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Eclipse Public License

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Title: Eclipse Public License  
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Subject: Comparison of integrated development environments, Eclipse (software), Symbian, Comparison of code generation tools, Virgo (software)
Collection: Free and Open-Source Software Licenses
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Eclipse Public License

Eclipse Public License
Author Eclipse Foundation
Latest version 1.0
Published February 2004
DFSG compatible Yes[1]
FSF approved Yes[2]
OSI approved Yes[3]
GPL compatible No[2][4]
Copyleft Limited[2]
Linking from code with a different license Yes[5]

The Eclipse Public License (EPL) is an open source software license used by the Eclipse Foundation for its software. It replaces the Common Public License (CPL) and removes certain terms relating to litigations related to patents.[6]

The Eclipse Public License is designed to be a business-friendly free software license and features weaker copyleft provisions than contemporary licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL).[7] The receiver of EPL-licensed programs can use, modify, copy and distribute the work and modified versions, in some cases being obligated to release their own changes.[8]

The EPL is approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI)[3] and is listed as a free software license by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).[2]

Discussion of a new version of the EPL began in May, 2013.[9]


  • Compatibility 1
  • Derivative works 2
  • Later versions 3
  • Comparison with the CPL 4
  • Notable projects 5
    • Licensed solely under the EPL 5.1
    • Multi-licensed under the EPL and one or more other licenses 5.2
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The EPL 1.0 is not compatible with the GPL, and a work created by combining a work licensed under the GPL with a work licensed under the EPL cannot be lawfully distributed.[7] The GPL requires that "[any distributed work] that ... contains or is derived from the [GPL-licensed] Program ... be licensed as a whole ... under the terms of [the GPL]", and that the distributor not "impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted". The EPL, however, requires that anyone distributing the work grant every recipient a license to any patents that they might hold that cover the modifications they have made.[7] Because this is a "further restriction" on the recipients, distribution of such a combined work does not satisfy the GPL.[2]

The EPL, in addition, contains a patent retaliation clause, which is incompatible with the GPL for the same reasons.[2]

Derivative works

According to article 1(b) of the EPL, additions to the original work may be licensed independently, including under a proprietary license, provided such additions are "separate modules of software" and do not constitute a derivative work.[8][4] Changes and additions which do constitute a derivative work must be licensed under the same terms and conditions of the EPL, which includes the requirement to make source code available.[8]

Later versions

If a new version of the EPL is published the user/contributor can choose to distribute the software under the version with which he or she received it or upgrade to the new version.[8]

Comparison with the CPL

The EPL was based on the Common Public License (CPL),[10] but there are some differences between the two licenses:

  • The Eclipse Foundation replaces IBM as the Agreement Steward in the EPL
  • The EPL patent clause is revised by deleting the sentence from section 7 of the CPL[6]

A clause contained within the CPL allows for developers to migrate software under the terms of the CPL to the terms of the EPL at any time,[10] similar to how users of the GPL version 2 can migrate to the GPL version 3.

Notable projects

In addition to the Eclipse Foundation, the EPL is used in some other projects, especially (but not limited to) those running on the Java virtual machine.

Licensed solely under the EPL

Multi-licensed under the EPL and one or more other licenses


  1. ^ "Copyright information for Debian package eclipse-emf". Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". Retrieved 2006-09-20. 
  3. ^ a b "OSI approval". Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  4. ^ a b "Eclipse Public License (EPL) Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  5. ^ a b In section 7, this sentence is in CPL 1.0, but not EPL 1.0: "If Recipient institutes patent litigation against a Contributor with respect to a patent applicable to software (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit), then any patent licenses granted by that Contributor to such Recipient under this Agreement shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed."
  6. ^ a b c "Open Source Software: a legal guide | LawGives". LawGives. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Eclipse Public License - v 1.0". Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  8. ^ "Community Review of the Eclipse Public License". 2013-05-31. 
  9. ^ a b "CPL to EPL Transition Plan" (PDF). 2006-09-12. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "jruby/COPYING at master - jruby/jruby".  

External links

  • The Eclipse Public License, version 1.0
  • Eclipse Public License FAQ
  • EPL on OSI
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