79 votes
Accepted

Someone open-sourced an un-open-source project

Person A has no right to distribute that software, and is committing a copyright violation. Since they hold no rights in the software, they cannot grant a license to others. Any license they purport ...
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  • 33.2k
51 votes

Can I use my own GPL'ed code in my closed source program?

You can freely issue additional licenses to your own GPL software, without restriction. Licenses can either give an exclusive or non-exclusive right. For example, an employment contract will ...
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  • 33.2k
17 votes
Accepted

Own LGPL code in proprietorial project

As the owner of the copyright, you can do what you want with your code. It is others who are bound by the licence(s) under which you distribute the code, because they accept those licences when they ...
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  • 37.9k
15 votes
Accepted

Can I use a Apache v2 licensed driver for a commercial project without revealing sources of the project?

To my understanding, if I modify the library, I need to give the source of the library with the changes highlighted. No, you have no such obligation. The Apache 2.0 license does not contain any ...
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  • 30.9k
14 votes

Can I use my own GPL'ed code in my closed source program?

IANAL/TINLA: Proceed at your own risk. Yes. According to the GPL FAQ, it states here two things: I would like to release a program I wrote under the GNU GPL, but I would like to use the same code in ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Can I open source a closed source project by transcoding/transcompiling its source-code, so it's completely different?

You can't do that. When you adapt the work, you are creating a derivative work you have no license to distribute for. You can't re-license and distribute this work under any license as you don't own ...
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  • 8,986
13 votes

Someone open-sourced an un-open-source project

The Project_A is a decompiled version of another project (Project_B). But the original Project_B is not open source, AND Project_B never granted Person_A permission to open source the project. You ...
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12 votes

Can a closed-source software be free

What you describe is usually called freeware. The FSF does not consider freeware to be free software, considering it to be proprietary software, and asks people not to call free software freeware. ...
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11 votes
Accepted

What are the main steps to convert a currently closed source project into an open source one?

Theoretically, all that needs to be done to make a previously closed source project open source is to put the sourcecode online with an OSI or FSF approved license of your choice attached. However, ...
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  • 11.3k
11 votes
Accepted

Are open source projects growing faster relative to closed source ones?

This totally depends on the dynamic of user base (both users and contributors) as the project evolves. Also it depends on dynamic of bazaar, technology, sponsorship, rivals, etc. So consider this case:...
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  • 276
11 votes

Use of BSD-3 Clause license and python software license for proprietary use

BSD-3 clause is a very permissive license that does not require you disclosing your source code or the source code of the open source libraries. You are not required to allow your users to re-...
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11 votes

Bypass LGPL license using wrapper library

I assume by "commercial project" you mean that you do not wish to disclose the source code for the product you are developing. Please correct me if my understanding is incorrect, as it is the basis of ...
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  • 1,844
11 votes

Open source licenses and royalties

How does that license model work in practice/technically? Generally, pretty well. Given a company that produces a free-software product which they will also host for a charge (ie, SaaS), users have ...
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  • 37.9k
9 votes
Accepted

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

To the best of my knowledge Hotspot and most of the JVM code (mostly C/C++ native code) in the OpenJDK is released under the GPL 2.0 with Assembly Exception and not a "bare" GPL. This is in ...
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9 votes

What to do when proprietary code is found in your open source project?

Sadly, there is little you can do. I believe you can argue that you accepted the code in good faith, and avoid the worst. Try to collect and organize any evidence of the affair (emails, commit ...
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  • 4,989
9 votes
Accepted

Is there any recourse when an "Open Source" project has a closed-source core?

Is this even really Open Source software? The parts that have source code available and are licensed under an open source license are open source software, according to the OSI. The parts that do ...
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  • 30.9k
9 votes

Own LGPL code in proprietorial project

Your code is your own, you can use it in closed products while giving away copies under e.g. LGPL. Just be clear that if I take your code and modify it under LGPL (e.g. to fix bugs) you are not ...
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  • 4,989
8 votes
Accepted

Can I dynamically call a LGPL/GPL software in my closed-source application?

This answer was originally posted by Josh Kelley at StackOverflow (second link might be visible to 10k+ only), but was removed there due to being off-topic. It has been preserved here in light of this ...
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  • 2,100
8 votes
Accepted

On what grounds can companies bring open source projects into closed source?

An open source license is a grant from the copyright holder to someone else, giving them additional rights. If I give you the rights to version 2 of my work, I don't have to give you rights to use ...
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  • 359
8 votes
Accepted

License to disallow distribution in closed source software, but allow exceptions made by owner?

The practice of selling exceptions to the GPL is perfectly commonplace, but you must either be the sole copyright holder, or else have prior permission from all other copyright holders. In order to ...
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  • 30.9k
8 votes
Accepted

If I use a mobile app that fetches data from a website under GPLv2+ is the app also under GPL?

The license of an application and the license of data that application produces can be independent, and are only interrelated if the data includes executable code from the executable itself: Is there ...
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  • 30.9k
8 votes

Maintaining open- and closed-source versions of same code

The customer don't mind me to open-source this code, but they would like the code to be available for use only in open-source projects, but not in commercial projects. This triggers me that it seems ...
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7 votes

Can I open source a closed source project by transcoding/transcompiling its source-code, so it's completely different?

Martijn is right: you can't transcompile, translate, transliterate, or in any other way transcribe and distribute the code of a work you don't have the rights to do so for. In most commercial ...
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  • 8,700
7 votes
Accepted

BSD-3 Closed Source Attribution

The only attribution required by BSD is to maintain the copyright/license statement within your sources, but if you aren't distributing the code you don't even need to do that (although you should, in ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Using Qt Designer to create UI design for closed source application

Yes you are allowed to do so. Qt Designer is available under not just GPL but "GPLv3 with The Qt Company GPL Exception 1.0" Here is the exception: The Qt Company GPL Exception 1.0 Exception 1:...
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6 votes

Finding open source in closed-source code?

For instance, I have some software code under the GNU GPL v2 license on github. If some evil developer want to steal my code and use it in a closed-source software, how could I be aware of it, and how ...
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6 votes

On what grounds can companies bring open source projects into closed source?

First, the most general case: All common open source licenses permit any legal entity to make a private copy and to use it for their private, internal use. Some common open source license (Copyleft/...
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  • 4,119
6 votes

What to do when proprietary code is found in your open source project?

As @vonbrand suggests, try to make a separate clean room implementation of the said source-code and then get rid of it. The ideal way is to give the new implementation task to a new member who doesn't ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Apache License 2.0-licensed code included in commercial closed source software

AFAIK if you are simply linking to an Apache Licence 2.0 library your only obligations are to include attribution, copyright notices and disclaimer and you may modify the original code as long as you ...
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6 votes

Can you change GPLv2 licensed software, but keep your new source closed?

Firstly, IANAL/IANYL. That said, if you start from the existing kernel, it is likely that anything you create from it - even if you were to replace every single line of code - will be a derivative ...
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  • 37.9k

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