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[20050126] Looking at Sun's new "Open Source" license
I was wondering if the much-rumored new Open Source license from Sun -- called CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) -- was compatible with the BSD license used in NetBSD. After there was some discussion about the start of OpenSolaris.org on slashdot, I had a look. As to my understanding (IANAL!), the CDDL is similar in spirit to the GPL:

  1. All source (changed and unchanged) must remain available under the original license (GPL#2, CDDL#3.1)
  2. Any modification must happen under the original license (GPL#2b, CDDL #3.2).
And as such, the CDDL doesn't seem to be compatible with the BSD license as it enforces releasing of the source code (CDDL#3.1). Presence of a viral component (CDDL#3.2) won't help to this either. See also my posting on Slashdot about this.

Digging deeper in the OpenSolaris.org Licensing FAQ, there's apparently a way to release binaries under a different license, plus the CDDL is file-based, so for mere integration of CDDL-source into Larger Works, the modifications to the CDDL to interface with the other code need to be published. Of course that only helps as long as the CDDL doesn't need to get modified for that. Relevant parts of the CDDL seem to be #1.9A-C for the "licensing on a per-file" base. For the "release binaries under differenc license" statement, #3.5 says that but also states that the new license must not take away any rights that the CDDL grants, so I don't think one can make a binary-only distribution without releasing (modified) sources.

Comments welcome!

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