I'm making a simple GUI with Electron for a CLI executable that is distributed under GPLv2. I assume the license isn't an issue since this is a personal project and I'm happy to license mine GPLv2 as well, but I was wondering the correct way to bundle the executable file in my Git source control as it seems like a really bad solution to include it as if it was a source file.

  • Why do you need to distribute the executable? People could compile your code! Dec 25 '19 at 6:45

I was wondering the correct way to bundle the executable file in my Git source control

The correct way is not to do that at all. Instead you should write your GUI in such a way that it makes no assumptions where the CLI tool is located and write in your documentation (e.g. your README.md) which CLI tool you are wrapping and give a pointer to the project of the CLI tool.


If you did not made any modifications to the CLI tool just link to the original repository.

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    So just to clarify, essentially just add the executable to my .gitignore and cite the original repository on github?
    – Tman1677
    Jul 24 '19 at 20:42
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    If you add executable to .gitignore than you don't distribute it, so you are not even subject to GPL and don't really need to do anything. If you include executable than you distribute and thus required to provide a way to get its source. I think linking to original source is sufficient in this scenario.
    – rvs
    Jul 25 '19 at 10:33
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    @rvs No. If you distribute the executable, the GPL says you must give the "corresponding source" or a written offer to provide the same; i.e. you specifically need to provide the same source of what you used to build that executable. Linking to the project page is not sufficient.
    – Brandin
    Jul 27 '19 at 5:49
  • @Brandin Linking to the project page is sufficient. The GPL says you need to provide it in a way customary for providing such software. Providing a link to the project is the customary way to provide software that has a link to a project from which the source can be easily downloaded. Jun 12 '20 at 3:42
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    @Brandin The Internet is a medium. The link is the instructions for how to get it. I agree that it must be the same version. Jun 14 '20 at 22:23

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