EGPL is an alternative License, in the style of the GNU GPL but with Exceptions. That means that you can release a project in Open Source and prevent Anti-Personnel Mines Manufacturers to use it. Of course, it is intended to make people think about Open Source abuses and not as a real-world license. We would prefer, in a perfect world, that people use only GPL and respect it in the essence and not use Open Source for weapons, privacy invasion and such. Sadly, this is not the case.

What is EGPL?

It is a License, very much like the GPL License, except that it enables the author to restrict usage and modification in a special way. This special way is that everybody is free to use and modify the project, EXCEPT a few designated people. Hence the name.

How do I apply EGPL to my software project?

Currently, it’s still in Draft form so only available to our collaborators. When available, you’ll just have to:

  1. Download the EGPL License from the Website
  2. Include it in your Software package
  3. Optionnally, register your Project online so that you can define your Exceptions online. Will be available on http://www.egpl.info.

Ok, I’m a programmer, I like your License but I’m not going to edit lists and pages of Exception!?

Yes, indeed. That why you’ll be able to select “Feeds” of Licenses from established Non-Profit Organization or NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization) that define entities which are creating problems for their target. For example, Amnesty International could define a list of all the Governments that don’t respect basic human rights. You could then Except these governments, or the specific parts such as Ministry of Interior if it regards police brutality, while letting the whole rest of the country use your software.

Is EGPL released yet?

No, not yet. We’re still in Beta / Draft mode. Check: http://blog.egpl.info/?p=13

Why did you create EGPL?

Because some weapons are running linux, because some open source database are used to track migrant and people on the internet. Would the developer of these software agree to help achieve these goals? The idea is to keep the developer in full capability to dispose of his software, AND at the same time release such software in Open Source.

Can I use it as a business model?

Yes. You can perfectly define a list of organization in the Exceptions for your project. Such organizations will then have to get another License, which can be a commercial License. That is in fact another way to do Dual Licensing in a more controllable way. You, as the author, will define who can use your project for free and who has to pay a commercial license.


Is EGPL linked to GNU or FSF or the GPL ?

No, not at all. EGPL was rewritten, paragraph per paragraph, using the GPL v2 as a basis for each content in order to keep compatibility and structure between GPL and EGPL.

Do you advise people to use EGPL?

Ideally, no. We should keep Open Source license completely open. And EGPL is not completely open -by design- because it “excepts” some entity from using the licensed work.

Does Stallman know about this?

As far as I know, he doesn’t. But we can expect him to be furious as hell because this License is not in the true spirit of Open Source (where everything is Open and Free and Unrestricted)

Isn’t this Boycott or Discrimination?

No. Microsoft does have licenses that say “Education Only”, if you’re not education, you have to select another license (which comes with other financial conditions). It’s the same. If EGPL does not apply for you because your organization or entity is in its Exceptions, you need to contact the authors for another licensing scheme. You can do it through the EGPL website through an automated form.


Can you Except people or ethnic groups?

No. That’s very clearly stated in the EGPL License Text. You cannot prevent a specific individual or an ethnic group from using, modifying or redistributing the project or software. Human value is above anything, and this is precisely why this License have been written: to have the possibility to send a clear message to those who don’t respect humans and create pain and sorrow.

Don’t you think some people will abuse the License?

For sure, some people may do stupid things such as adding an Exception like: “Except all the Schools and Hospitals, everybody can use this software”. This is not prevented per-se by the License, and provocation is a tempting act for all the Trolls of the Internet. EGPL is published by a Foundation, and this foundation can legally (it’s written in the License) prevent some entity or organisation to use the License itself. This means the License is recursive (applies to itself) and as far as I know it’s the first License to be this way 🙂

Please consult also the FAQ page on the Wiki.