0

A number of archive formats such as DAR, AR, tar come under the GNU GPL license.

If I understand correctly I only need to license my software as GPL if I use any APIs provided by libraries which manipulate the archive (e.g., libdar).

So if I write my own software to manipulate the archive(eg. a way to read it) I can release it under a license of my choice?

e.g., libarchive is released under the more lenient BSD license but has capabilities of manipulating GPL licensed archive format types.

  • If you write your own software without including parts of someone else's software (e.g. libraries) and without making a derivative work of someone else's software (e.g. by reading someone's code and manually translating it) then yes, you can license it however you want. – Brandin Jan 30 at 6:36
4

A number of archive formats such as DAR, AR, tar come under the GNU GPL license.

This is incorrect. Some software which is capable of managing those formats has been released under the GPL, but the formats themselves are not subject to the license - and cannot be as a file format itself cannot be copyrighted. (The specification of a file format can be copyrighted, but that wouldn't stop somebody implementing that format). About the only thing which can get in the way of implementing a file format is a patent - see e.g. GIFs and MP3s, although both of those are now definitely unencumbered as the patents have expired.

So if I write my own software to manipulate the archive(eg. a way to read it) I can release it under a license of my choice?

Yes.

  • Thanks for correcting me - am I still free in terms of licensing if I use their software eg. the tar unix tool for writing the files, but don't modify the original unix command in any way? – tangy Jan 29 at 21:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.