Talk:Common Development and Distribution License

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Is it a free software licence?[edit]

"...due to some details." - might want to expand that.

Is this a free software license?

FSF asserts that it is a free license, yes. --Webmink 10:03, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The Free Software Foundation asserts that it is a free license and that its incompatibility with GNU GPL is mainly due to some details. What details? --Terrible Tim 23:08, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
All information on this subject is now at a new location on the FSF site. --Webmink 14:21, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Quoting the fsf:
  • This is a free software license which is not a strong copyleft; it has some complex restrictions that make it incompatible with the GNU GPL. It requires that all attribution notices be maintained, while the GPL only requires certain types of notices. Also, it terminates in retaliation for certain aggressive uses of patents. So, a module covered by the GPL and a module covered by the CDDL cannot legally be linked together. We urge you not to use the CDDL for this reason.
  • Also unfortunate in the CDDL is its use of the term "intellectual property".
Snarius 06:10, 28 June 2006 (UTC) goes into the details of the incompatibility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TRS-80 (talkcontribs) 09:56, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
This describes some topics without explaining them, so it does not help to understand the problem.
The GPL applys to the whole work but not necessarily to the whole program. Libc e.g. is part of the program but not part of a "GPLd work" to be discussed. A combination of a "GPLd work" and an independent library thus creates a "collective work" that is not covered by the GPL as a whole. This is how CDDLd work and GPLd work is combined in hundreds to thousands of cases without suffering from the general incompatibility of the GPL. If you do not discuss the GPL in terms of "collective works", you would need to call the GPL a license that typically results in program binaries that cannot be distributed legally. In any case, I believe that discussions about the general incompatibility of the GPL better belong to the GPL article, the CDDL does not cause license incompatibility - except when you try to mix code from different licenses in a single file. --Schily (talk) 12:02, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Please note that User:Schily has a different opinion of the term "collective work" (as opposed to "derived work") than apparently everbody else. Neither opinion (as far as I know) has been tested in court, so there is no guarantee that either opinion is correct. If you do not mix (not even as in "linking") CDDL and GPL code, you are on the safe side; even when User:Schily tries to convince everybody that any combination is fine as long as they are separate files. Most Linux distributions have removed software such as cdrtools that mixes CDDL and GPL files. If this combination were indeed just a "collective work" it would probably be okay, but there is no court decision to support that. So if you want to mix CDDL and GPL or share such a combination, you should probably consult your own lawyer first. Not mixing licenses obviously is a lot safer. --Chire (talk) 20:44, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Please note that User:Chire has a different opinion on what is a "collective work" and what is a "derivative work" than any known lawyer. The Linux distributors User:Chire has in mind, on the other side do not care about legaility and happyly distribute libraries like "libcdio" with GNOME even though GPLd libraries cannot be called from LGPL code. Be careful when listening to User:Chire....he seems to ingore common legal opinions from various lawyers while I just quote opinions from lawyers. --Schily (talk) 21:41, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not having an opinion here, I'm observing opinions, like an Wikipedia editor should do. I'm mentioning both opinions, and the OSS entities who support them: all major linux distributions seem to follow one opinion, and well, then there is your opinion, supported by you and your OSSCC. Given this little support from software vendors, it qualifies as WP:Fringe_theories. The amount of space in Wikipedia given to your opinion is already WP:UNDUE. Please remember that we neither decide nor care who is right, we just list what is there and who supports it. See also: Wikipedia:Why Wikipedia cannot claim the earth is not flat.
You however are aggressively trying to promote your own opinion and software, which is called WP:Advocacy and should be avoided. --Chire (talk) 09:43, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
If you are not promoting your personal opinion, why do you try to attack me just for quoting opinions from well known lawyers? --Schily (talk) 14:46, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Free Software ≠ FSF approved[edit]

  • Free Software = Yes (Although controversially so)
  • FSF approved = No

The reference clearly shows that the FSF does not approve of the licence:

"We urge you not to use the CDDL for this reason."

