when we find a GPL-3.0 license project on github.com, The project is BBS tool, it has the theme option. If we write our own theme. do we need to make our theme (source code) for that project public available? because of source code availability of GPL-3.0.

Also that project the ability to install plugins. If we write our own plugins, do we need to follow the license compatibility of GPL, for our own plugins ? making our plugin source code public available? Thank you.

  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 22, 2023 at 7:28
  • Maybe this answers your question? opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/7159/… That Q&A addresses Web APIs specifically, but it will work out similarly for any kind of Web-like software that is running on a backend server.
    – Brandin
    Aug 22, 2023 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


It depends on your usage.

Keep in mind that even if you have to publish these themes/plugins etc. under the GNU GPL, you can choose any GNU GPL compatible license (eg MIT).

If you use the theme on your server, it is also debatable whether you need to share it at all. For example, Wordpress users do not post the source code for all parts of Wordpress, even though it is GNU GPLed details here.

It also depends on how the software is built.

See these parts from the FSF FAQ: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLPlugins


Note that even if you must publish your theme or plugin, it only applies when you distribute these works. You may freely use them for internal use.

Edit: If you specify what kind of software it is, I'll be able to help you more.

Also, don't hesitate to ask questions or contact me directly.

This is not legal advice

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.