CDDL vs. MPL assymmetry (was Re: Mistaken statement about MPL?)

Mitchell Baker Mitchell at
Tue Apr 12 21:57:36 UTC 2005

As best I can tell, this comment is aimed at the fact that there is an 
grant made by the Initial Developer and a grant made by all 
Contributors.  The grants are in separate clauses of the license.  The 
grants *are not different.*  There are no special rights to the Initial 
Developer.  The grants are separate because we wanted to be clear about 
the scope of the code to which each entity makes a grant.  If a 
subsequent contributor uses one module of code, for example, it might 
not make sense for that contributor to make IP grants to all the code it 
did *not* use.  (It's a complex analysis).  The CDDL puts all the grant 
language into one clause.  it might be better -- it's possible this is a 
more elegant drafting solution.  It might be worse -- it's hard to get 
everything in one place.  We haven't really had a good discussion about 
the differences or why one might be better. 

If, after more careful analysis, it turns out that the CDDL drafters 
have found a way to improve on the grant -- great.  That's why the MPL 
allows people to make changes.   And that's why I hope we all think 
carefully before deciding that the freedom the MPL allows in improving 
license terms is "a failure."

And if this particular clause of the CDDL turns out to be a nicer 
clause, I still remain deeply disappointed by the way this has been 


Alex Bligh wrote:

> Bruce,
> --On 12 April 2005 13:27 -0700 Bruce Perens <bruce at> wrote:
>> Add to that the fact that the CDDL
>> terms are assymetrical.
> Could you expand on why the CDDL is more asymmetrical than the MPL?
> As someone intending to base a license on the CDDL because it appeared
> to clean up a lot of MPL problems, I'd be interested to know your
> view on what substantive asymmetry it introduced.
> I am already aware of the "License Steward is the Initial Developer
> in most current cases" argument.
> Alex

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