For now, I'm changing 'Free Software' to 'No', because it is 'FSF approved' that actually shows on the page. To correct this fully, the template also needs changing along with all the pages that use it.

--JamesHaigh (talk) 23:23, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

POV edits by Jörg Schilling[edit]

I have reverted the POV statements added by Jörg Schilling who is currently in a dispute with the debian development team on whether cdrtools is compatible with the GNU Public License and Debian Free Software Guidelines. BigE1977 19:58, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

It would be easy to believe in your precious aims if you also removed the POV from other people added later. Now I get the impression that you have own interest in POV - feel free to correct me if I am wrong. --Schily (talk) 11:45, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Preferred licence[edit]

The CDDL is one of the 9 preferred licenses listed by the OSI. -- This is not clear from the web page, and it should be mentioned on this very site to count as a fact IMHO. Otherwise add a citation link to the bloody mailing list post Schily always refers to, but remember that this is explicitly marked as a draft on the beginning of the mail, and it does not prefer any license over another. I values them by being used in "strong communities", so rather by usage count than by any reasoning. Thus I added a {{Fact}} tag. --Philipp Kern 12:10, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Authorless contributions public domain?[edit]

In the section about author contributions needing to say who made the modification, there is a text which seems to try to justify this: "On the other hand it could be claimed that submissions that explicitely lack identification of the author might be considered public domain (at least until the author can be determined)" - I don't mind someone trying to justify it, but that sounds like nonsense. Everything is copyrighted, with only a few exceptions such as if it is explicitly put in the public domain, or if the author cannot claim copyright (as is the case for the governement of the USA). Any objections to removing that sentence? Gronky 15:10, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

I know of no jurisdiction that would permit to put code from an anonymous contributor under any OSS license. If you are the project maintainer, you need to verify that the contributor owns sufficient rights on the contributed code. If you can verify this and if you can verify that the author of the code is OK with the license a speudonym is OK with the CDDL. --Schily (talk) 12:17, 25 July 2011 (UTC)


Tucker and Schilling agreed that the License for OpenSolaris should be as open as possible and that it should allow other free projects (including Linux) to use code from OpenSolaris as finally only competition that introduces new ideas is important.

Why linux is underscored here ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

About the license?[edit]

This article spends half the time talking about vague accusations that GPL supports have thrown at CDDL, and goes into a little history-- but doesn't actually describe the CDDL. What is different about the CDDL than Mozilla or BSD? What are the implications? The CDDL page seems to be dangerously close to a GPL flamewar. IMHO, the "Controversy" section should be eliminated, the GPL controversy shortened to a single sentence in the introduction, and someone familiar with the CDDL should actually describe the CDDL. Sam 15:35, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

You are correct, the article is too close to a flame war. Given the fact that you may combine CDDL + GPL code in case that you publish the complete source code, it is even wrong in significant parts. (talk) 19:40, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Where's the beef? All opinion, no data[edit]

The article desperately needs direct quotes of all the relevant clauses in the licenses being argued over, not just people's opinions of them, even if those people are attorneys or other primary actors. (talk) 02:08, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree - please will you do so? I find the whole tone flamey and intended to convey a particular POV. So far I have held back from editing since Wikipedia prefers articles by people not involved... Webmink (talk) 02:22, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree too: the article needs arguments, not people's opinions. But I don't think it will be easy to find people not involved in the case and competent enough to write about this. I suggest you, Webmink, give it a try if you want. Just give arguments. I guess Mr Schilling will want to give his. Then we (independant observers) can observe and decide how to phrase things to get NPOV.--OlivierMiR (talk) 14:57, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
The article is full of opinions (not marked as opinions) from people who seem to at least sympathise with Debian and thus seem to be interested to belittle the CDDL. An encyclopedic correct article would explain the CDDL and may explain where the GPL might be incompatible with the CDDL but not vice versa - the CDDL offers general compatibility with other code and thus is not the cause for an incompatibility. There seems to be little hope that someone not involved with the topic will correct the article to give a neutral view. It may help to mark phrases that are obviously POV in the first step, as this may be done by people who are involved... --Schily (talk) 11:34, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Clarify GPL VS CDDL[edit]

