The NetBSD Foundation Moves to a Two Clause BSD License

Curt Sampson cjs at
Mon Jul 21 00:35:17 EDT 2008

On 2008-06-20 23:44 +0100 (Fri), Duncan Coutts wrote:

> It makes sense for NetBSD to go from BSD3 to BSD2 given its historical
> connection with the BSD license but perhaps other projects are better
> off with the MIT license if they do not like the 3rd clause in the
> BSD3 license.

As a NetBSD developer, I was involved in the voting on this issue. There
seemed to be several reasons why we did things this way:

1. There were several options on the table for what clauses we should
remove, some of which would have brought us to "MIT-equivalant" status
and some of which would not have done so.

2. Staying with BSD meant that some licenses that we could not change
(becuase The NetBSD Foundation doesn't own copyright to the code) would
"become standard," as it were, because they already happened to have the
same number of clauses that we decided on.

3. And yes, there is the historical thing, too.

Also, propsoing a wholesale license away from the BSD license would
likely have initiated a flamewar on the developer list of unbelievable
proportions. :-)

Personally, even though I've been a BSD developer for more than ten
years, and a BSD user for close to twenty-five, I picked MIT license for
my recent open source projects. It just seemed simpler than deciding
which clauses I wanted. So I'm all in favour of that.

Curt Sampson       <cjs at>        +81 90 7737 2974   
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