I have found an open sourced server that is licensed under GNU GPL. We would like to use that server at our client's hardware as a part of our solution for him (we provide our own software but we need a server to run on). However our software is under no-disclosure agreement.

Can we use the server? What do we have to do to be able to use the server?

  • Could you clarify what you mean by "open sourced server", and how it relates to your solution/software? – SHODAN Nov 13 '14 at 12:34

If your software only interacts with the server through the standard OS interfaces or other standardized interfaces, then you can use the GPL server without question.

The GPL license applies to entire applications, but there are limits to what is considered part of such an application. In particular, the boundaries are:

  • system APIs
  • API's that conform to well known standards
  • separate processes that communicate "at arms length". At arms length essentially means here that the processes communicate through a standard interface without knowing about each others internals.

It essentially means that if your software communicates through a defined interface to the server, where that interface is not specific to that particular server, then the server's license doesn't carry over to your application.

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