I am working on a social networking platform using a database wrapper released under GPL. I'm fairly new to using open source software, so I'm not sure what would require me to release my source code.

From my understanding, if the code is modified and distributed, the modified code must be released. I am planning on adding to the db wrapper, and the social networking platform will be a public, for-profit website. However, since I'm not distributing the actual code itself, will I need to release my modified code?

  • The idea is that if you create a work based on GPL, then you should release the source code. You shouldn't really be looking for legal workarounds.
    – gnasher729
    May 2, 2016 at 21:41
  • @gnat - not sure it's really a dupe of my slightly nitpicking question. May 3, 2016 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


If your code is a derived work of the GPL code it must be released.

If your code incorporates the GPL code, modified or not, it is (almost certainly) a derived work. The question is a little different if the database wrapper is an LGPL library.

  • It sounds like the OP is not planning to distribute any derivative works, only use them to run a web site. In that case, no releasing of code is necessary -- this is exactly the reason that the AGPL was created.
    – wjl
    May 3, 2016 at 1:29
  • This is simply wrong. You only need to distribute the source code to those people whom you distribute the binaries to. If you don't have a binary, you have no right to the source code. If you don't distribute the binaries, you don't need to distribute anything. (Actually, you don't need to distribute the source at all, you only need to offer to do so – it's up to recipient if he wants to take you up on that offer or not.) May 3, 2016 at 11:38

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