The licence is the legal instrument allowing you to use, check, modify and distribute free/open source software (F/OSS or FLOSS). The European Union Public Licence (EUPL) is certainly one of the prefered licences on Joinup, but it is not the only one: you may use any other "OSI approved" licences (about 60 models, including the GPL, LGPL, BSD, Apache, Artistic etc.). The aim of this community is to address your questions related to F/OSS licensing and to clarify legal issues, based on questions received by the Joinup team.
Welcome to all of you! In order to contribute to this EUPL community, you need to be a registered user of Joinup. This is very easy: if you are not yet registered please do so by following the link here. Then navigate to the EUPL community, click on the button 'actions' followed by the option 'Join this community'.
The Community's genesis can be traced to the public forum organized by the European Commission after the disclosure of the draft EUPL v.0.1 in June 2005. “What are your views on the Licence? Have you comments on the proposed text or on the principle of a licence that is written with European legislation in mind?” Bernhard Schnittger (IDABC team) asked. This forum generated controversial opinions: strongly against the initiative, or strongly in favour of it. It has a substantial impact on the draft: 10 of the 15 articles were modified and compatibility with the GPL was implemented, producing the EUPL version 1.0 adopted by the European Commission in January 2007 in three linguistic versions (EN/FR/DE).
The next important milestone was the publication of the EUPL in 22 linguistic versions of equal value. All translation reviewers (two lawyers per Member State) and guest experts discussed the text in January 2008. This conference and discussions with OSI produced the EUPL version 1.1, which is certified by OSI since March 2009.
The objective of the EUPL community is to maintain the focus on F/OSS licensing, especially by public sector authorities. It is to exchange opinions and experiences, to clarify issues, to explore new ideas (the previous EUPL elaboration process has demonstrated that your opinions are important and will be taken in consideration).
The forum is open to all (lawyers, developers, project leaders, but not exclusively). Provide the question is relevant to our focus and fairly presented, there will be no taboo: Has the EUPL its place in the “already too many” circle of F/OSS licences? Is maintaining 22 equivalent linguistic versions sustainable? Should the EUPL compatibility be enlarged to licence X or Y?
In the blog, community members will try to provide each other information related to the EUPL and to F/OSS licensing, that may come from various sources.
Last, let's remember that the objective of the EUPL is not to compete or to replace any existing licence: it is to encourage a new wave of F/OSS licensors, especially among public administrations in Europe.
Thierry Aimé, member of the team of the French Ministry for the Budget, Public Accounts and the Civil Service, has authored a "Practical Guide to using Free Software in the Public Sector".