To clarify the GPL VS CDDL compatibility question, let us suppose that I create a software S containing (possibly among other things) a part of code covered by the CDDL license, and a part of code covered by the GPL license version 2 (the reasoning might also work with GPL v3, I don’t know). I think that this new software S could be legally delivered with no possible licensing terms. This is what I guess is called "GPL and CDDL incompatibility". (Credits: I use arguments from, rephrased and shortened and adapted to CDDL.) Please tell me what you think.

The reasoning is the following. The GPLv2, section 2 [1], says that: "If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it."

Thus, S should be licensed under GPL, and the GPL terms would also apply to parts of the program, thus also on the CDDL-covered module. However, the CDDL, section 3.4 [2] says that: "You may not offer or impose any terms on any Covered Software in Source Code form that alters or restricts the applicable version of this License or the recipients’ rights hereunder." One of these rights is (section 3.6): "You may create a Larger Work by combining Covered Software with other code not governed by the terms of this License and distribute the Larger Work as a single product. In such a case, You must make sure the requirements of this License are fulfilled for the Covered Software."

But the GPL terms forbids the user to combine any part of S with, e.g., closed source software, thereby "restricting the recipients’ rights" and meaning that the CDDL terms of the included module have not been followed.

Am I right?--OlivierMiR (talk) 16:34, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

There's a few reasons for the incompatibility. I believe all the arguments for MPL vs GPL incompatibility (see should apply to CDDL. For example, section 3.5 of the CDDL says that "You may distribute the Executable form of the Covered Software under the terms of this License or under the terms of a license of Your choice", while the GPL requires that you distribute binaries under the terms of the GPL. Andareed (talk) 02:44, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
The MPL vs. GPL article is full of nonsense. In addition, please note that the GPL does not require to put the resulting binaries under GPL - there is no such requirement in the GPL. It is even impossible to put the resulting binaries under GPL if you look at Linux as an example. On Linux, even with dynamic linking, such a binary would include identifyable parts from libc. As GPL and LGPL are incompatible, you would need to put libc under GPL in order to allow to have the permission to put binaries from GPLd programs under GPL. If you did this, you could no longer use any non GPL software on Linux as you did put your local copy of libc under GPL which is permitted but this change must be clearly marked and would be irreversible (see LGPL). The only requirement from the GPL for publishing binaries is to also publish full source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:26, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Can I please suggest that we talk about the reasoning I proposed, rather than talking about the MPL vs. GPL article in full? I made this reasoning in the first place to avoid too large discussions and to be able to focus on a few points with precise quotes in the licenses texts.--OlivierMiR (talk) 18:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC), you say that "the GPL does not require to put the resulting binaries under GPL", but I quoted a part of the license text which says the contrary. Please, let us stick to the text of the licenses. To be clear about the difference with libc: the situation I am talking about is a CDDL-module and a GPL-module ("Program", in the quoted text) linked and distributed together to form a software S ("work", in the quoted text). The situation about a GPL-module dynamically linked with libc is different, as it is a GPL-module making a "work" by itself, and using an independent, not joined, library (using any licence). I can make a drawing if considered useful.--OlivierMiR (talk) 18:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Why is it controversial that license X is incompatible with GNU GPL? It's GPL's fault that it's so restrictive, not other licenses. (talk) 23:45, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
As far as I was able to understand, the 'controversy' is not about the compatibility/incompatibility itself, but about whether or not the license was deliberately chosen that way as to be incompatible with GPL by request of some Solaris kernel engineers, as Denese Cooper asserted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:10, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes, but what is it?[edit]

