Monday, June 23, 2008

IDE re-license from ASL to EPL

We are looking to re-license our Eclipse IDE code from Apache Software License to Eclipse Public License. The reason for this is to simply align with the bulk of the Eclipse projects out there, to make bundling, deployment and code re-use much easier. The runtime work will remain as ASL.

I don't consider this change any issue as the EPL license is not a controversial one, unlike the LGPL. If anyone can see any issues I guess we can always dual license under ASL and EPL, but I don't want to needlessly confuse things.

I'm looking for community feedback on this before I do the change.



  1. Be careful and double check the restrictions. AFAIR EPL does not allow one to repackage it under GPL. Check the GPL-/EPL-FAQ for that.

    That can lead into a big problem. See the Springframework for example. They put the Eclipse OSGi implementation at their core (ASL) and tyr to distribute it as GPL software. Does not work. Someone should tell them.

  2. Interesting I didn't know that, wikipedia confirms:

    Our ASL work already relies on many EPL libraries as part of the Eclipse framework, so I don't think that keeping our stuff ASL would enable a GPL body of work anyway. All runtime/server side stuff would remain ASL (apart from LGPL/other licenses we depend on).

    We are also looking to leverage other work within JBoss, like the jBPM eclipse work, and that is all under EPL already (or will be soon) - so without making our EPL or dual license, we would struggle to make this easy.

    Hmm wonder why Eclipse chose to use a license that is not compatible with GPL.

  3. The answer to that is simple. GPL would force IBM to open source all their IDE stuff, like all the rational stuff. GPL is crap in my mind. EPL and APL are far better :P

    Apache has an official policy of not allowing GPL stuff, so the same restrictions apply to the stuff that is currently under APL. EPL and APL are compatible AFAIK, so it doesn't really make a difference.

  4. woolfel sorry I think you misunderstood what we said. We are talking about license compatibility not about organisation policy. Yes Apache does not allow GPL software but the ASL is compatible with the GPL. A GPL project can use ASL code, obviously reverse is not possible. So what tf was saying is that a GPL project cannot use EPL license code, as it's incompatible.

  5. No real problem with either, but the apache license make it easier to use within an enterprise. EPL works too, just have to have a licensing discussion with legal...


  6. ahh I misunderstood. I though EPL code can be used from GPL, similar to APL. I'm definitely not a lawyer, but when I was at IBM, everyone had to attend a talk about IBM's official stance on OSS software licenses. I could be wrong, but the lawyers at IBM think it's ok to use EPL software in a GPL project. The reverse clearly isn't true and the lawyers made a point about that "important" distinction.