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[epl-discuss] GPL compatibility for EPL v2


Jay's question reminded me that I have been wanting to start another discussion thread on GPL compatibility for some time.

At Eclipse we have quite a few projects which are dual-licensed EPLv1 and BSD. For those who are not familiar with it, Eclipse has its own version of the 3-clause BSD license called the Eclipse Distribution License (EDL).

Although there a variety of reasons why projects select the EPL+EDL combination, by far the most common reason given is that the project requires some way to be GPL compatible. We see this quite a bit in the IoT space for example.

The downside to having a project EPL+EDL-licensed is that we lose the copyleft provisions which provide helpful community-building attributes.

My proposal would be that we look at what it would take to make the EPLv2 optionally GPL-compatible. By "optional" what I mean is that we would do the opposite of the approach taken by the MPL 2.0, where code is GPL-compatible by default, and which could be over-ridden by a notice file. I would propose that by default the EPLv2 is *not* GPL-compatible, but the Initial Contributor for a project could add a notice file adding in the necessary terms to be GPL-compatible. This would provide projects with the ability to be GPL-compatible without adding a permissive license to the mix.

For this to be worthwhile, I think we would need to be able to provide compatibility with both GPL 2.1 and GPL 3.0.

So esteemed readers: what do you think? Is this a good or bad idea? Is it even possible? I understand that GPL 2.1 compatibility can be more difficult (if not impossible) to accomplish.

Mike Milinkovich
+1.613.220.3223 (mobile)

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