Radical Open Source – Licensing and MPL 2.0

January 17th, 2012 by Gabriele Ruffatti

Is Mozilla Foundation fostering a more radical open source approach?

To read my thoughts on open source licenses, have a look at my previous posts here and here .

By introducing the MPL 2.0 license , the Foundation probably intended to work for their community, even though, as a side-effect, they have done much more than this.

Interestingly enough, also because he’s an OSI director,  Simon Phipps has concluded his post focusing on the new MPL 2.0 license with the following statement:  : “I welcome the MPLv2 as a positive contribution to unifying the common cause of many open source developers. Well done, Mozilla!

On the other hand, Richard Fontana, welcoming MPL 2.0 too, is more prudent about MPL 2.0 adoption  saying that “despite its merit, I do not expect MPL 2.0 to see wide adoption as an open source license outside the Mozilla project universe

Time ago, Luis Villa highlighted its compatibility as “one of the biggest features of MPL 2.0” .

The new MPL 2.0 is a simpler, shorter, understandable (also by non legal people), modern license favouring code reuse and redistribution because it solves major compatibility issues.

This process is in sync with the revision of other open source licenses. In this regard, see the comment of CC.org. CC.org is revising its own license toward the new CC 4.0. Although CC.org doesn’t recommend its use for software, its revision process includes, among others, the following goal: “maximize interoperability between CC licenses and other licenses to reduce friction within the commons, promote standards and stem license proliferation”.

MPL 2.0 is an open source/free software license: as a weak copyleft license, it protects the freedom of the code, also when used for commercial purposes.

The side-effect of the MPL 2.0 release, including the best positions of various open source developers, can be considered as a significant step forward in the reduction of OSS license proliferation, toward a broader openness adoption.

Then, I confirm Simon’s opinion: “it could be a significant step for a unified OSS licensing approach”, (I add) preserving the identity of different OSS communities at the same time. Well done again, Mozilla!

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Categories: Radical Openness

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