FreeBSD BSD License 3 -> 2 Clause History

Warner Losh imp at
Tue Dec 30 14:56:13 UTC 2014

> On Dec 30, 2014, at 2:12 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp <phk at> wrote:
> --------
> In message <CAD2Ti2-=cUmABeDMFpuSvHp_h0PUXZTF6J-2TdiKi+nsRfskUA at>
> , grarpamp writes:
>> The change in question, from 3 to 2 clause, is here in Dec 1999:
>> Next step is to ask imp/phk, and search the FreeBSD lists around
>> that time for context as to why.
> I think you are reading more into that commit than it contains:
> It merely asserted "Copyright of Compilation" over FreeBSD.
> The compilation copyright does not 'infect' the copyrights of all
> the individual works it is composed of, it only protects, as for
> instance the US copyright law says:
>    1) The collection and assembly of pre-existing material, facts, or  data;
>    2) The selection, coordination, or arrangement of those materials; and
>    3) The creation, by virtue of the particular selection,
>       coordination, or arrangement of an original work of authorship.
> As I remember this event, it was more about being able to defend
> the name and trademark FreeBSD than anything else, and it happened
> as response to the trademark finally getting back to the project
> after the WC/IX/WR saga.
> However, I should caution that I was out of core for a couple of years
> when this finally transpired, so I was not privy to core@'s deliberationso
> Neither the core monthly or project quarterly reports mention it.

I was in core at the time, and it was about that time we started to cleanup
the licenses in general. The two-term COPYRIGHT was changed to reflect
the most-favored license in the tree, and the one that we wanted people
to start using. Around the same time, there were a number of other license
changes after individual authors were contacted about removing the other
clauses. It had less to do with the trademark issues, though that was also
added to the COPYRIGHT file around the same time.

It was about this time that GPL’d programs started disappearing from the
tree as well. It has been a long progress, but we’re finally getting close
to kicking out gcc, binutils and maybe gdb, while still maintaining a full,
integrated build either with the new clang or an external toolchain (though
the latter still needs a few more pieces to fall into place).

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 842 bytes
Desc: Message signed with OpenPGP using GPGMail
URL: <>

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list