I am permitted to mix not open-source code with GPL code on my computer if I don't distribute it.

Is deploying it to a VM on a remote server considered distribution?

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    The GPL defines distributions in a bit of a particular way. Do you think you could perhaps tell us how the server/VM will be used? Who will it be available to?
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 23:22
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    Which version of the GPL do you want to know about? This is something that is version dependant. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 1:55

1 Answer 1


Copyright law cares about legal entities, not computers.

Unless AGPL is involved:

It doesn't matter how many different real or virtual computers are involved -- the question is, did you make it available to a different legal entity -- did you meet the legal definition of 'publication'. See the actual definition.

Now, for AGPL, the question will be whether you created a service open to the public -- again, completely independently of how many computers, real or virtual, were involved.

  • The question is clearly about the GPL not the AGPL. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 5:40
  • 1
    Your crystal ball is more functional than mine.
    – bmargulies
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 11:40

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