137 votes
Accepted

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

This is a great question and speaks to a lot of confusion about the GPL. The answer is mostly “yes” here, but since the GPL is frequently seen as very scary, it is important to understand why this is ...
CR Drost's user avatar
  • 1,756
45 votes

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

Generally yes, the output is not covered by the license. However you say you will redistribute the virtual machine with the pipeline setup. Nope, providing the virtual machine with executable binaries ...
x64's user avatar
  • 811
44 votes
Accepted

If I can't provide GPL source because a supplier did not provide it, am I at fault?

To add a little to planetmaker's excellent answer: I'm not entirely sure what loophole you think you've discovered, but assuming your contention is that you're released from your obligation to ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 47k
38 votes

GPLv3 forces us to make code available, but to whom?

To any recipients. You do not have to make the source code available to the public, but have to provide the source code to anyone who received the software from you. The details here depend on how ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.6k
32 votes
Accepted

Does requiring users to accept the GPL before using GPL-licensed software violate the GPL?

FSF has explained in their FAQ on GPLv3: Some software packaging systems have a place which requires you to click through or otherwise indicate assent to the terms of the GPL. This is neither ...
Martin_in_AUT's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

What is the standard practice when the developer does not want third party redistribution of a certain free and open source software?

This seems to happen again and again. Someone develops software, generously distributing it as free software, but doesn't fully understand the implications of giving their users the four freedoms. ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 47k
29 votes

If I can't provide GPL source because a supplier did not provide it, am I at fault?

That's a legal question, not an open-source one; the answer depends on jurisdiction and on how you fight legal battles. However in short, you are both, victim and offender. You distribute the software,...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 10.7k
24 votes
Accepted

Does this constitute a breach in GPL license? Article with GPL licensed software and Journal reviewer guidelines

You certainly are distributing the GPL-licensed work to the reviewer. "Internal" non-distribution conveyance only occurs between agents of the same legal corporation (persona ficta) because ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 35.6k
19 votes

Why do some GNU distributions with a Linux kernel convey GPL software online without providing source code?

but that is [in] my opinion not in accordance with the GPL licences I agree with you. The GPL has always been pretty clear that you need to supply source if you're propagating binaries, and various ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 47k
19 votes

What is the standard practice when the developer does not want third party redistribution of a certain free and open source software?

I'm going to take a contrary position to some of the other answers here. To be clear: You have the legal right to make a PPA, with or without the developer's permission. But it might not be a good ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 5,122
18 votes
Accepted

MIT-licensed app without the source code

The MIT license doesn't require source code to be published. It only requires that the license notice is kept intact. MIT-licensed binaries without source code are rare – no source kinda defeats the ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.6k
17 votes
Accepted

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

Linux (the Kernel) uses the GPL 2.0 with an extra statement: NOTE! This copyright does not cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
17 votes

GPLv3 forces us to make code available, but to whom?

It might be helpful to provide the motivation for the GPL. If I run your application on my computer, I should be able to read the corresponding working source codes and modify them as needed. It ...
Luaan's user avatar
  • 273
17 votes
Accepted

GPL code behind a registration form

Is this legal to ask people to fill in a regular registration form in order to download the code? Absolutely. You can even require people to pay money to download GPL'ed software. What you can't do ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 47k
16 votes

Does this constitute a breach in GPL license? Article with GPL licensed software and Journal reviewer guidelines

Isn't this a direct application of section 12 of GPL? No Surrender of Others' Freedom. If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the ...
Petr's user avatar
  • 289
15 votes

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

Distributing the Virtual Machine with the GPL-including-Software and not providing the sources (and/or the possibility to download/receive them) along with a GPL License notice is clearly a violation ...
mementum's user avatar
  • 296
15 votes

If I can't provide GPL source because a supplier did not provide it, am I at fault?

Here's a comprehensive answer from https://copyleft.org with some added emphasis: With ever-increasing frequency, software development (particularly for embedded devices) is outsourced to third ...
lofidevops's user avatar
  • 1,960
14 votes
Accepted

Can I distribute unmodified GPLv2 binaries without the source code?

This is covered in section 3 of the GPL, version 2: You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
  • 4,173
13 votes

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

There is an exact duplicate of this question here on Programmers.SE. Yes, your understanding is correct. According to GPL, having a program run entirely on a server and accessing its output from a ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,839
13 votes

Threatening with non-renewal of contract when users distribute the GPLv2-licensed software

The GPLv2 section 6 says to those who redistribute another person's GPL-licensed work: Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 35.6k
13 votes

Does this constitute a breach in GPL license? Article with GPL licensed software and Journal reviewer guidelines

No, that would not be a breach of the GPL. So wouldn't this create an incompatibility with GPL license? I mean, according to the license, the reviewer should be entitled to share it as they like, as ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,155
12 votes
Accepted

Is a Web application "released" in the sense of GPL?

No. From GPLv3’s Definitions section (bold emphasis mine): To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies. Mere interaction with a user ...
unor's user avatar
  • 5,580
12 votes

Does this constitute a breach in GPL license? Article with GPL licensed software and Journal reviewer guidelines

You're essentially looking at the same situation as "Does the GPL allow me to develop a modified version under a nondisclosure agreement?" from the GPL FAQ: Your code is still licensed ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
11 votes

Using GPL or LGPL licensed framework for web application

Running an application on a server is never considered distribution, and you're not bound by the terms of the LGPL for distribution. Please do note that running javascript in the browser does mean ...
Martijn's user avatar
  • 9,286
10 votes
Accepted

Is putting a page with javascript in it considered a redistribution

Every lawyer I consulted with always gave me the same answer: JavaScript in web page is code redistributed to whoever loads this page in their browser. So yes, this is unambiguously redistribution. ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Redistributing LGPL 2.1 code compiled by a proprietary compiler

I asked FSF the same question. This is the FSF's answer: Please see: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#NonFreeTools I hope this is of help. I asked again: For example, a proprietary ...
fujii's user avatar
  • 391
9 votes
Accepted

DMCA Takedown Notice received for distributing software licensed under Apache 2.0

On the face of it, this certainly seems like an erroneous or abusive DMCA takedown. The copyright holder had already given you rights to modify and distribute the browser extension by their Apache 2.0 ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 35.6k
9 votes
Accepted

Can I include license text in my project's README and not add a license file?

You can absolutely do that and it is fairly common. A file called LICENSE has no special legal significance. It is the responsibility of a user of the software to obtain necessary licenses, so the ...
amon's user avatar
  • 38.6k
9 votes

What is the standard practice when the developer does not want third party redistribution of a certain free and open source software?

There probably is no generally accepted way to handle a situation like you describe; the best answer and course of action always depends on the individual case. On the one hand it's good to have a ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 10.7k
8 votes
Accepted

Can I redistribute libstdc++ with proprietary software?

From the documentation: Grant of Additional Permission. You have permission to propagate a work of Target Code formed by combining the Runtime Library with Independent Modules, even if ...
bmargulies's user avatar
  • 4,217

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