I am planning to create custom made software for each customer. I will also be telling the customer that I shall be making it open source and they are simply paying me for my time to package things how they want it, but they accept anyone can also use what I have developed for them. So at the end of it, it will not be a commercial product but an open source one. But I was paid for my time to create this open source product for someone before making it openly available. Is this allowed under an open source licence?

This will be between me and an individual not a business and it will only be that individual using. The only exception being if someone wanted to download it from GitHub as again it shall be open source.

1 Answer 1


Being paid for your time in writing or customising free software is a completely-acceptable business model; I've been doing it myself for twenty years.

I started to get a little lost in the minutiae of python bindings and the extent to which they are like libraries, and then realised there is no problem. If you take some software, S, available under the GNU GPL (as PyQt is), and you make a clearly-derivative work S2, this is fine. You may distribute S2 to some third party, provided that you do so under the terms of the GPL, and you fulfil your GPL obligations to the third party (which include providing them with the full source and build environment).

Since you have said you are happy to provide S2 to the world, via github, under a free licence, I don't expect that you will have a problem with this.

So even if the work you are doing is not making a derivative work of PyQt (and I don't know whether it is, because your question doesn't give enough detail), it makes no difference: provide your customers with the full source of the code you've written for them, and make it all available to them under GPL, and your obligations are (broadly speaking) satisfied. Whether or not you get paid for this is not relevant.

  • That is really a helpful answer, thank you! So on a side note if I provide S2 and give them the source code do I also have to put it only for all to see on github or would this part be optional? Again happy to do this but it would make it easier to just do this for the individual? Thank you
    – Carl
    May 7, 2018 at 9:04
  • 2
    @Carl you're welcome, thank you for your kind words. The GPL never obliges you to distribute your work: it only requires that you give freedom to those to whom you give the work. I applaud you putting S2 up on (eg) github, but you don't have to do so. As long as you give your clients the code under the GPL, and provide them with all necessary sources, your obligations are (broadly) satisfied.
    – MadHatter
    May 7, 2018 at 9:24
  • Thank you for the clarity rally good to know now I am looking forward to studying PyQt5. Thanks again MadHatter!
    – Carl
    May 7, 2018 at 17:25

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