The Open Source Initiative (OSI), one of the principal advocacy organisations on open source software, has unanimously approved the European Union Public Licence (EUPL) version 1.1 as an open source licence, on 4 March.
The EUPL lawyers conference, organised by the European Commission on 25 January 2008, has highlighted the need for a number of clarifications to the EUPL v 1.0. In March 2008, the text of the EUPL v 1.0 was submitted to the OSI reviewers. Following this discussion, which was useful and confirmed the need for clarifications, seven modifications were introduced, producing the draft EUPL v 1.1, that was submitted to OSI reviewers in May 2008. This same draft was approved by the European Commission in January 2009, opening the way for OSI certification.
"This is very good news", commented Karel De Vriendt, head of the European Commission's e-Government program (Idabc) that is responsible for the development and maintenance of the open source licence. "OSI's decision certifies that the EUPL is 100 percent compliant with their definition of open source. This will help to convince European public administrations which are developing software for their e-Government systems, that the EUPL is a true open source licence."
Version 1.1 of the EUPL was published by the European Commission on 9 January. The licence is available in all official languages of the European Union, and all these 22 linguistic versions have identical value. This means that developers who want to use the licence can pick whichever language version they prefer.
The OSI is increasingly strict with new licences, to prevent licence proliferation, says Martin Michlmayr, one the OSI board members. In an interview with the German Linux Magazine Online last week, he said he expects the EUPL to be of true value. "For the first time we have a license available in all European languages, valid everywhere and with all translations legally scrutinised."
The EUPL is also compatible with the GNU Public License version 2 (GPLv2) and with four other copyleft licences. Michlmayr: "If you combine EUPL code with GPLv2 code, you can distribute the combination under the terms of the GPL. Given the widespread adoption of GPLv2, that's a very useful provision."
Linux Pro Magazine interview