I just came to read about the CDDL because I was wanting a general overview of the license itself. This is what I would expect from an encyclopedia, but from reading this I know about everything surrounding the license, except the license. Someone needs to add a section on the license itself: notably what is and is not allowed in the license. I think this is the most important information to have on this page, and is one of the few details not included. I am unlikely to come back to this page (I'm a wikipedia user with enough social commitment to at least offer suggestions, not a full wikipedian), so you should direct replies to this to the community at large, not me personally. (talk) 00:01, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Also came here looking for a plain English summary of the licesne. So it's GPL incompatible, what does that mean with respect to this license? What can't it or can it do? Morphh (talk) 12:25, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

ZFS case[edit]

@Shaddim: if you like to remove the weasel words tag, please find a way to mention that these people cannot go on court because they do not own the related rights. Schily (talk) 17:50, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

@Shaddim: many of your recent edits are not of the quality I would like to see and please note that the fact that someone believes to own Copyright on the Linux kernel does not give then the right to go on court. These people would need to verify that they own sufficient Copyright in an area that would be affected by adding ZFS and they would need to verify that their rights are affected.. Schily (talk) 17:57, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Schily, the question if or if not the SFC has valid copyright claims is irrelevant here. The sentence states very specifically and correctly that the SFC announced their will to clarifiy this situation even in court. We will see if they do it. My guess is "no". Shaddim (talk) 18:02, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
My guess is that if they try, they will not be accepted. I've never heard of these two before and I am sure they do now own affected code. For me it is important, that there will not be a claim in the article that could make people believe that there are people that could really prevent this combination. Schily (talk) 18:03, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
I agree with you here, but this is not in conflict with the statement given. The SFC tries to erect a scarecrow. But they might surprise us. If you want stronger contrary statement, bring a valid reference. Our discussion here is pure speculation. Shaddim (talk) 18:07, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Given that Eben Moglen made a statement that is in conflict with the will of Stallman (even though he still intentionally uses false claims for the explanation in his text, to look less offensive to Stallman) makes me believe that he is not willing to give way to Stallman again as he did with the Debian attack against cdrtools. Note that he in private send completely different statements than he did after he tried to convince Stallman to change his website to become correct. Now that Shuttleworth no longer seems to fear Stallman as well, I am in hope to see a more cooperative way for the future of various OSS licenses. Schily (talk) 18:16, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, lets wait and see what will happen here after the Ubuntu release. Shaddim (talk) 18:19, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Beside, I think your claim about neither Kuhn nor Sandler being a lawyer is wrong; I found several indications that Sandler indeed has an law degree. (e.g. I leave it to you either to remove your claim in the articles or back it with proper refs. Shaddim (talk) 22:23, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

“For me it is important, that there will not be a claim in the article that could make people believe that there are people that could really prevent this combination.” — Great, an admission of POV editing. --KAMiKAZOW (talk) 22:41, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Basic Definition Missing[edit]

This article is missing a basic definition of the subject of the article. After reading through the entire article, I still have no idea what CDDL is, except that it is a free software license. I don't know how it might be different from, say, a Creative Commons license.

Although much of the article is devoted to explaining the existence of an incompatibility between CDDL and GPL, we never learn the cause of this issue. In fact, the article cannot even begin to explain this, without basic definition of the CDDL, because the incompatibility itself is rooted in the definition of the CDDL.

In short, I think this article needs to have a basic definition of the CDDL. In fact, that should be the first or second sentence, like it is with most articles. Dwagndwagn (talk) 04:34, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

The article says that the CDDL is derived from the Mozilla Public License. Personally, I find it appropriate that readers turn to Mozilla Public License#Terms for that info. Don't feel discouraged to port that paragraph over to this article if you prefer so. --KAMiKAZOW (talk) 15:41, 15 March 2016 (UTC)