Based on this page, I can see that only Apache License 2.0 is compatible with GPL v3.

Now my question is, in layman's term, how do I make those two work together?

My current situation is that I am developing an application that is made from a GPL v3 licensed programming language. I want to put some form of security on the application and figured I can achieve that via a web service. However, I don't want to expose my web service's code as GPL v3 since it is part of a larger system that I am working on which will be closed source. Is there any way to use the Apache License 2.0 in this scenario?

EDIT: For clarity's sake, the programming language I am going to use is LiveCode.

2 Answers 2


The compatibility of the two licenses means that it is possible to release code under a dual license of both GPLv3 and Apache Licence 2.0.

The thing with the GPL license is that it requires that if a single line of your application is licensed with it, then all of the application must be made available under the GPL license, even if that first line is contained in a library you link into the application.

On the other hand, the license under which a programming language is released should not affect the licenses you can use for programs written in that language, although the license on the language's translator and standard library might be a different matter. Only those who hold a claim to the copyright of a program have a say in that program's license. Programs you write and compile clearly contain your ideas and parts of it might contain ideas of whoever wrote the translator or library. But the language designer has as much claim to copyright as the British people have to texts written in English (i.e. none).

To be entirely sure, consult a lawyer.

  • The lagnuage I'm thinking of using is LiveCode. It has recently finished a Kickstarter backing and the community edition is licensed under GPL.
    – Propeller
    May 11, 2013 at 15:53
  • The output of a GPL application doesn't need to be under the GPL, so you can use GIMP for editing commercial images. I'm not sure about languages though as it will likely be using built in libraries which if under the GPL, might require the resulting application to be under the GPL. Probably be worth asking the creators of LiveCode to be sure.
    – Sam
    May 11, 2013 at 19:11
  • 1
    Just googled the Kickstarter and the FAQ says this: "The open source edition lets you create open source software, the commercial edition lets you create closed source apps." so it looks like it does have to be under the GPL unless you buy the commercial license.
    – Sam
    May 11, 2013 at 19:15

IANAL but from what I understand it's compatible in the sense that you can use Apache licensed code under the GPL, not the other way around.

So if the code was licensed under the Apache license, you can use it in a GPL licensed application. If the code was licensed under the GPL, any derivative work must be also under the GPL and cannot, without the copyright holders permission, be used under the Apace license.

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