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04 January 2012, 10:21

Mozilla completes MPL 2.0

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Mozilla Foundation logo The Mozilla Foundation has published the final version of the Mozilla Public Licence 2.0 (MPL 2.0), completing a revision process it began in March 2010. The revised licence retains the spirit of its predecessors but is shorter, simpler and now more compatible with other Free Software and open source licences. The Mozilla project has already decided that it will adopt the revised licence. The MPL 1.1 is currently used by Mozilla, as part of a tri-licence, for projects such as Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey.

The Foundation says it has been able to shorten and simplify the licence after ten years of "in-practice application" that has helped them understand what is and isn't necessary in an open source licence. MPL 2.0 also includes updates to allow for changes in copyright law. In common with many other open source licences, the MPL 2.0 adds patent protection for contributors and allows the community to protect any contributor if they are sued. Changes in the licence, developed with the assistance of the Free Software Foundation and others, have improved its GPL and Apache licence compatibility, which should make for easier code reuse and redistribution. The MPL 2.0 is already on the Open Source Initiative's approved licence list.

The complete changes from MPL 1.1 are documented in a "redline" version of the MPL 2.0, but the Foundation recommend that, as the changes are so extensive, it is probably simpler to read the new licence itself for a better understanding of its contents. A detailed Revision FAQ explains more about the revision process and how to upgrade code from MPL 1.1 to MPL 2.0, while a general MPL 2.0 FAQ answers more general questions about the licence and how to use it with new code.


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