Questions tagged [gpl]

The GNU's General Public License, a commonly-used free software license. The GPL has various versions, v1-v3, so use this tag only for questions talking about overarching issues of the licenses or shared characteristics. For example, for a question about a unique section on version 3, use the [gpl-3] tag.

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What are the arguments for considering dynamic links to constitute derivative works?

The status of programs which are dynamically linked with Copyleft licensed binaries (such as a .dll) is contentious. I have created two questions for each side of the debate. The other can be found ...
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18 votes
2 answers
3k views

So the GPL doesn't restrict the creator of the software in any way?

In another thread I started (Red Hat buys Ansible), I am trying to figure out the economic value of a company transaction with respect to GPL'ed software. A few of the answers suggest that the owners ...
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26 votes
4 answers
2k views

What are the arguments for considering dynamic links not to constitute derivative works?

The status of programs which are dynamically linked with Copyleft licensed binaries (such as a .dll) is contentious. I have created two questions for each side of the debate. The other can be found ...
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20 votes
1 answer
584 views

What are the licensing terms of the text of the GPL?

The text of the GPLv3 starts with the following disclaimer: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. What does this ...
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46 votes
4 answers
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Is it legal to use GPL code in a proprietary, closed-source program by putting it in a separate, standalone program?

As we all know, the GNU General Public License (GPL) is a "copyleft" source license: which means it is designed not merely to make the code to which it is initially applied free and preserve its ...
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22 votes
1 answer
4k views

Are all docker images free (i.e. GPL)?

Looking at the GPLv2 FAQ. I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary system. Can I do this?. Since, any typical Linux distribution base image contains a variety of GPL-licensed ...
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31 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do I really need to include a licence file for common licences like GPL or MIT?

The GPL3, for example, says: Conveying Verbatim Copies. You may convey verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and ...
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102 votes
5 answers
52k views

Can I use GPL libraries in a closed source project if only the output is distributed?

If I create a closed source application which uses some GPL licensed libraries but don't actually distribute the software, only its output, can I keep the software closed sourced? Specifically, I am ...
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37 votes
7 answers
14k views

Can I take BSD licensed code and distribute it under GPL?

Or in more general terms: Can I take code which is licensed under a permissive open source license (like the BSD license) and distribute it under a copyleft free software license (like the GPL)? ...
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  • 473
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

As owner of GPL library, can I break the licensing terms?

As far as I understand, choosing GPL licence for library does not permits use of it in proprietary programs as opposed to LGPL. So releasing my library (or code classes), I'm forcing people to use ...
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19 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the difference between GPL + Classpath exception vs LGPL

Java and a few java libraries provide a "classpath" exception. To me, this seems similar to the LGPL's linking exceptions. What is the difference between the GPL with a classpath exception and the ...
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32 votes
2 answers
6k views

Do you violate the GPL if you provide source code that cannot be compiled?

In a recent question on programmers.SE†, it was asked whether a project is open source if it provides some source code but doesn't make it clear how to actually compile it. Consensus is that it'...
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does "the GPL doesn't cover the output of a program" also apply if the output is source code?

As it is well known (see for example this question or this one), the GPL licenses do not cover the output of a GPL-licensed program. So, I could for example generate some pictures with a GPL-licensed ...
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39 votes
8 answers
53k views

Can GPL licenced software be used in corporate environments?

If software is licenced under a GPL license, can it be used without restriction in a corporate/commercial environment? The software that I am refering to is QGIS which provides this description: ...
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7 votes
2 answers
385 views

Does sharing a file format make two programs either a combined or derived work?

This is a follow on from Does a file format constitute an API? This is an attempt to break down: Does a host application's license apply to plug-ins written for it? into the underlying questions. ...
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17 votes
6 answers
1k views

GPL-Licensed LaTeX template - implications for resulting work?

I'm currently writing my master thesis, and the classicthesis template we're supposed to use is licensed GPLv2+. As I understand the GPL, this makes my written thesis a derivative work, and would ...
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17 votes
2 answers
6k views

What are the implications of licensing a JavaScript library under GPL?

