I plan on using a LGPL licenced library for my work (my projecte will be MIT). I only use a subset of the library files though, since I plan on statically linking the library.

Do I have to provide the whole source code of the library with my project even though I dont use it completely? (E. g. there is also the source code for a shell tool in it which I also not need).

The build process happens when installing the package (nodejs) and can be retriggered. The source files of the LGPL work are therefore also provided an can be modified and replaced (which is a requirement for LGPL). So on first thought it would be ok to ship only a subset of files, or am I missing something?

  • Which version of LGPL is used? 2.0 , 2.1 , or 3.0 ? Oct 15, 2021 at 11:54
  • It is version 2.1
    – Woife
    Oct 15, 2021 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


I am referring below to sections in the license language of LGPL_v2.1.

I believe 2 options are open to you:

a) You may distribute the entire library (all the files, even those you are not using) under Section 1 of the license.

b) When you are selectively ship only part of the library (the parts you need), then this would be considered a modification of the library, and Section 2 of the license would apply.

My personal opinion is that in your situation it would be easier to work along the path shown by Section 1 (no modification). But it is up to you, the license provides both options.

  • Of course, if you're operating under section 2, this need not be particularly onerous. You could, for example, put the selected parts of the library into a separate Git repository and distribute it (with source code) independently of your main project under LGPL section 2. The main project can then vendor the partial library under LGPL section 1. As far as I can tell, the LGPL does not forbid this strategy.
    – Kevin
    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:45

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