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Erlang/OTP Released as Open Source™

On Tuesday December 1, the OTP steering group, led by the former chairman Jorma Mobrin and the new chairman Jaak Urmi, decided to release Erlang/OTP as Open Source™.
The source code will be available as of December 8th.

Open Source™ means that the source code is free to the public. In the Erlang Public License, any modifications to that code must be returned to the open source code base. New products based on Erlang/OTP, but with new functionality, can be sold commercially without restrictions. Erlang/OTP as Open Source™ will be available on, as of tuesday December 8th.

Why Release as Open Source™

Erlang/OTP was invented within Ericsson and most Erlang/OTP users are still within Ericsson. In order to speed development of Erlang/OTP, ensure a good supply of Erlang/OTP fluent programmers, minimise maintenance and development costs for the language, and keep the OTP applications up to world class, we need to spread the technology outside of Ericsson.

Open Source Trend

Ericsson is in good company in releasing Open Source™ software, although we are still among the first of larger companies to release core technology this way. Examples of Open Source™ software are: Netscape’s Mozilla browser, the Linux Operating System, and the Apache WWW server.
With Erlang/OTP and the Erlang/OTP-based Robust Web Site Product Suite Eddie (, we provide high availability technology, including load-balancing, failover clusters for NT and UNIX years before Microsoft has similar functionality.

Consequences for the Erlang/OTP product

The OTP Development Group will continue to build stable, supported versions of Erlang/OTP. New functionality from the OTP Development Group need not necessarily be included in the Open Source™ version.
The Open Source™ development tree is separate from the product tree, and includes some untested functionality. The OTP Development Group can take code from the open source code tree freely, and donate code to it.
Erlang Systems will continue to sell the supported version of Erlang/OTP. Organisations building products with Erlang/OTP often want a support contract and a stable version. We also believe that sales of professional services around Erlang/OTP, like education, consulting, and support, will increase.

Legal Aspects

We have thoroughly checked the Erlang/OTP code for patent infringements. Publishing the software is a good way to prevent future patent infringement suits.
The Erlang Public License is based on Netscapes’ Mozilla license, but is shorter and stipulates that any litigation will be settled under Swedish law, using the English language.
Any software based on Open Source™ Erlang/OTP, but implementing new functionality, will be commercial if the copyright owner wishes. For example, Ericsson will not release software for products based on Erlang/OTP as Open Source™.
Any modifications to Open Source™ functionality must be released as Open Source™.
Ericsson can release Ericsson copyrighted code under different licenses.

Jane Walerud

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Updated: Tuesday, 08-Dec-1998 15:12:54 MET
Copyright © 1998 Ericsson Software Technology AB,Erlang Systems.