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Eclipse Public License
Author Eclipse Foundation
Version 1.0
Publisher Public domain
Published Feb 2004
DFSG compatible ?
Free software Yes[1]
OSI approved Yes[2]
GPL compatible No[1]
Copyleft Limited[1]
Linking from code with a different license Yes

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 patent litigation. [3]

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). 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.[4]

The EPL is approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI)[2] and the Free Software Foundation (FSF)[1].



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. 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. Because this is a "further restriction" on the recipients, distribution of such a combined work does not satisfy the GPL.[1]

The EPL, in addition, contains a patent retaliation clause, which is incompatible with the GPL for the same reasons[1] (though GPL version 3 also has a patent retaliation clause, in section 10).

Derivative works

According to article 1(b) of the EPL, additions to the original work may be licensed independently, including under a commercial license, provided such additions are "separate modules of software" and do not constitute a derivative work.[4][5] 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.[4]

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 they received it or upgrade to the new version.[4]

Other aspects

The EPL was based on the CPL, [6] 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[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". Retrieved 2006-09-20.  
  2. ^ a b "OSI approval". Retrieved 2007-06-21.  
  3. ^ 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."
  4. ^ a b c d "Eclipse Public License - v 1.0". Retrieved 2006-09-12.  
  5. ^ "Eclipse Public License (EPL) Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2009-12-18.  
  6. ^ "CPL to EPL Transition Plan". 2006-09-12.  

External links



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