When searching for "gpl javascript" in Google, I currently find these five first results: A piece by RMS warning about how we are using more and more web apps and that we should care whether these ...
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26 votes
4 answers
3k views

If I include some GPL code in my project, can I release it as BSD?

I have scientific software that I would like to release under the BSD 3-clause licence, but it includes some old code that was released under GPL. Can I still package it all and release as BSD?
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  • 397
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can plugins for closed source software use GPL'd libraries?

I use closed-source scientific software for my work. I also use GPL licensed tools and libraries. It would save me a lot of time to be able to call a GPL library directly from the closed-source ...
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  • 479
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it possible to restrict GNU GPLv3 to non-commercial use only?

I've noticed that the jQuery plugin "Fancybox" has a peculiar licensing note in its header: // Licensed GPLv3 for open source use // or fancyBox Commercial License for commercial use // // http://...
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8 votes
1 answer
2k views

AGPL v3 licensing: How does external party determine if modifications were made?

When using an AGPL v3 licensed software within a public-facing web application hosted on a private server, you are obligated (section 13) to share your code if you modify the original AGPL code. Many ...
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12 votes
4 answers
2k views

If a project is released under GPLv3+ and GPLv4 is less restrictive what happens?

I've seen in multiple places project owners choosing to stick with GPLv2 to prevent the FSF from releasing a license that the project owners don't agree with but I've never seen reasoning beyond the ...
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10 votes
1 answer
770 views

If a part of the client-side code is licensed under GPL, does the server-side code have to be under GPL as well?

Say a part of the JavaScript which is provided to the client's browser is under GPL. Does this mean that server-side code also has to be made public under GPL as well? The GPL states: "You must ...
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9 votes
1 answer
724 views

If a client sends me GPL'ed code, has it been distributed/conveyed to me?

A client has sent me GPL'ed code to work on for them. This code has not been publicly released, so there is no way for me to obtain it - other than directly from this client. Is this considered ...
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3 votes
1 answer
189 views

As the owner of a GPLv3 project, what type of restrictions will be placed on me if I accept contributions?

For example, will accepting someone's copyrighted contribution prohibit me from changing the license, accepting donations towards the project, or anything else?
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  • 111
2 votes
1 answer
218 views

Does inbound=outbound apply to GPL-family without a CLA?

The traditional expectation for contributions to a free software project are "inbound=outbound" [1] [2]. That is, if the project is under license X, contributions are made under license X. Does this ...
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do Contributors Own Copyright After Sending Contributions?

I have a GitHub repository which its license is GPL. Although of this, in the "about" window of my program, I mentioned that I own the copyright (like this: © My name, 2017). And I added the GPL text ...
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  • 225
46 votes
3 answers
6k views

What can/should I do when I see a violation to GPL restrictions?

Some years ago, I was working on a software company that used some copyrighted JAR dependencies that they had bought from a medium-size obscure private company for a very expensive price. After some ...
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14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can I license Python project under 3-clause BSD while it has GPL-based dependencies

I'm working on an open source Python project and we have plans to use GPLv2-licensed library python3-xlib, but we will not distribute it with our library. So user can install it by pip install our-lib ...
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18 votes
1 answer
3k views

GPL V3 with OpenSSL Exception

I've decided to license some code I have yet to release under the GPL v3. However, OpenSSL is used quite a bit in the software and I know that the two licenses are explicitly cited as being ...
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11 votes
1 answer
736 views

Am I forced to release my project under GPL, even though no GPL source is included?

Recently I ran into a GPL license related problem and I heard many people claiming many different things. I made this post to get this cleared up for myself. Situation There is a program which is ...
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5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can I use a GPL component in my site without having to disclose the sources of my site?

