Are there any legal consequences that I could encounter with?

If it's possible, what should I keep a close attention to while I'm doing it?

  • Can we please de-broaden this? We're having dupes point over here...
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 1:46
  • 1
    @r3bl could you explain what exacly you mean with the development environment? Tools? Libraries? Web server? Versioning system?
    – 7ochem
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 12:13
  • This should be reopened. It has a clear answer: the FSF/OSI freedoms require you to be able to use FLOSS software for any purposes, which of course includes producing proprietary stuff. Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 5:08
  • 1
    Still, de-broadening is necessary. What if the initial question was about using GPL libraries, and we expect it to be about an Open Source IDE? Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 8:09

3 Answers 3


Generally yes, though there are some exceptions.

If you use a tool (like an IDE, an buildtool, a continuous integration system, a version control) open source licenses put no restrictions on you, as the open source definition makes clear that nobody is discriminated because of the usage. So you can use the tools to create every software you wish, included closed source software.

Compilers can be a different case and libraries and frameworks surely are. Still, you can use it for whatever. But, a compiler often links some runtime library to your code. If you use a library or framework, you directly link code. This has effects, as your work now counts as a derivate. With many permissive licenses (BSD, MIT, Apache) this is still no problem, but copyleft-licenses like GPL would would impose that you release your derivate under the GPL too (unless it is never released to public and only privately used).

Real world example: GCC is GPL licensed, but use a runtime library exception, so you can still develop closed source software with GCC. But the exception is needed in this case.

  • " copyleft-licenses like GPL would would impose that you release your derivate under the GPL too" only as long as you wish to copy or distribute your derivate. There is no such imposition for a derivative kept entirely private.
    – jalanb
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 15:48
  • 1
    @jalanb: I edit my answer to mention the exception.
    – Mnementh
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 15:49

Assuming you are simply using the development environment, and are not using any code samples or libraries, yes.

The only sticky situation could be the compiler, especially if it links your code to a standard library. Check to make sure the compiler is either purely transformative (ie. turns your source code directly into object code), or has an explicit exemption for this (eg. GCC's exemption for libstdc++) permitting the standard library to be linked with closed-source software.


It depends how the IDE is licensed. You will need to read the license.

When you produce software with it, you're not relying on the code of the IDE when you release your software, so the GPL same license condition doesn't apply to your program. However, the IDE license may stipulate that any program you produce must be open source.

Read and check first.

  • "IDE license may stipulate that any program you produce must be open source" -- What?! any references of an IDE attempting todo this? I'm calling shenanigans. Link please?
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 20:15
  • @RubberDuck No instances of this that I know of, I was more noting that it's possible, rather than it's happened.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 20:31
  • Okay. Gotcha. To the best of my knowledge even the worst licenses don't try such nonsense.
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 20:33
  • Such license would NOT be an open source license Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 8:21

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