In the world of open-source software, licenses play a pivotal role in defining usage, modification, and distribution rights. Among these, the Eclipse Public License (EPL) stands out as a popular choice for projects within the Eclipse ecosystem. In this article, we will dive deep into the nuances of both EPL-1.0 and EPL-2.0, shedding light on their key features and benefits for developers and users alike.

EPL Overview:

The Eclipse Public License is an OSI-approved open-source license developed by the Eclipse Foundation. It is designed to promote openness and collaboration while ensuring that any derivative works based on EPL-licensed software remain open source. The EPL is particularly well-suited for software projects integrated into the Eclipse IDE.

EPL-1.0, the initial version of the license, was introduced in 2005. Its primary aim is to encourage the creation of extensions and plugins for the Eclipse IDE. Key features include:

  1. Copyleft Provision: EPL-1.0 is a copyleft license, ensuring that any modifications or derivative works created using EPL-licensed code must be distributed under the same license. This provision preserves the software’s openness and promotes community contributions.
  2. Distribution Obligations: Users who redistribute EPL-licensed software must provide access to the corresponding source code, making it easier for others to study, modify, and build upon the project.
  3. Compatibility with Other Licenses: EPL-1.0 allows projects to link or incorporate code from other licenses, including non-open-source licenses, creating a balance between openness and compatibility.
  4. Contributor Licensing Agreement (CLA): The EPL-1.0 requires contributors to grant necessary patent licenses to users of their contributions. This helps protect the project and its users from potential patent disputes.

In 2013, the Eclipse Foundation introduced EPL-2.0, an updated version that addressed some ambiguities and enhanced compatibility. The changes include:

  1. New Termination Clause: EPL-2.0 introduced a new termination clause that allows contributors to terminate a user’s rights to their contributions in case of non-compliance with the license. This addition strengthens the license’s enforcement.
  2. Additional Grant of Patent Rights: EPL-2.0 includes an explicit grant of patent rights from contributors to users of the software. This further protects the project and its users from potential patent-related issues.
  3. Compatibility with GPL-3.0: EPL-2.0 is now compatible with the GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPL-3.0), enabling developers to combine EPL-2.0-licensed code with GPL-3.0-licensed code in a single project.

Choosing the Right EPL Version:
Project maintainers and contributors must carefully consider which EPL version to adopt for their projects. Existing projects licensed under EPL-1.0 may choose to upgrade to EPL-2.0 for its enhanced features and compatibility.

The Eclipse Public License (EPL) serves as a robust and community-friendly open-source license, offering a strong copyleft to preserve openness and encourage collaboration. EPL-1.0 laid the foundation for subsequent versions, while EPL-2.0 brought valuable updates and compatibility enhancements. Both versions offer developers the freedom to create innovative software within the Eclipse ecosystem. As the Eclipse community continues to thrive, the EPL remains an essential choice for projects seeking to foster a vibrant and collaborative open-source environment.

If you’re interested in exploring a comprehensive list of various open-source licenses and their details, feel free to check out our guide to “Open Source Licenses : A Guide To Software Licensing“. Happy licensing!


  1. Eclipse Foundation. (2005). Eclipse Public License – Version 1.0.
  2. Eclipse Foundation. (2013). Eclipse Public License – Version 2.0.
  3. Open Source Initiative. (n.d.). The Eclipse Public License 1.0 (EPL-1.0).
  4. Open Source Initiative. (n.d.). The Eclipse Public License 2.0 (EPL-2.0).

Note: The references listed above provide valuable information about the Eclipse Public License and open-source licensing in general. Readers are encouraged to explore these resources for further in-depth knowledge on the subject matter.

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