The WordPress docker files installs many software including WordPress, PHP, some php extensions and it also uses php docker file such as php:5.6-apache which installs many software for it to run.

My question is can those software that those docker images are installing be used to create WordPress Themes and Plugins for commercial purpose ?

Please note that i will be selling the WordPress themes and plugins that i create. I will not be selling the docker files or any software the docker file installs.

The docker file themselves are under the Apache 2.0 and MIT license.

1 Answer 1


As discussed elsewhere [1] [2], the licenses of Dockerfiles, Docker images, and of the software within those images have to be viewed separately. The most important part is what the licenses of the software in the Docker image are, not what the license of the Dockerfile is.

All of Wordpress, PHP, and Apache are licensed under terms that allow commercial usage. This does not allow you to do anything that you want. In particular, Wordpress themes and plugins must comply with the Wordpress license (GPLv2+). Therefore, any plugins that you distribute (sell, publish, share, …) must be offered under a GPLv2+-compatible license. See also the Wordpress Plugin Guidelines:

1. Plugins must be compatible with the GNU General Public License

Although any GPL-compatible license is acceptable, using the same license as WordPress — “GPLv2 or later” — is strongly recommended. All code, data, and images — anything stored in the plugin directory hosted on WordPress.org — must comply with the GPL or a GPL-Compatible license. Included third-party libraries, code, images, or otherwise, must be compatible. For a specific list of compatible licenses, please read the GPL-Compatible license list on gnu.org.

While you are able to sell your plugin, you cannot restrict customers from sharing the plugin and must effectively make the source code of the plugin freely available. Therefore, most plugin authors do not sell the plugin itself, but support services, guaranteed future updates, or external software (SaaS) with which the plugin interacts.

  • Thanks. Sure. But is there a way to view a full list of the software the docker files install ?
    – user1234
    Aug 15, 2018 at 2:13
  • @user1234 For a Debian-based Linux distro you can view license information in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright. In addition you should read the Dockerfiles of base images to see if they install additional software. Docker image licensing is a bit of a mess, and requires the end user to practice due diligence.
    – amon
    Aug 15, 2018 at 7:49

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