I am very confused by this license.

Processed Format

Modification, duplication, and (re)distribution of the Services in binary or published format ("Processed Format") for any purposes and/or reasons is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission from Raivo OTP. Permission for modification, duplication, and (re)distribution of the "Service" in Processed Format can be requested via GitHub.

I personally understand very well why the developer does not want ready binaries to be distributed. He earns from Apple App Store.

I have never seen such a license and wonder what the community can do if no more commits are made / the project is no longer active.

Does the community have rights to a fork etc?

Is this still Open Source, even in the broadest sense, or even proprietary software?

  • 1
    This is sometimes called a "source available" license. I.e. it's not open source per se, but the source is 'available' for you to look at. But it's naturally not suitable for open source use, since you couldn't (for example) copy or adapt part of the code for use in another project.
    – Brandin
    Nov 21, 2022 at 8:03
  • 1
    Well, if I read that license, it's possible that it's allowed in a limited way to reuse the source (to "copy" and to "merge") the source version only (the "Source Format") but even if you did this you'd still have to copy the license as required, including the "Processed Format" restriction (i.e. binary distributions of your modified program would not be allowed either).
    – Brandin
    Nov 21, 2022 at 8:11

2 Answers 2


This is not be an open source license as defined by the Open Source Definition, which is in turn the definition used by this site.

In particular, it fails clause 5 ("No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups"); this is best illustrated by the desert island test: if I'm on the hypothetical desert island and want a bunch of non-technical users on the island to use the software, I cannot do that because I can't distribute the binaries to them.

  • 5
    I don't think that's the "desert island test", but more generally, I completely agree with your point. +1 from me.
    – MadHatter
    Nov 20, 2022 at 9:31
  • 4
    It also fails clause 2: "must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form". The license isn't even entirely clear whether the source code can be redistributed, but explicitly disallows distributing compiled form.
    – jpa
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:26
  • Criterion 4 is also violated ("The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code"...). Criterion 7 is probably also violated, since the author seems to want people to get specific permission from him via the GitHub link before you distribute binary forms; presumably, even if you got that permission, then that permission would no longer transfer to others once you distribute your version, which I believe is what Criterion 7 is about.
    – Brandin
    Nov 21, 2022 at 8:17
  • Criterion 8 also seems to be violated ("The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution") because of the way the license specifies the software ("The Services include and are limited to the Source Format and Processed Format of [list of specific packages]"). So, it seems like even if obeyed the terms as written, then if I were to copy parts of the code to some other program, then the license as written would no longer allow that case, since the license as written is "limited to" those specific software packages.
    – Brandin
    Nov 21, 2022 at 8:25

I'm the creator of Raivo. Unfortunately I had to apply these restrictions in the license, as people started to redistribute my app to the appstore and asking money for it or implementing ads. Redistributing the same app to the appstore is against the Apple guidelines, and a paid/ads version is not something I'd like Raivo to have.

I tried restricting this usage while keeping it as open as possible. If you'd like to use Raivo (source) in any good/ethical way, just send me a message and I'm happy to authorize you to use it that way.

I'm very open to changing the license to make it truly open source as well, as long as I'm able to control that it is not redistributed to the appstore (under a different name), especially when people make money of it. Not sure if that combination is possible though.

  • 3
    Thank you for explaining your situation and rationale for this license. There are also other ways of dealing with it while keeping the code open: You could dual-license you code, firstly with a proprietary closed-source license that is compliant with the app store rules, and secondly with GPL. For your situation, GPL has the advantage that it is incompatible with the App store rules, and therefore others cannot copy/fork your code and publish their own apps on the app store. Mar 4 at 23:27
  • small edit: The last sentence in my previous comment might be better worded: "For your situation, GPL has the 'advantage' that it is incompatible with the App store rules, and therefore, even though others could copy/fork your code, they cannot use it to publish their own apps on the app store." Mar 7 at 7:35

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