The Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) has been selected by the OSSCC as the best choice for a reciprocal license.

OSI compliance

The CDDL is a fully OSI compliant license.

License type

The CDDL is a reciprocal license. with a strong Copyleft

The CDDL compared to the MPL

The MPL is partially in conflict with the European Copyright law, the CDDL has been designed to be compliant to the US Copyright law and to the European Copytight law.

Other design goals have been to create a license that is less burdensome, easier to read and understand and more consistent in terms of language. The CDDL also fixed a problem with reusability in the MPL. In addition, the CDDL enhanced the patent peace provisions. The CDDL is one of few OSS licenses where the community did really influence the content of the license. This caused the CDDL to become usable equally for companies and for individuals.

Here are the redline diffs between MPL-1.1 and CDDL. There is also a summary of changes between MPL and CDDL and detailed list of changes between MPL and CDDL. The information is available from Sun's CDDL page.


The CDDL gives patent grants and it contains rules that help to defend against patent trolls.

The CDDL in collaborative works

The CDDL license allows code flow from and to CDDL licensed projects into projects under a different license. CDDL licensed code may be incorporated into any other work as long as the code is not merged within a single file. CDDL code needs to be in files containing CDDL licensed code only, but the CDDL does not disallow to combine with code under different licenses in a single work.

For this reason, the CDDL is one of the licenses recommended by the OSSCC for new projects.

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