Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Some New License Flexibility

I have been remiss in updating our website with information regarding some decisions made by the Board late last year. Totally my bad.

So here is some good news:

  1. Projects can license their example code using the Eclipse Distribution License (EDL) as well as the EPL. The advantage to this is that it is clearer to Eclipse users that they can start with EDL-licensed example code when they are developing their products or applications. Because the EPL is a copyleft license and the definition of derivative works can be fuzzy, there can sometimes be confusion as to whether something which started its life as a piece of example code needs to be EPL-licensed or not. You can find details on how to apply this to your project in our policy document.
  2. Contributors of “non-code content” such as articles, whitepapers, etc. are now allowed to use two variants of Creative Commons licenses. This should make it easier for people to contribute their works to the Eclipse Resources library and other places on the Eclipse website.

If you have any questions on how to make use of these policy changes in your project, please drop us a line at “license at”.

I hope these improvements help!

Written by Mike Milinkovich

May 21, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Foundation

7 Responses

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  1. I noticed still says this about EDL:

    “Use of this license by an Eclipse project is on a case-by-case basis and requires unanimous approval of the Board of Directors. “

    John Arthorne

    May 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

  2. John,

    Exactly. The Board unanimously approved the EDL for use with example code that conforms to the processes and definitions in the policy document.

    Mike Milinkovich

    May 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm

  3. The literature says that great frameworks grow from examples. What would happen if at some point I realized that the example that was once released under EDL could be turned into an actual component developed at eclipse? Could I change the license of this more generalized version of the code back to EPL?

    Pascal Rapicault

    May 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm

  4. @Pascal – no, re-licensing would be an unlikely, or at least difficult, way to go. The reason why is that to re-license would require the agreement of all the parties that made contributions to the examples while licensed under the EDL.

    But there is, I suspect, actually a simple solution: dual-license the examples under both the EPL and the EDL. That way code could be moved to an EPL-licensed framework based on the examples, while allowing consumers to utilize the code under the EDL.

    Make sense?

    BTW, IANAL and TINLA 🙂

    Mike Milinkovich

    May 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm

  5. This is very timely for me as I do have example code that carries BSD and it may not be simple to get re-license under EPL. I note that the license seems to exactly mirror BSD. Assuming this is intentional. 🙂 Now, is this literally the license i.e. covers the Eclipse Foundation and only Eclipse Foundation or can additional copyright holders be inserted? IOTW, if software were released already under this (BSD) license, would it be possible to simply chain Eclipse on to the list of existing copyright holders and be compliant?

    BTW I appreciate your earlier post re: copy-left aspects of EPL. I hadn’t fully appreciated that aspect, and I am in total agreement — that characteristic makes the EPL perfect for my firm’s. GPL is obnoxious, but what EPL appears to do is preserve the best aspects of that; i.e. platform extenders get assurances that they are not they can use the tools without encumbrance and that they can choose to participate or not, but my work cannot be completely shanghaied toward other less open purposes.


    May 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm

  6. Thx, Mike. Makes sense. I’ll consider the likelihood of such a situation to happen before I relicense the example or templates I have.

    Pascal Rapicault

    May 22, 2009 at 9:57 pm

  7. @Miles,

    The EDL is a BSD license. The BSD is actually a template.

    Let’s talk off-line about the scenario you are discussing. I am not entirely sure I get it. The form of the EDL, including the copyright holders, etc. is the version which is approved by the Board.

    Mike Milinkovich

    May 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm

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