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A software I would like to use in a commercial project switched from GPL to APL2. The news cites:

Please note that the new code that is currently developed as part of the 2.0 code base is licensed under APL 2, the previous code was and remains GPL.

Does this mean that I can use a new code version in a commercial application or that I can only use the newly released code (from the GPL->APL2 switching on) in a commercial application and not the old one?

  • You can use a given software source tree with the license exactly given in the source tree. So you can use the new version under APL2. If unclear, ask the software authors – Basile Starynkevitch Jan 28 '15 at 21:20
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    Do you confuse ‘commercial’ with ‘proprietary’? Any free software license, including GNU GPL, by definition allows you to use the work it covers for any purpose, including commercial. – Dmitry Alexandrov Jan 28 '15 at 22:22
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    What is ‘APL2’? Do they mean ASLv2 (Apache [Software] License) or something more exotic like APSLv2 (‘Apple Public Source License’)? – Dmitry Alexandrov Jan 28 '15 at 22:27
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    FWIW, that software is LuxRender. And that announcement about switching from GNU GPL to ‘APL2’ (whatever it is) is dated November 2013; although today I can not find anything in their code repository that is covered by a license other that GNU GPLv3+ (some files do not have copyright notices at all). – Dmitry Alexandrov Jan 28 '15 at 23:10
  • @DmitryAlexandrov They might refer to the Adaptive Public License (although there is no version 2.0 of it as far as I know). – Philipp Feb 2 '15 at 15:24
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Does this mean that I can use a new code version in a commercial application or that I can only use the newly released code (from the GPL->APL2 switching on) in a commercial application and not the old one?

Exactly; What you are allowed to do with a piece of software depends on the license you got it under.

For example if the software under the new license removed a feature then you can't copy it in from the old version to add it back again (unless the license before and after allows it).

  • I'm not sure: you cannot add the removed code (with a license switch in between), but "features" are IMHO not copyrightable (only source code is), so you could re-implement (with your different code) a previous feature. For example, Linux reimplemented the Unix specification (whatever that means). So you could re-add a feature if you re-implement it your own way! What you can't do (unless license permit it) is to apply an existing source code patch (from the older license, on the newly licensed version) – Basile Starynkevitch Jan 28 '15 at 22:25
  • @BasileStarynkevitch edited to make clear it's about copying from old version – ratchet freak Jan 28 '15 at 22:28

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