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Google Code reverses open-source license ban

"Our bad," declares company, deciding that the Mozilla Public License is once again an option for Google Code projects. Also added: the Eclipse Public License.

Google has undone an earlier ban on the Mozilla Public License, an option for open-source projects hosted at its Google Code site.

Chris DiBona, Google's manager of open-source programs
Chris DiBona, Google's manager of open-source programs Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Ostensibly as part of an effort to discourage the proliferation of open-source licenses, Google dropped support for the MPL earlier in August. Now, though, the company reconsidered, restoring it and adding support for the Eclipse Public License as well.

"How we think about licenses is getting a bit more nuanced," said Chris DiBona, leader of Google's open-source team in a blog posting.

Before, the company had tried to discourage the increase in the number of open-source licenses; having multiple licenses can increase legal costs and in some cases prohibit mingling code from one open-source project to another. But the Eclipse programming tool project is thriving, and it's better not to block its projects, Di Bona said.

"Eclipse is an important, lively and healthy project with an enormous plug-in and developer community that uses an otherwise duplicative license. They aren't interested in using the BSD or other open-source licenses that are readily combinable with EPL code," Di Bona said. "We have decided that after nearly 2 years of operation, that it was time to add the EPL and serve these open source developers."

And Google has also allowed some licenses that are employed by particular users.

"In that light, our removal of the MPL from the site seemed a little absurd. So, our bad," Di Bona said. "We're putting that option back up for new projects. The groups that want to use the MPL to enable their additions, extensions and more for Firefox and other Mozilla projects are legion and considering their recent summit, represent a very healthy global collection of developers."