The GCIDE is a GPL v3'd English dictionary.

If I was to release it bundled with a closed-source application, would loading that data count as "linked source code", and therefore be a violation of the GPL? Lots of the GPL discussions I've found assume that the GPL library is code, not data, and I'm not sure if it makes a difference.

What about if I modified the GCIDE, release the changes, and then continue to use it in a closed-source program? Is that a violation?

  • 1
    This work has only a Source Code Form, so I suspect that loading data from it would be akin to a program copying part of itself into its output, for which the GPL's copyleft applies. Why would the authors place it under the GPL if not to prevent its inclusion in proprietary works?
    – EMBLEM
    Jun 29, 2016 at 3:00

1 Answer 1


You are asking for a legal opinion, for that you need to pay a lawyer, and I am not one. However, as a long-term friend of RMS and many of the FSF folks, what you are proposing is exactly what they intend the GPL to prevent. So, doing that is certainly a violation of the intent of the license. If you do find a lawyer who is willing to argue that it is legal, I'm sure the FSF lawyer would like to hear the argument, so he can produce GPLv4 to deal with it. :-)

  • Plenty of lawyers willing to argue a very dubious case, especially when there's a fat fee involved ;)
    – leezer3
    Jul 2, 2016 at 0:59
  • Yup, that's why I started that sentence with "If".
    – MAP
    Jul 2, 2016 at 6:00

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