Licensing an Eclipse RCP application as GPL

| | August 5, 2015

I’m currently developing an Eclipse RCP application an I would like to release it under GPL v 3.

As far as I can tell, Eclipse Public License (under which the RCP code is licensed) allows this, but the Free Software Foundation says that EPL is incompatible with GPL. As I understand it, this only applies to the case where you want to use GPL source in an EPL licensed application, but developing an RCP application and licensing it as GPL should be ok, right?
Especially since I’m not modifying any of the original EPL code, therefore my application cannot be considered a ‘derivative work’ of the existing EPL code.

Am i right in my assumption, or not?

Thank you for your answers.

3 Responses to “Licensing an Eclipse RCP application as GPL”

  1. Well, I guess this answers my question.

  2. I guess LGPL would be a good option

    http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Lesser_General_Public_License

  3. I think the first thing to say is: please, if at all possible, using the EPL instead. Combining modules that come under different licenses is never trouble free, and could end up meaning your code is not widely distributed or used by the community. (eg. each distribution that wants to package/distribute your application has to double check that the licenses are compatible, which isn’t productive work.)

    You are asking the correct question though, which is; am I creating a derivative work of the EPL code?

    The “derivative work” test is complex though – it is not sufficient to not modify any of the original EPL code – it is about whether your application includes or is reliant any EPL licensed code.

    However, the GPL does specially exclude “System Libraries”, and allow them not to be licensed under the GPL. It would appear to me that the RCP libraries probably fall inside that exclusion, as they are part of the platform upon which you are writing an application.

    Equally, the EPL allows obviously separate modules to be licensed under any license you like.

    So it would appear that the situation you outline is okay. However, I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice.

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