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You are here: Home Blogs Licensing The Mozilla Public License version 2.0 is out—and GPL-compatible!

The Mozilla Public License version 2.0 is out—and GPL-compatible!

by Brett Smith Contributions Published on Jan 05, 2012 10:53 AM
Earlier this week, the Mozilla Foundation published the Mozilla Public License (MPL) version 2.0. This is a major update to their flagship license, which covers most of the Foundation's own free software projects, as well as others'.

This release caps off a two-year update process. Inspired by the GPLv3 drafting process, Mozilla launched this effort by publishing a new draft of the license, and collected feedback on it through the web, mailing lists, and meetings. Then they progressively improved the text until it became the final version we have today.

The FSF was engaged throughout this process, especially on questions about compatibility with GNU licenses. The Mozilla Foundation recognizes how important this compatibility is to free software projects, and to date they've made their own projects compatible by tri-licensing them under the MPL 1.1, GPL version 2 or later, and LGPL version 2.1 or later. Now they've taken the next step by including compatibility provisions in MPL 2.0. The MPL 2.0 entry on our license list and Mozilla's own FAQ explain those terms in more detail.

This approach to license compatibility is cleaner and more consistent than releasing software under multiple licenses. It can easily scale to support even more licenses—and MPL 2.0 does that by adding compatibility with AGPL version 3 or later. By making compatibility the default policy, it encourages other projects using the MPL to follow Mozilla's lead (though they have the option to opt out if they wish). Large projects that include MPL-covered code will enjoy simpler license documentation and analysis.

Many people helped shepherd the compatibility provisions through the drafting process. Chief among them is Luis Villa, who was our primary liaison with Mozilla and and put in the hard work to find a policy in line with both Mozilla's goals and the GPL's terms. Gervase Markham and Mitchell Baker at Mozilla also helped with the policy questions, while Aaron Williamson and James Vasile at the Software Freedom Law Center and Richard Fontana at Red Hat contributed to the legalese. Congratulations to the Mozilla Foundation on their successful drafting process.

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