations regarding this?

Thanks!

Kai

--
Kai Köhne, Director R&D | The Qt Company

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