Licensing of documentation

Roger Price <>
Tue Jun 28 18:13:40 CEST 2005


On Tue, 28 Jun 2005, Joe Armstrong (AL/EAB) wrote:

> > The Erlang Public License (derived from the Mozilla Public License) is
> > incompatible with GNU GPL/FDL according to the Free Software
> > Foundation
> > http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#NonFreeSoftwareLicense
>
>    This is very strange to me.
>
>    1) The GNU site says that the Mozilla Public Licence is a free license

Free, but incompatible.  Quoting fom the FSF's description of the Mozilla
Public License (MPL):

« This is a free software license which is not a strong copyleft; unlike
the X11 license, it has some complex restrictions that make it
incompatible with the GNU GPL. That is, a module covered by the GPL and a
module covered by the MPL cannot legally be linked together. We urge you
not to use the MPL for this reason. »

I am not a lawyer, and I found this strong enough to discourage me.

>    2) The Erlang public license was derived from the Mozilla license -
> the intention was to be less restrictive than the Mozilla License.

Perhaps the Erlang Public License (EPL) is sufficiently different to the
MPL to make it compatible.  It would be interesting to ask the FSF their
"official" opinion about EPL-GPL compatibility.
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#Introduction

> My suggestion would be to do what you propose and publish according to
> the Erlang license. The important thing is contribute new material which
> can be of benefit to other people and not the legal text at the
> beginning of a document which nobody reads anyway.

Personally, I agree with you, but I worked for many years for a large
organization which employs many lawyers, and which takes IP very
seriously.  I have not worked for them for over 10 years, but I still have
to get their lawyers' approval to publish a program written in my own time
on my own equipment.  I am currently negotiating with them about a GPL
licensed program - I have not yet told them about the EPL.

Cheers
Roger




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