By John Morrison on Apr 07, 2009
CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) is an OSI approved, Open Source license. CDDL builds on the Mozilla Public License (MPL). CDDL follows file based licensing which means that files derived from commons must use the same license, while files added may use any license. Similarly, changes made to sources licensed under CDDL are expected to be shared, any new files need not be made public.
In terms of patent grant, CDDL provides explicit patent license which would make it easier for businesses to use the software without worries around patents. There is also a provision to discourage patent litigation also referred to as the “patent peace” provision which is about termination of rights in response to patent claims. If anyone initiates a patent claim that involves CDDL software, all rights which they have received to the software from everyone in the community is terminated.
CDDL is flexible in that it allows mixing of CDDL open source files with files licensed differently, including proprietary source files. This flexibility allows licensing new IP created in new files differently and even with a non-open source license. This could be useful in situations where we have third party code that cannot be open sourced and should remain proprietary or we wish to work with the open source base and build some custom extensions.