European Union's open source…

European Union's open source licence to become compatible with GPLv3

Published on: 18/12/2012

The European Union's open source licence, EUPL, is to be revised, aiming to make it compatible with the GPLv3 and AGPLv3 and other licences. A public consultation begins today on Joinup, with the publication of a first draft and a background document on some of the proposed changes.

The main reason to update the licence is to remove barriers that could hinder others in the open source communities from using software licensed under the EUPL. "Making it explicitly compatible with the GPLv3 should increase interoperability", explains Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz, a Brussels-based legal specialist involved in the drafting of the EUPL.

This should for instance make it easier to combine EUPL and GPLv3 software components or to use both licences to publish a project, says Schmitz. "It should also put an end to the categorisation by the Free Software Foundation of the EUPL as not fully GPL compatible."

Making these licences compatible makes a lot of sense, commented the Italian attorney and free software legal specialist Carlo Piana. "The GPLv3 is more robust and more internationalised than v2, and the AGPL is the only license addressing copyleft in the Cloud."

Identical in 22 languages
Work on the European Union Public Licence began in 2005. The original objective was to license software produced by the European Commission, starting with the applications developed by the EC's projects on IT exchange projects involving the EU member states; IDA (which ended in 2004) IDABC (ended in 2009) and ISA (current). A second aim of the licence is to bring other public administrations to make their software available as open source.

The first version of the EUPL was published in 2007. It allows others to re-use the software and lets them improve and share the code. The licence also takes into account the EU law and that of the EU's member states. Starting with version 1.1, published in 2009, the EUPL is available in 22 official linguistic versions, that have identical legal value.

The EUPL forum is open for comments until mid-March 2013. The new update of the EUPL, version 1.2, is planned for publication in June 2013.

More information:
Public Consultation on the draft EUPL v1.2
EUPL v1.2 (draft, pdf)
EUPL draft 1.2 working paper (pdf)