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As GNU GPL v2.0 allows commercial use as long as we disclose sources under the same license. I have some confusion about use of such application. This is my situation:

The commercial software I am developing needs to use virtual USB ports. I can't write a software for USB port virtualization. But there is a software with GNU GPLv2.0 license that does it. I am not incorporating their code in my software.

But the user will have to create(or I might set up virtual ports) on their computer.

Does that mean I need to disclose the source of my software too under GNU GPLv2.0?

Can I ship/recommend such software separately along with my product?

Can I sell the computers with GNU GPL v2.0 software along with my software installed?

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    It all depends on how you're using this GPLv2 software, and you give us no details. If you give a clear link to the GPL software in question we might be able to shed more light. Better yet, tell us exactly how you incorporate this into your code: is it a set of tools you call through userspace? Or a library you link to your code? Or a set of patches you apply to the kernel you distribute? Give us much more detail, and we may be able to be more helpful. – MadHatter Mar 4 at 8:05
  • Recommending such software is fine. For example, Microsoft could recommend that you install Emacs on your Microsoft Windows operating system, and that would clearly be just fine. Emacs and Windows are separate programs. However, suppose MS distributed Emacs bundled with their development tools. If they did that, that would not be as clear-cut (but would not necessarily be forbidden). – Brandin Mar 4 at 9:07
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    In your case it seems very unlikely that your software is designed in such a way that a user would need to create virtual USB ports with a specific piece of GPL software. For example, he might instead create them with some other software, or he might elect to use actual USB ports instead of virtual ones. – Brandin Mar 4 at 9:09
  • @Brandin, just bundling (distributing as an independent part of a collection) is A-OK (but must be prepared to ship full source code on demand),if they'd integrate it as the core of their IDE they must provide any changes done, and other tools depending intimately on emacs might be derivative, thus only distributable as per GPL. – vonbrand Mar 4 at 13:44
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If your software just needs a particular set of (virtual) USB ports and doesn't care how the user manages to achieve that, then your software is independent from the GPL tool to create virtual USB ports from a copyright perspective.

This means that the copyright licenses on the two pieces of software don't affect each other in any way.

Does that mean I need to disclose the source of my software too under GNU GPLv2.0?

No. You can keep the source for your application private.

Can I ship/recommend such software separately along with my product?

Yes, provided that you comply with the GPL requirements for the GPL tool (i.e., you inform the recipients that the tool is under the GPL license and you give them the possibility to obtain the source code for the version you distribute).

Can I sell the computers with GNU GPL v2.0 software along with my software installed?

Yes. It makes no difference if you distribute just the software or the software pre-installed on a piece of hardware.
Also, the GPL license does not forbid you to ask money in return for the software or the hardware/software combination.

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