Wednesday, August 27, 2008
You might remember that we recently removed the MPL from the list of licenses available to projects hosted on Google Code. We did this because we have been trying as a company to make a statement against open source license proliferation. You see, we feel it is damaging to the larger world of open source development if there are too many duplicative licenses. So...Why are we changing our mind about the MPL and EPL now?
Since we started hosting projects, we've been petitioned by the Eclipse Foundation (of which Google is a member) and its community of developers to include the EPL as an option for new projects. We've resisted until now as we felt that the features of the EPL were not unique enough to justify its inclusion. This hasn't changed, but how we think about licenses is getting a bit more nuanced.
Eclipse is an important, lively and healthy project with an enormous plug in and developer community that uses an otherwise duplicative license. They aren't interested in using the BSD or other open source licenses that are readily combinable with EPL code. We have decided that after nearly 2 years of operation, that it was time to add the EPL and serve these open source developers.
We also want to show our solidarity with our friends at the Eclipse project through this action.
Considering the user base, and not just the popularity of an otherwise non-majority license isn't unprecedented for us. For instance: We considered this when we first opened the site in our acceptance of the Artistic/GPLv2 combination which sees little substantive use outside of Perl.
In that light, our removal of the MPL from the site seemed a little absurd. So, our bad. We're putting that option back up for new projects. The groups that want to use the MPL to enable their additions, extensions and more for Firefox and other Mozilla projects are legion and considering their recent summit, represent a very healthy global collection of developers.
Let us know what you think in the comments and we look forward to seeing the new projects that we'll be able to serve here on Google Code.