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Share Your Experience: Take the 2024 Developer Survey
71 votes
Accepted

Why does GPLv2 include a mailing address (51 Franklin Street) in the license notice?

It may help to remember that version 2 of the GNU GPL was published in June 1991. According to Wikipedia, only 11% of people in the developed world had internet access in 1997, and I can assure you ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
56 votes
Accepted

Am I legally required to provide a (GPL licensed) source code even after a project is abandoned?

The GPL gives you a few options for how to distribute source code. Typically, you distribute source at the time you distribute the binary. However, section 3(b) of the GPLv2 allows you to distribute a ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
47 votes
Accepted

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

The Free Software Foundation thinks not. From the GPL FAQ: If someone steals a CD containing a version of a GPL-covered program, does the GPL give the thief the right to redistribute that version? ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 5,417
39 votes
Accepted

Is keeping the forking link on a true fork necessary? (Github/GPL)

There is no requirement whatsoever in any version of the GPL to maintain a reference to some upstream project. Imagine if you use substantial code from multiple GPL-licensed projects: the GitHub ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
34 votes

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

The usual caveat: IANAL/IANYL. That said, a statement of intent is not usually considered a binding undertaking, and stolen goods are stolen goods. A licence does not inhere in software, it is ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
28 votes
Accepted

Am I allowed to convert some functions from a GPLv2 project and use it in a commercial project?

tl;dr: maybe illegal, trending towards probably illegal. Almost certainly too high a risk for a sensible company to take on. First things first: open sources licenses allow for commercial use so you ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
23 votes

I was told by a vendor who licenses their paid software under GPL v2 that I cannot include the software inside my framework. How so?

Assuming that the original work was distributed under the GNU GPLv2, and that you have made a work which is a derivative of it (in copyright terms), you may redistribute your derivative work subject ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
23 votes

Why it is not possible to create a proprietary fork of GPL?-or-later software?

You say "the copyright holder is the same entity" but this is true only for the changes introduced by the downstream distributor. There is also the upstream distributor who licensed their ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
21 votes
Accepted

Quoting GPL licensed text in presentation slides

The Berne Convention on copyright specifies the Right to Quote as an exception to copyright. Article 10 (1) It shall be permissible to make quotations from a work which has already been lawfully made ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Does modified server code, used in public website development, which is originally available under GPL2 have to be released to the public?

No, you do not 'distribute copies of free software' so you are not required to provide source code. This is how many service providers are able to integrate GPL-licensed code with their proprietary ...
rvs's user avatar
  • 473
18 votes
Accepted

Can I get paid to make code that includes GPLv2 libraries?

If by I've been asked to make an application you mean that you were hired to create an application, the answer to your question depends on the contract you have with your employer (if you work for a ...
D. SM's user avatar
  • 1,876
16 votes

Is illegally obtained GPLv2 software still subject to the terms and conditions of the GPL?

I think the problem here is at a more fundamental level than the GPL. The GPL does not force you to publish your code under the GPL. It is still the right of the copyright holder to decide whether ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
16 votes
Accepted

Why GitHub is not opensource when it's use Git that has GPLv2 license?

The GPL does not forbid you from using GPL'ed software. It requires something far more specific: if you modify the GPL'ed software and publish your modifications, then you can only publish under the ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
16 votes

If you distribute GPL-code as non-GPL, can the receiver redistribute it as GPL?

GPLv2 is clear about this: I have to release the whole program as GPLv2 if I want to distribute it. That would be the FSF's position, at least. It is clear that if I don't, I am subject to lawsuits ...
John Bollinger's user avatar
15 votes

Are pictures of GPL software GPL?

The question you need to be asking here is whether the picture/screen recording is a derivative work of the copyrighted material or not. In general, the answer to this is "no" (and this is independent ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
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
  • 4,203
14 votes

GPLv2 - licensing for commercial use

Yes, to people to whom you have distributed the binary. No, they can also get it from someone else who has a (presumably paid-for) binary, and lawfully use that copy. Because GPLv2 s3 says "You may ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
14 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to migrate old GPL2 project to GPL3?

No, the GPLv2 is incompatible with the GPLv3. The FSF says of v2 and v3 compatibility: Please note that GPLv2 is, by itself, not compatible with GPLv3. However, most software released under GPLv2 ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
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
  • 36.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to charge for distributing the source of a software which uses GPLv2 components?

Yes. The terms are described in the GPLv2 license (emphasis mine): You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the ...
Glenn Randers-Pehrson's user avatar
12 votes

Can I get paid to make code that includes GPLv2 libraries?

Just adding another take on the question, hopefully to complement D. SM's excellent answer. You say that you're writing an application and you want to use a GPLv2 library in it. You fully understand ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Reusing test input files from GPLv2 project for automated testing

As I understand it, you choose these files because they they contain the characteristics you want to test against and they are conveniently already available. But otherwise, you could use any file at ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
12 votes

GPL-2 licensing and commercial software (what rights has the licensee)?

The GPL is a copyleft open source license: it allows you to use and modify the GPL-covered software for any purpose. But when you create a modified version (such as by including GPL-covered code into ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
12 votes
Accepted

Does reimplementing GPLv2 code in another language create a derivative work that also falls under the GPL?

Yes. A derivative is a derivative. Porting existing code to another language also counts as making a modification. NOT a derivative is a so-called blackbox implementation. That is the case when you ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
11 votes

Is database migration script covered by GPL?

That's fine. You receive the binary and the code under GPL. So you have the source code for the software you use and are allowed to make whatever modifications you desire. The license does not make ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
11 votes
Accepted

Can I convert an Apache 2.0 project to GPLv2

Unlike the BSD, MIT, and ISC licenses, the Apache 2.0 license is not compatible with the GPLv2. From the Apache Software Foundation: Despite our best efforts, the FSF has never considered the Apache ...
jobukkit's user avatar
  • 284
11 votes

Could a license that allows later versions impose obligations or remove protections for licensors in the future?

There is some risk, but perhaps not as much as you think. Hypothetically, let's say the FSF release v4 of the "GNU GPL" which has identical wording to the MIT License. At this point, it is ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Incorporating GPL3 code into a GPL2 project

As we discuss at more length here, GPLv2 and GPLv3 are incompatible licences: that is, if you combine code under GPLv2 with code under GPLv3, there is no licence that satisfies all the requirements of ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
10 votes
Accepted

Can Apple require users to accept the Xcode/iOS license to use git?

Apple is generally very good at being on the verge of legality regarding open source / free software. And they have enough lawyers so that I would be really surprised if one found a clear violation. ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
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 ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible