For Approval: CeCILL (providing source)

Stephane Dalmas Stephane.Dalmas at
Mon Sep 12 06:38:24 UTC 2005

Wilson, Andrew wrote:

>Francois Letellier wrote: 
>>Dear all,
>>To my knowledge, the English translation of this license is here: 
>>, and is 
>>considered to have the same legal value as the original French text.
>>But I could not find a clear status of whether CECILL is OSI-approved or 
>>not, and why.
>Russ Nelson will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe CeCILL is in
>the pile of licenses awaiting the next OSI board meeting for official
I think so (or more accurately hope so).

>I personally would advise against OSI approval.  My two previously-stated
>points were (1) triviality, since CeCILL can collapse to straight GPL at
>any point in the distribution chain, and (2) the onerous
>nature of the licensor's obligation to
>provide sources over the entire term of the license (potentially 70
>years under US copyright laws).  All other copyleft licenses, starting
>from GPL, put a reasonable time limit on this obligation.  Having freshly
>re-read the license, now I'll add (3) the excessively broad patent
>covenant not to sue, which is not limited to the actual CeCILL-licensed
>work or its derivatives.
See my previous answer on the first two points. The patent clause seems 
perfectly fine for such a license (in the spirit of the GNU GPL).

As far as I understand (but things seems quite unclear at this point...) 
OSI approval MUST be based on the 10 (or 13...) points of the OSD. 
Nobody argued that CeCILL was not meeting the 10 old points (the "old 
definition" ?). From the few discussions on this list, the only 
remaining problem is whether one may judge that CeCILL "duplicates" the 
GNU GPL. If by "duplicate" one means more than duplication of the 
general principle, CeCILL does not duplicate the GNU GPL for the reasons 
I explained earlier on this list. But a more general question may be : 
do we want to raise the level of legal safety with Open Source licenses 
or not... And do we want to keep the rather US centric view of what 
could be a good license...

Internationalization of licenses is a very difficult problem but it is 
not a reason not to try to solve it. CeCILL is a first attempt for 
Europe and we plan to go ahead.


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