IBM, Eclipse Address Open-Source License Proliferation

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-04-20 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

IBM and the Eclipse Foundation have teamed up to address the issue of open-source license proliferation and have moved to supersede the Common Public License (CPL) with the Eclipse Public License (EPL).

IBM and the Eclipse Foundation have teamed up to address the issue of open-source license proliferation and have moved to supersede the Common Public License with the Eclipse Public License.

According to a blog post by Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, this move went into effect on April 16. Milinkovich noted, "License proliferation in open source is a real issue. It costs businesses to review multiple licenses, and the plethora of licenses can be confusing to someone starting a new open-source project."

Added Milinkovich:

"There was a two-step process that was followed to make this happen. First, following the terms of the CPL, IBM assigned the responsibility to serve as the Agreement Steward of the CPL to the Eclipse Foundation. Second, the Eclipse Foundation officially recognized the EPL 1.0 as the new version of the CPL 1.0. In OSI license terminology, the EPL now supersedes the CPL.

"A quick read of the two licenses will quickly show that they are very, very close. Other than their names and (previously) their Agreement Stewards, the only substantive difference is the breadth of the patent license termination in the event of a patent law suit. (See the second paragraph of Section 7.) For more information on the relationship between the CPL and the EPL ..."

Milinkovich said developers can continue to use the CPL if they want to, "although the whole reason we're making this happen is because we wanted to provide projects with an easy option to migrate to the EPL to help reduce license proliferation."

Moreover, Milinkovich said:

"We could have created a CPL 1.1 that simply pointed to the EPL 1.0. But frankly that seemed a lot more confusing than helpful. Especially since the licenses effectively differ by about one-and-a-half sentences. However, more importantly, the EPL is indeed the successor version to the CPL. The Eclipse Foundation and its members developed the EPL from the CPL by modifying those one-and-a-half sentences. The name of the license doesn't change that history." 

 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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