As I understand it, if I embed GPL licensed code into my application, then I would be compelled to furnish the source code (or at least make it available to them) to any customers.

My question relates to a slightly different scenario. What if my application was, for example, a control panel that installs and manages various different web services (e.g., Postgres, Apache, HAProxy, etc). If one of those web services was GPL licensed (HAProxy is GPL v2), would I then be required to provide the source code of my control panel to my customers?

My hypothetical software can't function without the installation of GPL licensed packages, but the source code of the GPL licensed packages is not embedded in my source code.

1 Answer 1


My opinion is that your control panels will not be affected by the GPL.

You are not using or linking to any GPL code, you are altering config files read by the GPL software, or sending commands to running binaries to alter their behaviour. When it comes to not functioning, you test the existence of an app and only show the relevant panel if it is installed.

As an example of precedent look at webmin - a BSD licensed collection of control panels for many GPLed software packages. This may even satisfy the requirements of what you are planning to create.

  • Upvoted, thank you! I'll accept this as the answer if no other replies in ~24 hours.
    – Elliot B.
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 2:30

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