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Common Development and Distribution License
Author Sun Microsystems
Latest version N/A
Publisher Sun Microsystems
DFSG compatible ?
FSF approved Yes[1]
OSI approved Yes[2]
GPL compatible No[1]
Copyleft Limited[1]
Linking from code with a different license Yes[1]

Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) is a free software license, produced by Sun Microsystems, based on the Mozilla Public License (MPL), version 1.1.

Files licensed under the CDDL can be combined with files licensed under other licenses, whether open source or proprietary.[2] The Free Software Foundation considers it a free software license that is incompatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL).[1] The incompatibility arises from a complex interaction of several clauses that the CDDL inherited from the MPL.[3] The CDDL was submitted for approval to the Open Source Initiative on December 1, 2004 and was approved as an open source license in mid January 2005. In the first draft of the OSI's license proliferation committee report, the CDDL is one of nine preferred licenses listed as popular, widely used, or with strong communities.[4]

The previous license used by Sun for its free software/open source projects was the Sun Public License (SPL), also derived from the Mozilla Public License. The CDDL license is considered by Sun to be SPL version 2.[5]

Example products released under CDDL:

The second CDDL proposal, submitted in early January 2005, includes some corrections that prevent the CDDL from being in conflict with European Copyright law and to allow single developers to use the CDDL for their work.

GPL incompatibility

In the words of Danese Cooper, who is no longer with Sun, one of the reasons for basing the CDDL on the Mozilla license was that the Mozilla license is GPL-incompatible. Cooper stated, at the 6th annual Debian conference, that the engineers who had written the Solaris kernel requested that the license of OpenSolaris be GPL-incompatible. "Mozilla was selected partially because it is GPL incompatible. That was part of the design when they released OpenSolaris. [...] the engineers who wrote Solaris [...] had some biases about how it should be released, and you have to respect that."[6]

Simon Phipps (Sun's Chief Open Source Officer at the time), who had introduced Ms. Cooper as "the one who actually wrote the CDDL",[7] did not immediately comment, but later in the same video, he says, referring back to the license issue, "I actually disagree with Danese to some degree",[8] while describing the strong preference among the engineers who wrote the code for a BSD-like license, which was in conflict with Sun's preference for something copyleft, and that waiting for legal clearance to release some parts of the code under the then unreleased GNU GPL v3 would have taken several years, and would probably also have involved massed resignations from engineers (unhappy with either the delay, the GPL, or both—this is not clear from the video). Later, in September 2006, Phipps rejected Cooper's assertion in even stronger terms.[9]

The claimed incompatibility was also source of a controversy behind a partial relicensing of cdrtools to the CDDL (which had been previously all GPL), which was declared legally undistributable by the Debian project because the build system was licensed under the CDDL, even though the GPL requires that all scripts required to build the work to be licensed freely but not necessarily under the GPL,[10][11] thus not causing an incompatibility that violates the license.[12] Jörg Schilling, the author, claims smake to be an independent project and therefore not violating the GPLv3.[13] (In the mean time, much of the cdrtools code has also been re-licenced under the CDDL.)

See also

Free software portal


External links

  • FAQ on CDDL on Open Solaris Site
  • The Common Development and Distribution License, Linux Weekly News Editorial
  • CDDL Analysis from a DFSG perspective, and Opinion Piece
  • Free software licenses
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