I am trying to understand the licensing limitations if I want to bundle code-server with my cloud application.

As per the docs, Out of the box, code-server is simply VS Code in the browser

Since code-server uses open source code of VS Code, how does the licensing terms of VS Code Server affect usage of code-server in a commercial application? As per VS Code Server FAQ and licensing terms -

  • hosting VS Code Server as a service is not allowed
  • you may not provide the software as a stand-alone offering or combine it with any of your applications for others to use, or transfer the software or this agreement to any third party.

So, if I ship code-server helm charts with my commercial cloud application, will it be breaking VS Code Server's license terms?

code-server is MIT licensed, and available for commercial use. Both code-server and VS Code Server uses open-source code from VS Code.

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  • Already a negative vote? May I know why? Jun 7, 2023 at 21:00
  • Could you explain why you think this question is on-topic here? As per the licensing terms you've linked to, this piece of software doesn't appear to be open source in any way. Jun 7, 2023 at 21:28
  • I’m voting to close this question because it asks about conditions of combining two pieces of proprietary-licensed software Jun 8, 2023 at 0:14
  • 2
    It appears that "code-server" (from Coder) and "VS Code Server" (from Microsoft) are two distinct software products, so yes they can have two distinct licenses.
    – Brandin
    Jun 8, 2023 at 7:17
  • 1
    Related Q&A: opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/4288/… which explains the difference between the open source vscode and the non-open Visual Studio Code (i.e. from Microsoft). Yes, the Visual Studio Code official MS binary contains code from the open-source vscode, but that is allowed by the MIT license. MIT also allows you to add your own licensing conditions/restrictions if you want, so the fact that they don't allow you to host it as a service seems like a typical thing to do for a proprietary license.
    – Brandin
    Jun 8, 2023 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


So, if I ship code-server helm charts with my commercial cloud application, will it be breaking VS Code Server's license terms?

No. Despite the similarity in their names, code-server and VS Code Server are two distinct products. If you obtain the code-server product under the MIT license, you don't have to care about the licensing terms of other (similarly named) products. Even if those products actually share a lot of their codebase.

In the end, the only questions that matter are

  • what license terms were attached to the copy of the software that you received.
  • when providing a download link to others, does that link point to a copy that can legally be offered according to the license terms attached to it.

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