If I write a run-time environment based on some GPL'ed libraries and separately write an program interpreter which is passively used by the run-time environment, can a program (which is intended to be interpreted by the interpreter used in the run-time environment to perform some task) be under any license without restriction by the GPL? (sorry for my poor English)

It confuses me that "Does the fact that the interpreted program indirectly using the GPL'ed tool cause it be restricted under GPL?"

(There is a similar question. The asker of that question is the copyright holder in his scenario. Conversely, I can not be the copyright holder of the software (the run-time environment in this question) because it contains the code which is written by someone else and released under the GPL. )

  • "On the other hand, I can not be the copyright holder because it is restricted under the GPL." --> what do you mean there? did you mean "written by someone else and released under the GPL?" Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


The interpreter would be GPL since it is using GPL libraries.

The interpreted program is most likely not required to be released under the GPL license.

From [https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#IfInterpreterIsGPL]:1

If a programming language interpreter is released under the GPL, does that mean programs written to be interpreted by it must be under GPL-compatible licenses? (#IfInterpreterIsGPL)

When the interpreter just interprets a language, the answer is no. The interpreted program, to the interpreter, is just data; a free software license like the GPL, based on copyright law, cannot limit what data you use the interpreter on. You can run it on any data (interpreted program), any way you like, and there are no requirements about licensing that data to anyone.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.