Questions about the GNU General Public License

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88
votes
6answers
5k views

Ship of Theseus applied to GPL - Can I relicense my program if I replace all of the derivative parts?

I translated a GPLv2 C program to Python, but found it was hard to extend as designed and rewrote significant portions of it. The program is now structurally completely different, but there are ...
55
votes
2answers
43k views

Can I use GPL software in a commercial application

I have 3 questions about the GPL here: If I use GPL software in my application, but don't modify or distribute it, do I have to release my application under the GPL? What if I modify some software ...
38
votes
14answers
3k views

What do I need to do to NOT steal “Hello World” code with a GPL license?

In the project, I found a file, math.c, with a big GPL header and ... //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ /// Returns the minimum value between two ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Forking GPL project: Do I have full rights on the new fork or still dependencies with the original owner(s)

I am considering the creation of a fork to a small project licensed under GPLv2, and I have some very specific questions I did not manage to answer in my research on various sites and foras. When I ...
28
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the Pros and Cons of the GPL? [closed]

I'm looking at licensing some open source software and am looking at the GPL. What are the pros and cons of using this license?
28
votes
7answers
1k views

Choosing a licence for open source projects

I've done some open source projects, and I plan to do more in the future. So far, I've released all my code under GPL, but I've read a few articles which claim GPL is too restrictive for any code to ...
26
votes
1answer
965 views

If I release a program under GPL, do I have to continue to do so?

Consider this scenario: I am developing a program FooSuite that uses a GPL-licenced library QuuxTools I release the program FooSuite 1.0 under GPL Later on I discover that, for some reason, I need ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

How is client-side javascript covered by the GPL?

If I used a GPL-licensed Javascript libarary in a web application, would I then have to offer source code of the whole site to anyone who downloaded and executed the Javascript lib?
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Does the GPL allow anyone to obtain GPL software without paying for it?

I've spotted a nice WordPress (GPL) theme for sale. I know somebody who bought it. I have 2 questions: Has the company selling it the obligation to send the source code to whoever (customers or ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Do I need to contact a lawyer to report a GPL violation in software distributed on Apple's App Store? [closed]

Some company is selling software through Apple's App Store which uses portions of code that I released publicly under the GPL. The company is violating the licensing terms in two ways, by (1) not ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Must source code released under GPL be human-readable?

In a response to another question, a poster suggested that under the GPL: ...you need to provide the human readable [code], not a whitespace stripped version... Readability would seem to me to ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

Can you change code distributed under the MIT license, and re-distribute it under the GPL license?

Is it possible to alter the code of the Chili plugin, which had its latest release on July 2008, and it is licensed under the MIT license, to then license it under GPL? As far I can see, there is no ...
16
votes
7answers
633 views

How successful is GPL in reaching its goals?

There are, broadly, two types of FOSS licenses when it relates to commercial usage of the code - let's say the GPL-type and the BSD-type. The first is, broadly, restrictive about commercial usage (by ...
15
votes
9answers
3k views

Rewriting GPL code to change license

I have found a GPL library (no dual license), which does exactly what I need. Unfortunately, the GPL license on the library is incompatible with the license of a different library I use. I have ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Using GPL libraries without modification on a commercial website, do I need to make my source code available? [duplicate]

If I write a public-facing commercial website, and use a GPL javascript library and/or binaries without modifying them (such as plupload), would I be required to make the source for my website ...
15
votes
4answers
694 views

Automatic generate code: “derived work”?

For example, I've GPL software. I'm the author of this GPL software. This GPL software has, between its code, Doxygen comments. These Doxygen comments are written to generate a CC-BY-SA html page, in ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

Should I include GPL'd OS Projects on my resume?

I've recently had a talk with someone about how to include open source projects on my resume. I wanted to include a project of mine where I'd invested a significant amount of code and time: ~40,000 ...
14
votes
7answers
4k views

Avoid GPL violation by moving library out of process

Assume there is a library that is licensed under GPL. I want to use it is closed source project. I do following: Create small wrapper application around that GPL library that listens to socket, ...
14
votes
6answers
507 views

How do I spot and document a GPL violation?

How to spot that someone copied open source code licensed with GPL to their closed source commercial application, when you don't have access to their closed source code? Edit: Great answers! Part 2. ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Using a GPLv3 Python module, will my entire project have to be GPLv3 licensed?

I'm working on a small project right now that I plan on releasing under an open-source license (haven't decided which yet). The question I have is that one of the Python modules I use is licensed ...
13
votes
3answers
518 views

What license is the GPL License licensed under?

The actual GPL License (that is, the text that contains the words "The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed...") is a document; I would assume therefore that it is under ...
13
votes
11answers
1k views

Difference between free and open software? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Open Source but not Free Software (or vice versa) I recently was at talk were Stallman was the keynote speaker, and he stated he hated the term open software, because it ...
12
votes
3answers
481 views

License question, what happens to a piece of source code when its owner passes away

I am using a piece of free source code in one of my projects. The source code was written in the 1990s and is available from a website that says the code may be modified and distributed freely. The ...
12
votes
4answers
506 views

GPL in the workplace?

I once interviewed at a consulting company where it came up in the conversation that they use open source products (which is great, I've used Hibernate, JBoss, etc. extensively.) One thing that did ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I safely use an open source library in an internal closed-source project?

