125 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 ...
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  • 1,636
43 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 ...
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  • 679
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 ...
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  • 33k
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. ...
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  • 37.6k
28 votes

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

GPL licenses are legal documents, so you modify them or ignore their terms at your own risk! GNU.org has an FAQ addressing this: Why does the GPL require including a copy of the GPL with every copy ...
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  • 8,415
24 votes

Is it possible to close an open source project?

Yes, and no. As per the question you linked, if you're the only contributor, you can do whatever you want with the project. You can take it off GitHub or whatever platform you decided, you can ...
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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 ...
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  • 37.6k
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 ...
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  • 3,717
18 votes
Accepted

Is the Mozilla Public License compatible with Apple's App Store?

TL;DR: The legal incompatibilities between the GPL and the App store TOS don't apply to the MPL, but there is no saying whether Apple will allow your MPL licensed app. First off, what Apple allows ...
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  • 8,956
18 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 ...
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17 votes

For what reasons should you make the user agree to a FOSS licence during installation?

I can think of a few reasons: Conflation with EULAs. As you mentioned, copyright licenses deal with redistribution, not usage. EULAs, as their name implies (End User License Agreement), are contracts ...
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  • 8,415
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 ...
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  • 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 ...
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  • 37.6k
16 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 ...
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  • 33k
15 votes
Accepted

How can I get my program into a Linux distribution (Debian)?

For Debian you can proceed as follows: Post an Intent to Package (ITP) bug report to the Debian Bug Tracking system (https://www.debian.org/Bugs/). Or if an existing RFP (Request for Packaging) ...
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14 votes
Accepted

If the copyright-owner claims his works to be open source, do they have to release the source somewhere?

Software isn't inherently licensed in any particular way. Rather, it is released under a licence; which licence or licences it is released under are at the discretion of the copyright holder. That ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to close an open source project?

Much would depend on the initial license chosen when creating the OS project. If the OSP was originally published under a copyleft license such as GPL, then the answer is clearly no. They can not ...
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  • 6,655
14 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 ...
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  • 276
13 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 ...
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  • 3,963
12 votes

Is it possible to close an open source project?

Technically yes, but practically no. Technically yes - if you're the sole contributor, or you can get agreement with your co-contributors, you can do anything you like. It doesn't matter how you've ...
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  • 8,650
12 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 ...
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  • 8,415
10 votes

How can I get my program into a Linux distribution (Debian)?

@FaheemMitha already gave a perfect answer for Debian, but I wanted to add the process for Ubuntu. If a package is included in Debian, it will automatically be included in Ubuntu shortly down the road:...
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  • 271
10 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 ...
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  • 8,956
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. ...
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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 ...
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  • 381
9 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 ...
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  • 5,300
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 ...
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  • 33k
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 ...
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  • 8,042
8 votes

Should my project provide precompiled binaries?

Trichoplax suggested a number of advantages to providing binaries, but no disadvantages. Clearly, the largest advantage to providing binaries is the high probability that this will increase the size ...
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  • 6,655
8 votes

Should my project provide precompiled binaries?

There are several reasons to provide binaries, some stronger than others: First a passive reason - "Why not?" : if you have any users on a given target platform, the code will need to be tested on ...
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  • 2,149

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