No problem, Steve.  I think this all looks great, but we definitely need to be 
consistent. The advice we came up with in Appendix V was pretty well vetted, so 
I think that’s safe to stay within those boundaries. 


Along the same lines: this suggestion should NOT be added:  “The MIT and 
BSD-1-Clause are

    examples of license headrs that would not allow this removal.”


That is making a license interpretation which SPDX does not do. Just like if a 
copyright holder who uses GPL-x decides to only use the SPDX identifier may so 
choose to do so; a copyright holder using MIT can decide whether they think 
they have to use the whole license or can only use the SPDX id for MIT in each 
source file. Either way, SPDX needs to be neutral here and not suggest one way 
or the other. 


Thanks for working on this!!





From: Steve Winslow <>
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 2:52 PM
To: Jilayne Lovejoy <>
Cc: John Sullivan <>, "" 
Subject: Re: [spdx-tech] SPDX short-form IDs site


Thanks all (and Jilayne, apologies for the multiple copies!)

Hi John, Jilayne is correct, I was aiming to frame this as something a bit more 
"user-friendly" for developers who might not be familiar with SPDX more 
broadly. I'll take another look at the language from the appendix, and will 
likely clarify the new page to recommend retaining standard license headers 
where provided by the license steward. Thanks for highlighting this.




On Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 4:40 PM, Jilayne Lovejoy <> wrote:

Hi John,

    Steve Winslow <> writes:

    > Hello all,
    > I've been working on a few pages on the SPDX website on why and how to use
    > SPDX short-form IDs. This is intended to be developer-focused, usable by
    > someone who isn't otherwise familiar with SPDX, to get them to start
    > putting SPDX identifiers in their source code.
    > The first cut at this is now available at
 There are a
    > few "read more..." pages linked from that URL. These pages are visible but
    > not yet linked from the rest of the site.

    I can't find the previous links now, but I thought the previous "how to
    use SPDX identifiers" page on the site recommended keeping the
    file-level boilerplate text for, for example, the GPL, and included
    examples along those lines.

Yes, and it still does - the page you are thinking of is Appendix V to the Spec
(which you can go directly to via this link: )
Which is the main source of explaining the use of SPDX identifiers in source 
Notably, in the second paragraph in Appendix V, it states:

        To the extent that a source file contains existing copyright and 
license information,  it is the SPDX project’s         recommendation that SPDX 
short identifiers be used to supplement,  not replace that information.   When 
there is a      standard header provided by the license author, it is 
recommended to use such standard header (alone or in      combination with the 
SPDX short identifier).

I think what Steve is doing here is trying to take that more formal advice and 
create some more "user-friendly" guides for the website.

(also removing my address from thread, so I stop getting this in two 
places __



Steve Winslow
Director of Strategic Programs
The Linux Foundation
Cell: +1.202.641.3047  Skype: 12026413047

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