Open source licensing question

Cinly Ooi cinly.ooi at
Fri Jul 3 16:04:43 UTC 2009

Dear Gurvan,

It is the right place to ask your question, but you will need to clear
everything with your lawyer first.

2009/7/3 Gurvan Le Guernic <gleguern at>

> Dear All,
> I am looking for advice about open source licensing. If it is not the right
> mailing list, please accept my apologies. In that case, could you direct me
> to the right place to ask my question?
> We are developing a software that we want to release under an open source
> license (ideally preventing reuse of our code in proprietary software). The
> software uses some libraries with different open source licenses. We are new
> to open source licensing and it is not clear for us which open source
> licenses we can use. Could you provide advice on the matter?
> Our software uses 2 libraries. Those libraries are:
>  * Apache Derby, distributed under the terms of the Apache License, Version
> 2.0.
>  * SWT, and some other Eclipse libraries, distributed under the terms of
> the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0, except for some third party content.
> We have not modified those libraries. We just use them, but as we want to
> distribute a self contained version of our software we want to distribute
> those libraries with our own code.
> Our software is distributed under the form of a JAR file (similar to an
> executable zip file). This JAR file contains our code and a directory
> ("libs") containing the libraries under the form of JAR files. Those JAR
> files have been downloaded from their library webpage and included in the
> "libs" repository without any modification.

How you actually distribute your binaries is not relevent to the discussion.
But if you use third parties software, make sure you satisfy your duty in
distributing their source code, if there is such an obligation.

> From what we understood from the incompatibility between the GPLv3 and the
> Eclipse Public License, we can not distribute our software under the GPL v3
> or under the "GPL v3 license, except for some third party content (Apache
> Derby library and Eclipse libraries including SWT)".

Yes. EPL unfortunately, remains incompatible with GPLv3.

I  do not think SWT is different from other eclipse libraries, i.e., I don't
think it is exempted from GPLv3, but I may be wrong.

> Which open source licenses preventing reuse of our code in proprietary
> software, which is not broken by the licenses of the 2 libraries and do not
> break the licenses of the 2 libraries, can we use?

The two licenses are strictly speaking, incompatible with each other.

You might be able to distribute it under GPL by granting exemption for the
eclipse library, if you do not use any third party code with GPL.

Best Regards,
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