Mozilla Reworks Public License

Mar 12, 2010

Browser provider Mozilla is reworking its MPL open source license. The process should be open and public and lead to modernizing and simplifying the document.

The originator of the Mozilla Public License (MPL) is lawyer Mitchell Baker, who created the license 12 years ago to allow conveying Netscape source code into an open source project. The currently used MPL 1.1 is already 11 years old.

Baker drew for the most on GPLv2 and the Apache license for the original MPL, both of which have new revisions, as the current head of the Mozilla Foundation explains in her blog. With over 10 years of open source experience, it was time to modernize the license.

The rework should occur very much like that for the GPL, as a public process. The Mozilla project is initially planning an alpha version based on MPL 1.1 and feedback gathered over the last few years. Commentary and discussion should follow, with subsequent beta revisions and release candidate drafts until the rework is completed. Accompanying it will be instructions for the licensing and new licensing upgrades.

Target completion is the end of 2010. The Mozilla Foundation has an Updating the MPL site that describes the feedback process, including commenting the current 1.1 license and a dedicated mailing list.

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