Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Imagine I've written a game and I want to make it free software. Am I also required to make the game server software free software because the game uses it to connect to other players to play against?

Imagine I've written a stock ticker and I wish to make it free software. Can I charge for the subscription to the stock information, even though the software serves little purpose without paying for such a subscription?

I'm also interested in revenue sources for free software that go beyond charging for distribution or support, that counteract one person purchasing your software and then distributing it themselves and undercutting your prices.

share|improve this question

No, there are no free-software licenses that I am aware of that would impose such a requirement. If there were you wouldn't be under any obligation to use that license but instead pick one of the others.

The client and server could even be under different licenses if you like.

Also, if no license suited your needs, you are free to create your own. As the copyright owner, you are free to release your software as you see fit.

share|improve this answer
Also, if no license suited your needs, you are free to create your own. Please don't, especially if you want to use some sort of free software license. Don't create yet another license and add to the overall confusion; please pick one of the many existing ones! (I agree with the rest of the advice from Dave, though). – Andres F. Dec 3 '11 at 14:48
@Andres, good point, I totally agree. I was just pointing out that it's his code, he can do what he wants with it. – Dave Rager Dec 3 '11 at 14:53
@AndresF. - That argument makes no sense. What you're saying is that the guy who created the second software license, is somehow guilty of the mess we have today, because the first license sucked, and he didn't want to use it. – Rook Dec 3 '11 at 17:05
@Idigas: that's not what I am saying. Are you seriously arguing that every license in sucks or is somehow inadecuate to your particular case? Wow. – Andres F. Dec 3 '11 at 20:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.