Can I spawn an AGPL executable (mupdf for example) from my python based Apache-2.0 project?

Note: I'm not linking to it, merely calling the executable from the shell.

  • How are you going to license an executable with an open source license while the source already have a license?
    – Smart455
    Apr 24, 2019 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Yes, what you are doing is ok.

First of all, by spawning the AGPL executable as a separate process, the two programs are considered independent works as far as copyright is concerned and their licenses do not affect each other.

But even if your project would be considered a derived work there is no problem. The Apache license is compatible with the AGPL, so you can have an application that contains code under both licenses. In this case, you may have to take some action to meet the requirements of both licenses, like offering your users the option to download the complete software according to the AGPL license.

  • Correct, but Apache being compatible with AGPL means that the software system as whole would have to be AGPLv3-licensed (possibly with a section 7 additional term to account for the Apache NOTICE requirement). Compatibility does not mean that a combination would be legally fine without further action.
    – amon
    Apr 26, 2019 at 10:52
  • Hi. just to be sure so even if the program that spawn the AGPL executable is a closed source/commercial product there are no license problems?
    – res1
    May 3, 2023 at 9:35
  • 1
    @res1, assuming the parent process sees the child process as a black-box that magically produces an outcome, then that is indeed correct. The two applications are then considered independent enough that their copyright licenses don't affect each other. May 3, 2023 at 12:10
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau just to give you the right scenario: the application generate a pdf file itself then the application launch a pdf viewer that is installed on the system (this is the AGPL application) to visualize the generated pdf
    – res1
    May 3, 2023 at 13:02

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