EPL/CPL Announcement

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at gatech.edu
Fri Apr 17 12:46:07 UTC 2009

Mike Milinkovich wrote:
> You can read more details, including a Q&A, here[1].
> [1]
> http://dev.eclipse.org/blogs/mike/2009/04/16/one-small-step-towards-reducing
> -license-proliferation/ 

IANAL, but it seems like this interpretation of Section 7 is quite
questionable.  CPL 1.0 states,

"The Agreement Steward reserves the right to publish new versions
(including revisions) of this Agreement from time to time. No one other
than the Agreement Steward has the right to modify this Agreement. IBM
is the initial Agreement Steward. IBM may assign the responsibility to
serve as the Agreement Steward to a suitable separate entity. Each new
version of the Agreement will be given a distinguishing version number.
The Program (including Contributions) may always be distributed subject
to the version of the Agreement under which it was received. In
addition, after a new version of the Agreement is published, Contributor
may elect to distribute the Program (including its Contributions) under
the new version."

IBM has the right to make Eclipse the Agreement Steward.  And Eclipse,
/now/ Agreement Steward, has the right to publish a new version.  But
they have not done so.  And until they do, no one can move CPL 1.0
projects to any version of EPL (unless of course they control copyright).

The FAQ asserts that, "We could have created a CPL 1.1 that simply
pointed to the EPL 1.0. But frankly that seemed a lot more confusing
than helpful. Especially since the licenses effectively differ by about
one-and-a-half sentences. However, more importantly, the EPL is indeed
the successor version to the CPL"

but that just doesn't seem legally sound.  EPL 1.0 was created before
Eclipse was Agreement Steward, so it can't be a version of CPL.

I think you /should/ create CPL 1.1, or CPL 1.01, or even CPL 0 (it
never says higher, just distinguishing).  You may notice that this is
what Affero (http://www.affero.org/agpl2.html), SGI
(http://oss.sgi.com/projects/FreeB/SGIFreeSWLicB.2.0.pdf), /and/ the FSF
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) all recently did in very similar
situations (well, the third was a bit more complicated, but
fundamentally the same thing).

You may think that "everyone knows what we mean" but law is code
(http://www.lessig.org/blog/2003/01/code_is_law_is_code.html).  Follow
the procedure you set out, and it will be cleaner.

Matt Flaschen

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