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29 August 2008, 10:05

Google Code's MPL licence ban reversed

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Google has reversed its position on the Mozilla Public License, restoring the ability to use the previously banned licence as an option for open source projects hosted on the Google Code site. The Eclipse Public License (EPL) has also been added to the Google Code project licensing options.

Chris DiBona, Google's Open Source Project Manager, said in a blog posting that the restoration of the MPL as an option was a result of Google's thinking on licences "getting a bit more nuanced". In a later comment, DiBona referred to the removal of MPL as "just a mistake".

Google were considering adding the EPL to the options on Google Code, but realised that this would make the removal of the MPL seem "a little absurd" according to DiBona. The Eclipse Foundation had been petitioning Google to add the EPL for two years. The new criteria for Google Code licence options appears to be that a licence has to have a substantial community of different projects using the same licence. This would eliminate "badgeware" licences where an open source product has a unique licence named after the product or vendor, but allows the Mozilla and Eclipse communities, where numerous plug-in and extension developers use the main projects licence as a single umbrella licence to ensure licence compatibility with other parts of the larger project.


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