I m thinking of using iTextSharp, which is licensed under Affero GPL, in an internal closed-source WinForms project. No one outside my company will be using it. GPL (and Affero GPL as well) ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the legal risks if any of using a GPL or AGPL Web Application Framework/CMS?

Tried to ask this on SO but was referred here... Am I correct in saying that using a GPL'ed web application framework such as Composite C1 would NOT obligate a company to share the source code we ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “GPL with classpath exception” mean in practice?

Oracle seems to license all their Java-related open source code under the GPL with a classpath exception. From what I understand, this seems to allow to combine these libraries with your own code into ...
10
votes
7answers
4k views

How to get started in opensource projects and programs [duplicate]

I am interested in starting to learn how to contribute to open source projects and Linux in general. I am a first year B.Sc. Computer Science student this year and we use c++ as our main programming ...
10
votes
9answers
5k views

Can any GPLv2 licensed library be used in a company's internal intranet application?

I am creating an internal application for the company I am contracted to. We wish to use a GPLv2 licensed library in this application. Some points The application is to be used within the confines ...
10
votes
4answers
643 views

How does the GPL work in regards to languages like Dart which compile to other languages?

Google's Dart language is not supported by any Web Browsers other than a special build of Chromium known as Dartium. To use Dart for production code you need to run it through a Dart->JavaScript ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

LGPL 2.1 vs LGPL 3.0 Advantages and Disadvantages

From what I've read, LGPL 3.0 allows you to use the license together with other licenses, more permissive about that(Not even sure about that). From ...
10
votes
2answers
750 views

Best practices for releasing an open source PHP application

I'm a PHP developer for a living but have never worked on or contributed to any open source projects before. I am developing a CMS for my own use. I have a working prototype and I think that once ...
10
votes
1answer
845 views

How do I stay compliant with GPL when forking on Github?

I've recently forked a project on Github and made some modifications to it, pushed them back to the forked repository and asked the original developer to pull the changes. (I gather this is the ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

Can GPL-licensed software be resold?

My research group is developing some software for research purposes. The project leader wants the software to be open source and likes the GPL, but wants to ensure that they software cannot be sold. ...
9
votes
2answers
727 views

How can a company sell licenses for GPLed software without violating rights of others [duplicate]

There are tons of questions like "Can I use GPLed code X in my commercial project?" but I found nothing which answers my question. I take ExtJS as an example, but actually you can any commercial / ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Is any JavaScript code used only for websites, open source?

Rewritten question: I'm not asking a JavaScript-related question, but all "client" languages used on the web (HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, and so on). If I put JavaScript code (that is GPLed) on my ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a loophole in the GPL that allows proprietary software to be linked with GPL libraries?

Let’s examine a hypothetical scenario: Company X writes a proprietary program (A) that dynamically links with a proprietary library (B). Company Y wants to use a replacement library (C) licensed ...
9
votes
1answer
732 views

GPL copying copyright notices

The "GPL How to" has the following to say about applying copyright notices of code copied from other programs: If you have copied code from other programs covered by the same license, copy their ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Call GPL software from non-GPL software

Can I (legally) use a program that is released under GPL from another program that I'm writing and not have to respect the GPL (for the program I'm writing)? For example, I have a GUI that uses a ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Do I have to release my code as open source if I use Git?

This is a question focused on the legal aspects of software licensing. I am starting to develop a proeject want the option to claim the source code as properitary and retain full copy rights. I like ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

Using a GPL licensed library in a commercial app [duplicate]

I develop an android application and in my app I use a libary (jar) that I download from the internet. This jar is open-source under the "GNU General Public License v2". I tried to read the text of ...
8
votes
5answers
537 views

Am I covered with GPL If I want to share open source code of project developed in my company?

I'm working in a company and in my job contract there are confidential clauses concerning code, documents, etc... In the company we are working on an open source project (GPL V3). The project is not ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it OK to learn an algorithm from an open source project, and then implement it in a closed source project?

Reference The post that started it all In order to clear up the original question I asked in a provocative manner, I have posed this question. If you learn an algorithm from an open source project, ...
8
votes
5answers
814 views

What are the consequences of GPL dependencies?

I am developing software for my company and I would like to use some libraries under GPL license. What could be the consequences? Does it mean that the code developed above these GPL dependencies ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Confusion about dual license (MIT/GPL) javascript for use on my website

I've read all of the posts I can find on this and I'm still not sure of the answer. I'd like to use a jQuery plugin on my website that is dual licensed under MIT and GPL. Does the dual license mean ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How does the GPL static vs. dynamic linking rule apply to interpreted languages?

In my understanding, the GPL prohibits static linking from non-GPL code to GPL code, but permits dynamic linking from non-GPL code to GPL code. So which is it when the code in question is not linked ...
7
votes
6answers
454 views

GPL'ing code of a third party?

I am facing the following dilemma at the moment. I am using code from a scientific paper in a commercial project. So basically I copied and pasted the code from the paper's pdf into my code editor ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Use my own GPL licensed code in a commercial product

I am developing a software project in Java/Swing licensed under GPL v3. Later, I want to create a Android application which uses the algorithms of the Java/Swing application. This Android app will be ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

Using C++/Java to develop software and sell it

I know this question has been asked here before, and I also know that this website is for programming questions only, but please do make an exception, as none of the posts I've come across on this ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Including a GPL-license library in a commercial Java program

I am in the process of helping develop a commercial Java program. We want to use a certain third-party LookAndFeel in the GUI. The problem is that the LookAndFeel library is GPL licensed. Since we are ...