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It is not clear for me if it is possible to include software licensed under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 2.0 in commercial closed software.

I have found some related questions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) that deal with EPL 1.0. As far as I understand, software licensed under EPL 1.0 can be included in commercial software as long as:

  1. Modified code under EPL 1.0 is released. Not the whole software, only the modified work.
  2. The contributors of the EPL 1.0 code are properly identified (Notices are maintained) and their liability is limited.

Question 1

However, I have not found questions addressing EPL 2.0. This question in EPL 2.0 FAQ suggests the situation is the same but I am not sure of whether there have been significant changes. Specifically, I am struggling with the concept of secondary license although I think it is not relevant in the case of commercial software.

Is EPL 2.0-licensed software still usable in the conditions above?

Question 2

I am also unsure about how to distinguish the modified work from the rest of my code. I understand that if the modified work is a separate module or library I do not need to release the whole code. However, if I make significant changes that greatly modify the original code but depend on it, am I required to release everything? Is it possible to change the license in this case?

Question 3

What if I develop a separate module to be used with the software released under EPL 2.0?

1 Answer 1

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The language of EPL licenses are confusing to many users, because the defined terms are not exactly what most people expect. For example if you look at the difference between the definitions of 'Contribution' and 'Contributor'. It is important to note that within the license language the term "the Program" only refers to the EPL-2 licensed code (or any modifications thereof), but not to the entire project that uses the EPL-2 licensed library.

Q1: "Is EPL 2.0-licensed software still usable in the conditions above?"
I am assuming that the conditions above refer to "include software licensed under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 2.0 in commercial closed software".

Section 3.1b allows you to distribute your closed-source software, which includes elements of EPL-2.0 licensed software, under certain conditions. The conditions are easy to fulfill, you just need to name the library, state the license, provide the source (section 3.1a), keep any existing any copyright, patent, trademark, attribution notices etc (section 3.3), and on behalf of all other Contributors disclaim all warranties and conditions. Nothing will put your proprietary know-how at risk.

The 'secondary license' is irrelevant for your use case.

Q2: "... if I make significant changes that greatly modify the original code but depend on it, am I required to release everything? Is it possible to change the license in this case?"

When you change the original EPL-2 licensed program, you need to provide the source code of that modified program under the EPL-2 license. You cannot change the license of that modified program, but for your entire closed source project the answer to Q1 still applies.

Q3: "What if I develop a separate module to be used with the software released under EPL 2.0?"

You can easily do that, the EPL-2 license does not create any implications on the licensing of your separate module.

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