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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?
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
- 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
- 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?
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 agreements.
- 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
- What is an "individual committer"?
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
- 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
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