Open Source Insider

Jan 4 2012   9:09AM GMT

Mozilla overhauls for version 2.0 of public licence

Adrian Bridgwater Adrian Bridgwater Profile: Adrian Bridgwater

Tags:
copyright
Firefox
mozilla
Open source
Patents

The Mozilla Project team has emerged from a full service and oil change with an updated version 2.0 public license for the new year.

The new Mozilla Public Licence (MPL) 2.0 is the first major revamp in over a decade and is hoped to last another 10 years. With it comes support for the Apache and GPL open source licences to make “code reuse and redistribution easier”.

Patent protection and modernisation to reflect recent changes in copyright law have been addressed. The MPL 2.0 has also been polished to “incorporate feedback from lawyers outside the United States on issues of applicability in non-US jurisdictions”.

Mozilla states that the MPL is used for much of its code, including Firefox and Thunderbird — it also enjoys some third party usage by independent software application developers and organisations.

The Lizard Wrangler Mozilla blog stated yesterday that, “Version 2.0 is similar in spirit to the previous versions, but shorter, better, and more compatible with other Free Software and Open Source Licenses.”

The Free Software Foundation has reportedly helped Mozilla tune for GPL compatibility and the team has also worked with the Open Source Initiative for “assistance with compatibility and their ultimate certification of the MPL”.

Mozilla PL.png

Mozilla also points to the following new features:

• It is simpler and shorter, using the past 10 years of in-practice application of the license to help better understand what is and isn’t necessary in an open source license.

• It provides patent protections for contributors more in line with those of other open source licenses, and allows an entire community of contributors to protect any contributor if they are sued.

Version 2.0 also sits apart from previous versions in that it now calls for a “five peer review system” of any submitted code rather than submissions being directed to a single software engineer with specific expertise.

It appears then that in short, Mozilla has opened up to greater international compatibility and global open source community contribution best practice.

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