[erlang-questions] GPL3 - EPL compatibility

Joe Armstrong <>
Tue May 17 20:28:23 CEST 2011

On Tue, May 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM, Richard Carlsson <
> wrote:

> On 04/26/2011 06:40 PM, Roberto Majadas Lopez wrote:
>> 2011/4/26 Jesse Gumm < <mailto:>>
>>    You're free to release a program under any license you want.  The EPL
>>    pertains to the Erlang language itself, not necessarily to programs
>>    written in Erlang.
> The Erlang language itself is not licensed - anyone can make their own
> implementation if they want.

If memory serves me well this is not quite true. Erlang is (or at least
was)  registered
as a trademark in many countries. You are free to make your own
implementation but
not call it Erlang. The thinking behind this was to try and stop people
making a language
that was called Erlang but that did not have Erlang semantics, they would
have to
use a different name - this is a completely separate issue to the licensing

This was done years ago before open source became open and was still closed
- I have
no idea if this still applies today.

If you want to make your own Erlang feel free, but give it a new name like
iErlang for

Observant folks will have noticed that Microsoft and others are suing Apple
over trademarking claims to the string "App Store"


> The standard BEAM interpreter from OTP is published under EPL, but
> generallly, code running under an interpreter is just considered to be input
> and is not affected by the licensing (see e.g.
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfInterpreterIsGPL). Perhaps this
> is what Jesse meant. The standard library is another matter, however - see
> below.
>> But if i use erlang crypto server or another one released under EPL .
>> can this relationship be considered dynamic link ?
> Yes, it can. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-java.html - the
> situation is the same for Erlang. You can't use GPL (any version) in
> combination with the Erlang standard libraries since they are published only
> under the EPL. The LGPL (2 or 3) can however be used.
>    /Richard
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