I'm developing an application. I want to open source my application for non-commercial use in Github(I guess GPL v3). And I want to retain the rights to redistribute the same software with some additional features as Closed Source(which GPL doesn't allow).

In summary, Only I should be allowed to distribute Closed source version of the Open Source application while others can use it for non-commercial use. Is there an Open Source license or combination of licenses which allows this?

If this is not possible I'll have to go closed source, which I very much like to avoid.

Thank You

  • you are mistaken, if you believe that any open source license disallows commercial use. On the contrary, every open source license has to allow commercial use - or it is not open source May 17, 2021 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


Every open-source license allows commercial usage. Every open-source license has to allow commercial usage as one of the fundamental requirements is that any usage is allowed for any purpose (§6 in the linked document).

As such your request for an open source license which forbids commercial usage cannot be fulfilled for this inherent contradiction.

However, you as the sole copyright holder, have all rights to distribute your software under any license you wish. That includes the right to distribute it under the GPL. And to distribute the same or another, modified version under a proprietary license concurrently.

Mind though, that this right ONLY applies to software where you hold the complete copyright. Thus, if you want to go this path, you MUST NOT accept any contributions from the outside which are provided to you under the license terms of the the GPL. You might accept contributions under a permissive license like BSD or MIT which allow usage in closed-source software and which are compatible with GPL.

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