More permissive JavaScript license

Mozilla proposes an alternative license to JavaScript specifications that allows for forks. This aligns with the W3C software licensing covering HTML and CSS.

Mozilla announced this week that Ecma International, the ECMAScript standard to JavaScript, has created an alternative JavaScript license. It is more permissive for derivative works.

Mozilla stated that Ecma now offers two licenses. Depending on the needs of technical committees, one of them can be adopted. Ecma licenses ECMAScript, but other web technologies like CSS and HTML can be licensed more freely by the World Wide Web Consortium. Mozilla stated that the different licenses can create overhead for legal review which could impact contributions.

The new Ecma licence aims to be in line with the W3C’s work. Mozilla stated that its text is largely based upon the W3C document and software license. This provides a legal framework and guarantees that internet infrastructure development can continue without interference from any other organization. Ecma’s default licence, which is not W3C, has some restrictions on the creation of derivative work. Mozilla argued that Ecma’s default licensing provisions are not a problem in practice but they don’t reflect open source principles, especially for JavaScript.

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With the intent of preventing forking, the default Ecma license provides a document and a location for work on a particular standard. Mozilla wants everyone to be able to contribute to the evolution of the web. Therefore, we introduced an alternative Ecma International license. The latest version ECMAScript 2002 was approved last week by ECMA.