Can I use GPL-licensed software in a commercial program? I know that the use of source code in a commercial program is forbidden but if I use system call functions for example I make the call a bash program under GPL license using subprocess library in python example code:

import subprocess 
p = subprocess.Popen (["echo", "hello world"], stdout = subprocess, PIPE) 
Print p.communicate()

This way I only work with the program results.

  • 3
    I'm not sure the best OpenSource.SE duplicate to use, but the relevant FAQ item is the second half of gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#MereAggregation
    – apsillers
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 0:51
  • 5
    Also I'd caution generally against conflating "commercial" and "propietary" (or in this case even "GPL-incompatible") -- a person may still have a commercial enterprise based around a piece of GPL software. You're asking a good question about license applicability, but it is a question that has nothing to do with whether or not money is changing hands. To ask about "commercial" software misdirects from the real heart of the question.
    – apsillers
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 0:55
  • 1
    Are you copying and distributing the GPL program (e.g. Bash) along with your application? Does your application need Bash to run, or is it using it incidentally? For example, closed source IDEs such as Visual Studio sometimes can be configured to interoperate with other compilers, such as GCC (which is GPL). But in this example, it does not force Visual Studio to adhere to the GPL; GCC is not distributed with Visual Studio (the customer has to download it herself), and the interoperability is not an essential part of the tool (the tool is designed to work with other compilers).
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 5:27


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