CPL To EPL Transition Plan Frequently Asked Questions
For informational purposes only
This FAQ provides answers to commonly asked
questions related to the transition of Eclipse projects from the
Common Public License version
1.0 to the Eclipse
Public License (EPL). Details can be found in the
CPL to EPL Transition Plan (.pdf).
This FAQ is provided for informational purposes
only. It is not part of, nor does it modify, amend, or supplement the
terms of the CPL or EPL. The CPL and EPL are legal
agreements that govern the rights granted to material licensed under it, so
please read them carefully. This FAQ should not be regarded as legal
advice. If you need legal advice, you must contact your own lawyer.
This document was last updated on August 26, 2004.
- Why is the Eclipse Foundation changing licenses?
The EPL was written specifically for
the Eclipse Foundation. First,
it changes the Agreement Steward, formerly IBM for the CPL, to now be the Eclipse
Foundation for the EPL. Second, it addresses concerns that some Eclipse Foundation
members had with a clause in the CPL that deals with possible patent
litigation. Many members and
prospective members had concerns with this clause, and viewed it as overly broad. For more
information on this please refer to the EPL FAQ.
- Can you summarize the plan briefly?
The plan is to license the current
release of each Eclipse project, together with any maintenance updates, under
both the CPL and EPL for approximately 6-8 months. This transition period will be
roughly aligned with major releases of the
Eclipse Platform. This will give
the community adequate time to adjust to the changes.
- What if a project can’t meet the timelines in the plan?
If any projects find the timeframes
to be impractical or feel the plan imposes an unreasonable burden for other
reasons, they should request an exception to the plan from the EMO. The EMO is prepared to work with
projects, and with the Eclipse community generally, to mitigate the impact of
the license transition process.
- How will inbound contributions be handled?
will be changed to specify that by default, inbound contributions will be
contributed under both EPL and CPL during the transition period. This is necessary to support dual
licensed maintenance streams of current releases.
- What if I want to contribute code under only the EPL or CPL to a dual licensed stream?
Contributions under a single license
will be possible but not encouraged and will be handled as special cases
(similar to the process currently used by the PMCs and EMO to deal with third
party code contributed under a license other than the CPL). Approval requires a
strong technical argument for including the code, explaining what the
functionality is, why it is needed, and why other options that fit the dual
license framework are infeasible.
- What about previous releases like Eclipse Platform 2.x?
Past release streams that were
licensed under CPL only and are still in use (e.g. Eclipse 2.x), will continue
to be supported as CPL only.
- Will new development streams be dual licensed also?
No, all new development streams
going forward (e.g. Eclipse 3.1) will operate under EPL only.
- When will the re-licensing process be completed and the transition period end?
This is a two-stage process, with two important dates.
The plan for the re-licensing process is for it to be completed for all projects by December
31 2004. By that date, and for every project, CPL only development will cease,
the current release will be offered under dual license, and new development
will be EPL only. At some switchover
date (currently expected to be in 1H05), all Eclipse development (including
maintenance) will move to EPL only.
The exact date of the switchover will depend on individual project
- When will we see EPL versions of major Eclipse projects?
For now, major
projects will prepare dual licensed releases. The Eclipse Foundation
will be contacting all contributors to obtain their agreement to publish under both
EPL and CPL.
- What is the Re-Licensing Committee?
The Eclipse Foundation Board of
Directors has created a committee called the Re-Licensing Committee to
monitor the progress of the transition.
- I am a committer and I received an email asking me to
identify contributors whose code I committed. Why am I getting this?
Contributors to an Eclipse project
provided their contribution under the CPL. We are seeking their agreement to dual license their
contribution under both the CPL and EPL. To facilitate this process Eclipse is
asking all committers to identify the contributors they personally know
about. We would like to get their
contact information (employer, address, etc.), and also would like to know what
they worked on and roughly how much code they contributed. All of this will help us to first,
decide exactly who needs to be contacted and second, collect the required
- What is the Eclipse Foundation going to do with the
personal data it is collecting?
We intend to build a contributor
database so that in future we can do a better job of managing and recognizing
- What is an "individual committer"?
Most committers working on Eclipse
projects currently are employed by an Eclipse Member Organization, and are
working on Eclipse in the course of their regular employment. Individual committers are those who
fall outside this category. If the individual committer personally
owns his/her contributions, then he/she may simply agree to re-contribute under
the EPL. If some other entity owns
the contribution, such as their employer, then he/she must obtain the permission of that entity to
re-license the contribution.
- Once all the required agreements are obtained, what
options does a project have to actually implement the re-licensing for projects/builds that
will be licensed under the EPL?
Eclipse Foundation is currently suggesting projects use one of two options. Option
#1 is to modify all files including
source files to change all legal notices, abouts, feature licenses, feature
update licenses, and the Software User Agreement, to refer to "EPL"; rather than
"CPL" but only for those projects/builds that will be licensed under the EPL.
For those projects/builds that will be licensed under the CPL, no changes are
required. Option #2 is similar to Option #1 except source files will NOT BE UPDATED.
This means that the CVS repository and
source builds for the stream will contain source files with effectively
"incorrect" license notices that will be "overridden" by
the Abouts, Software User Agreement and other legal documentation. The use of this mechanism and the
status of each project will be well publicized and documented on the website
- What if I’m still confused about what my options are with
respect to the re-licensing process?
Contact your PMC Lead or the EMO, they will help you sort things out.
- What if a project can’t get this all done by the December 31 deadline?
The Re-Licensing Committee has the
authority to approve exceptions to the plan, on the recommendation of the EMO,
that would allow a project more time.
The criteria for considering an exception are: the size of the project;
cost to completely change all source files; project schedules; available
resources; and impact on the Eclipse community.