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19 December 2012, 12:46

EUPL v1.2 to become GPL compatible

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A public consultation has been started to look into how to make the European Union Public Licence (EUPL) compatible with the GPLv3 and AGPL. Joinup, the European Commission's open source portal, reports that the goal of the change is to make it easier for open source communities to use software released under the EUPL. As part of the process, legal specialist Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz has published a draft of EUPL v1.2, which is now open for comments.

The EUPL was launched in 2007 and was OSI certified in 2009; it was designed to be a copyleft licence which has been translated and validated in all European Union member states. The current version, EUPL v1.1, is listed as a GPL-incompatible free software licence by the FSF. In the announcement on Joinup, Schmitz expresses the hope that making the new version of the licence explicitly compatible with the GPLv3 will lead to an official endorsement by the FSF.

The licence change will make it easier to re-license EUPL code under the GPLv3, AGPLv3, MPLv2, and LGPLv2 and v3, as those licences are now listed in the compatible licences section. This should remove the need to perform the complex two-step process the FSF suggests for re-licensing EUPL code as GPLv3 code via the Cecill licence.

Increasing compatibility of the EUPL licence is useful, said Italian lawyer and open source specialist Carlo Piana, who noted that "the GPLv3 is more robust and more internationalised than v2, and the AGPL is the only license addressing copyleft in the Cloud."

The consultation period for EUPL v1.2 is expected to be finished in mid-March 2013. A draftPDF of the proposed licence is available from Joinup, alongside a working paperPDF that explains the rationale for the proposed changes to the licence.


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