Legal Team/Fedora-comparison

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Fedora good license comparison

In order to expand the SPDX License List, align with influential existing open source projects, and further enable use of SPDX identifiers - the SPDX Legal team went through the Fedora "good license" list to look for licenses there that were not already on the SPDX License List with the goal of adding as many of those licenses as seemed reasonable. Many licenses were added to v1.20 of the SPDX License List as a result. Licenses from Fedora that were not added were often for reasons such as: license was very old and no one had seen it in use recently, unable to find precise license text, already represented by a license that could be templated (such as many BSD licenses), etc. If a license is not on the SPDX License List, but one wants to identify it in the scope of an SPDX document, then section 5 of the SPDX specification describes a way to create a LicenseRef for such licenses.

A general description and timeline of that work is as follows:

  • Aug 2013: the Fedora good licenses list was taken from this web page: and a comparison as to what licenses listed there were already on the SPDX License List v. not on the SPDX License List
  • The Fedora/SPDX license work proceeded over the course of the next year. This began with an initial pass and recommendation for adding licenses by one volunteer and then review by the whole SPDX Legal team on the bi-weekly calls. This included identifying licenses that were on both lists, but used different names or identifiers, licenses that Fedora grouped by using the same identifier whereas SPDX License List used different identifiers, and other such info. Coordination with members of the Fedora team on questions and input on certain licenses was obtained, especially where discrepancies as to the precise license text or broken links were found, etc.
  • Aug 2014: As a result of this work, v1.20 of the SPDX License List added 73 licenses from the Fedora good licenses list. This was by far the largest addition of licenses to the SPDX License List in one release.
  • July 2015: Due to some interest on the Fedora legal mailing list in using the SPDX license identifiers, the SPDX Legal team posted the comparison of what licenses were on the SPDX License List (including updating to the then current release of v2.1) and the Fedora list in both directions. In this update, some of the licenses that had been added to the Fedora list since the initial pass were added here (but not sure if we caught all). This work was posted on a public Google doc: and the link was posted on the Fedora legal mailing list
  • Aug 2016: Licenses added to the SPDX License List since v2.1 were added to the bottom of the first worksheet, with a note as such. It has not been updated since v2.1 of the SPDX License List