There is Pelican Static Site Generator https://blog.getpelican.com/

  • it takes directory structure with mainly *.RST files ("blog source" written by me) on my HDD and creates another directory structure there, containing mainly static *.HTML files derived from them ("blog") - basically kind of compiler
  • the "blog" is then copied to some web server and served by Apache (or othe server)
  • Pelican it is licensed by AGPL-3.0
  • I want to create different Static Site Generator (maybe named GiGeOSP) roughly based on the same idea and doing something simmilar, but with widly different managing files, generating indexes, set of features etc. etc. but the result will be again "new blog" not much different from the previous

QUESTION: Do I understand correctly, that

  • GiGeOSP must be licenced AGPL-3.0, if it uses part of Pelican
  • none of "blog" and "new blog" is legally bounded to mention by which software was created and not have to link their respective sources (while it would be nice)
  • the "blog" and "new blog" may have any licence I wish to use

as there is none interaction of users of the blogs with the generators?

Blog HTML code is generated just once for each version/release on my home computer, then transferred as whole to another server (by scp, or floppy discs, or CD ... does not matter how), where the generator is not even installed on the server so when user open it in web browser, it just get the static HTMl, but is not in any connection with the generator (my home computer maybe off, or even destroyed at the time)

Aditional questions:

  • if I only got the basic idea, how Pelican works (collect files, use docutils to parse it and jinja to apply some templates to get result) and which general libraries it uses (docutils and Jinja) and then write GiGeOSP from scratch, can I use another licence by my choise (probably just GPL)?
  • it is OK to release generator under one licence (GPL) and set of templates under other (CC-something), if the generator does not make sense without "some" templates, but not necessary those I write?

1 Answer 1


The license of a program has no effect on the license of the material processed with the program. For example, I can write a blog post with Emacs (GPL-licensed), convert it to HTML with Pandoc (GPL-licensed) and serve the pages from the Busybox HTTPD server (GPL-licensed) or from within a Wordpress instance (GPL-licensed). And none of these affect the license of my content in any way.

There are two caveats:

  • This holds true for all open-source licenses. However, contracts such as EULAs might include usage restrictions.

  • If the output includes GPL-covered material, then the GPL would apply. E.g. if a static site generator were to use GPL-covered templates or copy GPL-covered JavaScript into the output, things would be more tricky. In practice, GPL-covered tools use more permissive licenses for snippets that will be copied into the output.

    This also addresses another part of your question: Yes, it is perfectly normal that data files used with a GPL tool are under a non-GPL license. From the perspective of a static site generator, themes or templates are just data.

The GPL and AGPL are the same in this regard. The AGPL only has different effects from the GPL when you modify an AGPL-covered software and allow users to remotely interact with the modified software over a network.

So in summary, your understanding of the situation seems correct.

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