I want to release come kind of computation engine as an open source project. For the whole source and usage, I am fine with the content of the GPL but what I want to make sure:

There should be a restriction for: Each computation is allowed on a maximum of 4 cpu’s / threads / parallel processes at the time.

Important: Nobody except us may have the right to extend or remove or revoke this restriction without our explicit agreement and confirmation.

It is possible to use a multi license for that project, so that anybody can get in touch with us to ask for a higher license to change the restriction.

I am aware of that this kind of restriction is just limited in a legally respect and not technically.

Just to make sure, if someone would like to run a paid service or whatever under the restriction just use 1 CPU - they are allowed - this is not something I am interested to prevent. I just want be safe when someone is doing a real business out from this.

I asked via mail at FSF to check wether it is possible to handle this restriction via Chapter 7 of the (A)GPL. The answer was given by a volunteer: Section 7 lists all of the A/GPL-compatible further terms. The restriction you propose would be incompatible, and would have the effect of making the software nonfree and proprietary.


1 Answer 1


Is this possible?

No. No bona-fide FLOSS license including and in particular the AGPL and GPL have a usage restriction, or can accommodate a restriction on usage

  • 1
    This is correct: according to Free-Software definition and Open-Source definition, software is not Free/Open if it has a restriction on use (such as in the question). Therefore your suggestion is in complete opposition to the GPL. May 10, 2017 at 20:36

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