As long as I understood a piece of code is data for the interpreter and thus according to this Q&A an R script is not automatically licensed under GPL. Is that correct?

So if I make an R script for a project and use different packages that are under GPL, I can still license my R script under a separate terms and conditions statement which does not allow the customer to modify it or use it in another projects. Right?

Licensing is very confusing!

  • I removed the last line of your post. Apart from the fact that it is generally advised not to say Thanks on StackExchange (but instead to upvote, approve an answer, etc.), the way you formulated it could appear as sexist: there are guys and gals who can answer you in this community, so no gender assumption is necessary (I know it's just an expression, but people will not all understand it in the same way).
    – Zimm i48
    Oct 25, 2016 at 12:45
  • BTW, welcome to open source SE!
    – Zimm i48
    Oct 25, 2016 at 12:46
  • 1
    @Zimmi48 Thanks for the edit. That was a figure of speech, but I understand how it can be misinterpreted. Using a phrase from a gender neutral language can be a solution to this.
    – Optima
    Oct 25, 2016 at 13:37
  • "guys" is drifting towards becoming gender-neutral: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/guys Oct 25, 2016 at 16:23
  • @GlennRanders-Pehrson I know it is drifting that way, especially in oral conversations, but as it is not completely there yet, it can still be perceived wrongly. See this for example: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/334413/… (if more comments, this conversation should move to chat).
    – Zimm i48
    Oct 27, 2016 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


You first paragraph is correct. The interpreter license does not imply how you should license your scripts.

But the second part is not. If you are relying on packages, this likely means that you are relying on other R scripts which are going to be interpreted as well. Your program, by relying on these scripts is a derivative of them. Thus, you need to license your whole program (the packages you rely on + the part you wrote) under GPL as well.

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