In which of the following situations can I use a GPL component in my website without having to GPL or disclose the source code of my entire site? The component is a JavaScript library that goes into ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Implications of using GPL licenced code only during testing

Let's say I'm working on a software library in which certain unit tests rely on GPL licensed code but the code that a user of this library would install on their system does not interact with GPL ...
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  • 243
5 votes
1 answer
360 views

GPL Application <-> LGPL Plugin <-> Properietary code

I would like to explicitly consider possibility of having either of Fig.1: (1-A) A GPL application with dlopen-based plugin system. (1-B) LGPL plugin for application (1-A), that is linked to (1-C) (...
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0 votes
1 answer
183 views

Extend GPL to be informed in case of derivative work

I understand that any work that is based on work licensed under GPL must also be released under GPL. However, it does not require contacting original authors about the fact that a derivative work has ...
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  • 119
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Proprietary software using GPL modules

This question is bases on: Why doesn't this GPL loophole work? If a program uses a GPL derived component, does said program also have to be GPL? For example: If a game uses a music player that ...
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  • 81
5 votes
1 answer
237 views

Must CC BY-SA be included for ideas and code taken from Stack Overflow?

I'm still unclear about licensing. If I have a project on Github that's licensed under GPL and found pseudocode on a Stack Overflow question, must I now dual license my code on Github and GPL as ...
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4 votes
1 answer
247 views

Can I distribute non-GPL code that uses GPL code as long as I don't distribute myself that GPL code

I have some doubts about source code re-distribution and GPL I wrote DummyLib, a library that includes AmazingLib (third-party lib, released under GPL) and links against ProprietarySDK (no source, ...
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  • 49
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are all GPL Licensed projects free to use for commercial use? [duplicate]

I having a few issues understanding how sites like gpldl.com can call themselves legal. This is basically a site where they purchase themes/plugins from developers such as: WooThemes iThemes Gravity ...
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  • 121
1 vote
1 answer
407 views

Can I change license of my GPL project? [duplicate]

I have created a project from scratch and made it available online under the GPL license. Can I release a new version of the same project that does not have the GPL license? I would also like to know ...
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36 votes
2 answers
19k views

Why does Linux still use the GPLv2?

As I know, Linux intentionally avoids the switch from GPLv2 to GPLv3. It has the unfortunate side-effect, that it doesn't take part in the defense of the opensource world from the most recent danger, ...
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30 votes
9 answers
19k views

If someone else uploads my GPL'd code to Github without my permission, do they not put it at risk of being stolen by Microsoft?

I was alarmed to see that someone uploaded one of my old GPL'd projects to Github. Github has refused to remove it however, and suggests I contact the uploader who is completely anonymous and cannot ...
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24 votes
6 answers
4k views

How can GPL terms apply to distribution of a proprietary plugin?

Let's say I develop a plugin for third-party application X. My plugin has a non-free license, and is commercially distributed. I don't distribute application X. Application X is licensed under GPL, ...
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  • 351
15 votes
2 answers
11k views

Can a non-GPL python program use GPL Python module?

Suppose I have a Python library which is distributed under the GPL license. I would like to use that library in my program, that I may eventually want to distribute under non-GPL terms. The library ...
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  • 506
13 votes
3 answers
7k views

When is my project a derivative work in an interpreted language?

With compiled languages, I understand when a work is considered derivative of another and thus, a license such as the GNU GPL covers the whole work. However, with interpreted languages such as PHP or ...
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  • 635
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Relicensing an MIT licensed project under the GPL that has non code contributions from others

I have an Android Game I've written that I released under the MIT license. Recently, there have been several people who have downloaded the source of my application, added ads and uploaded it to the ...
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  • 123
10 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is it legal to Bundle OpenJDK + HotSpot with a closed source application?

As per my understanding, OpenJDK itself is licensed under GNU General Public License, version 2, with the Classpath Exception which should be no issue for bundling with closed source application. ...
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17 votes
2 answers
7k views

How is the BSD GPL-compatible?

The BSD license says that derivative works may be distributed under the following conditions: Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted ...
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  • 171
15 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why does the FSF make this recommendation about ranges of copyright years?

In the document “How to use GNU licenses for your own software”, the FSF says: For software with several releases over multiple years, it's okay to use a range (“2008-2010”) instead of listing ...
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  • 303
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is Apple allowed to distribute GPLv3-licensed software through its iOS App Store?

This question is specifically about GPLv3, LGPLv3, and Apple's App Store for iOS devices. Given the additional restrictions Apple imposes on iOS users (i.e. not allowing them to modify and run GPLv3 ...
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