Adaltas

About the new BSD license and its difference with other BSD licenses.

As a non restrictive open source license, the “new BSD license” is a commonly used license accross the Node.js community. However, this is only one of the BSD license available along the original “BSD license” and the “Simplified BSD License” or “FreeBSD License”. It may seems confusing as to how you must choose your license based on the clause you wish to endorse.

The “new BSD license” is also referred to as “BSD-new”, “revised BSD”, “BSD-3”, or “3-clause BSD” and has been vetted as an Open source license by the OSI as the “The BSD License”. The original license is sometimes referred to as “BSD-old” or “4-clause BSD”.

The BSD License allows proprietary use and allows the software released under the license to be incorporated into proprietary products. Works based on the material may be released under a proprietary license or as closed source software.

The full text is:

Copyright (c) ,
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  • Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
  • Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
  • Neither the name of the nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

Compared to the original “BSD License”, the “new BSD License” doesn’t include a controversial clause requiring authors of all works deriving from a BSD-licensed work to include an acknowledgment of the original source in all advertising material. This is present as the third clause in the original text:

All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software developed by the .

Despite its name “new”, there also exists an even newer license called the “Simplified BSD License” or “FreeBSD License”. It omits the non-endorsement clause and is thus roughly equivalent to the MIT License. Sometimes, but not in its OSI version, it may close the text with a further disclaimer about views and opinions expressed in the software:

The views and conclusions contained in the software and documentation are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing official policies, either expressed or implied, of the FreeBSD Project.

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