The GPL allows commercial use, and allows you to distribute GPL software side by side with proprietary software. Issues only arise if your proprietary software includes GPL components or is derived from GPL components – then, your software would have to be available under the GPL as well.
Linux systems commonly include lots of GPL software. Merely running your proprietary software in a Linux environment does not make your software derived from these GPL programs.
A container image isn't a single program that links all its contents. Instead, it is more like a file system image, and can be treated similarly to a ZIP archive or an USB thumb drive that includes software. We can therefore look at all the programs in the image separately.
- You may distribute software with different licenses side by side.
- You must comply with the license for every software in the image.
- For the GPL-covered software, this means providing the recipient a copy of the license and the source code for that software.
- No open source license extends its effects to unrelated software in the same image.
Note that some Linux distros like Debian have built-in mechanisms for managing licenses and source code for installed packages, which simplifies compliance.