I want to use the ICSOpenVpn project source code in my commercial application.

If we see the ICSOpenVpn project, it states that its license is New BSD but the libopenvpn.so library it uses is under GNU GPLv2 license.

As per FAQ for version 2 of GNU GPL "If a library is released under the GPL (not the LGPL), does that mean that any program which uses it has to be under the GPL?" The answer says: "Yes, because the program as it is actually run includes the library."

Also, how could ICSOpenVpn change the license to New BSD?


2 Answers 2


It looks like ICSOpenVpn is in violation of the GPL, at least the GPL as it's interpreted by the FSF.

That shouldn't concern you if you can use the project's source code without using libopenvpn.so, but otherwise I would be very wary. OpenVPN is actually developed by a for-profit company, and while they may turn a blind eye to a small open source project violating their license terms, a commercial application would be quite different.

The alternative would be to simply buy a commercial OpenVPN license. If your application generates significant revenue, that shouldn't be a problem.

  • +1 But are you wary rather than weary? :)
    – MarkJ
    Nov 27, 2012 at 17:41
  • Thanks for the clarification Michael. I was interested in using libopenvpn.so but i guess i will have to checkout the commercial license purchase option. Nov 28, 2012 at 6:56

You missed the part where ICS-OpenVPN says "Please [note] that openvpn used by this project is under GPLv2. Only the GUI is BSD licensed." Presumably the GUI is not bound tightly enough to OpenVPN's libopenvpn to require it to be GPL.

  • Ross, I guess saying "Presumably the GUI is not bound tightly enough to OpenVPN's libopenvpn" is very tricky statement.As per GPL , the derived code "has" to be under GPL. Anyways, thanks for the response :). Cheers. Nov 28, 2012 at 6:53

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