The first open-source license: BSD

The first open-source license: BSD

  • The first license originally published to the public in 1990 was from the University of California, Berkeley. The computer research group at Berkeley created a variant of the Unix operating system, which became known as BSD, which stands for Berkeley Software Distribution.

  • Initially when this first BSD License was used in 1988, before it was released to the public, it consisted of just two paragraphs.

    • The first was the terms and conditions

    • and the second was a disclaimer.

  • The difficulty with the initial version is that all the terms and conditions are in one paragraph, which makes it very difficult to read. In 1990, the BSD was restructured into four distinctly numbered paragraphs. Today, there are two newer versions of the BSD License, the three-clause and the simplified two-clause license.

  • To be technically correct, the first version of the BSD License cannot be considered a true open-source license. It was not approved by the Open Source Initiative. At best, the original BSD License can be classified as a permissive, free software license.