I have been researching the GNU and GPL licenses and I can't find a straight answer to a question I have. If you are going to use a Programming IDE that is distributed under a GNU GPL does the software made have to be covered under the the GNU GPL licenses or can it be sold?

Please note that this is not an improved version of the IDE this is a new software sold to a different target market.

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    Your title is misleading in a way you might not realize. You are free to sell FLOSS, including GPL-covered software. Proprietary software and monetary gain aren't tied together, you can get proprietary software free of charge and you can sell free software.
    – EMBLEM
    Aug 7, 2016 at 3:36

1 Answer 1


From the Free Software Foundation's GPL FAQ:

Can I use GPL-covered editors such as GNU Emacs to develop non-free programs? Can I use GPL-covered tools such as GCC to compile them?

Yes, because the copyright on the editors and tools does not cover the code you write. Using them does not place any restrictions, legally, on the license you use for your code.

Some programs copy parts of themselves into the output for technical reasons—for example, Bison copies a standard parser program into its output file. In such cases, the copied text in the output is covered by the same license that covers it in the source code. Meanwhile, the part of the output which is derived from the program's input inherits the copyright status of the input.

As it happens, Bison can also be used to develop non-free programs. This is because we decided to explicitly permit the use of the Bison standard parser program in Bison output files without restriction. We made the decision because there were other tools comparable to Bison which already permitted use for non-free programs.

  • Thanks I missed that entry in the page. I will accept the answer as soon as the website lets me.
    – wolfcall
    Aug 6, 2016 at 23:32

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