Question About CPL and EPL

Richard Fontana rfontana at
Mon Sep 6 21:58:58 UTC 2010

On Mon, Sep 06, 2010 at 05:21:13PM -0400, John Cowan wrote:
> David Dodini scripsit:
> > Our company has a dependency on wsdl4j which is covered by the Common
> > Public License. We have a customer who is concerned about using our
> > software because of its requirement to distribute our source per its
> > requirements even though we only rely on it as an external library
> > w/o modification to the original source.
> I'm rather confused why your customer has a problem with receiving source
> (note that it's enough to tell them how they can get source from you,
> you don't actually have to ship the source).  In any case, under the
> terms of the CPL you only need to provide the source of the library,
> not your own source.
> > In our research we found on your site this page,
> >, which states that the CPL is
> > deprecated and superseded by the Eclipse Public License. The EPL is
> > not a concern of ours and our customer as we do not have to distribute
> > our source for using it as an external library.
> In fact, the CPL and the EPL are the same on this point, and differ only
> in their "patent peace" clause (and the name, and who is the license
> steward, etc.)
> > Does the deprecation of the CPL and it being superseded by the EPL
> > indemnify us from adherence to terms of the CPL in favor of those
> > of the EPL even in the the case of a library like wsdl4j which is
> > distributed under the CPL?
> No.  If the CPL applied, it still applies unless the licensor says
> otherwise.

Actually, the CPL says:

  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 says:
  IBM has assigned the Agreement Steward role for the CPL to the
  Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse has designated the Eclipse Public
  License (EPL) as the follow-on version of the CPL.

Note that "Contributor" under the CPL (and EPL) includes a mere

So his company can distribute the CPL-licensed library to others under
(and the company's customer can be bound by) the EPL. However, I agree
with what you say otherwise. The CPL and EPL have, I think,
identically worded provisions relating to source code distribution
obligations, and of course nothing the OSI says can affect what
license governs.

- RF

More information about the License-discuss mailing list