I'm building a software and I want to release it under Apache 2.0 license. Unfortunately, right now, I've no time to put sources codes on public repository like Github or BitBucket. And more, I didn't give the source code to the final users.

Is it conform to Apache 2.0 license? If the final users request the sources code, have I to give it ? (According to this, I don't have to give the license https://tldrlegal.com/license/apache-license-2.0-(apache-2.0))

2 Answers 2


First, if you are distributing something (source or object/binary code) under the Apache License 2.0, you must distribute the license to recipients. If you do not give them the license, the recipients of your software do not know what their rights are with regards to usage, modification, or redistribution (among other things). The requirement to provide a copy of the license is stated in Section 4 Redistribution:

You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a copy of this License

However, you do not need to distribute the source for your work, either openly or upon request. If you are using third-party software under a different license, you must comply with the terms of that license.


The purpose of a copyright license is to give someone additional rights that are otherwise exclusive to the copyright holder. In turn, the license defines some way in which the recipient has to compensate the copyright holder. Traditionally, that way of compensation is paying a license fee, but especially in open source, there are many other different ways, such as helping society by contributing your changes to the public (copyleft) or the likes. (There are also licenses like CC0, which explicitly say that the recipient has no obligations whatsoever.)

The bottom line is: the copyright holder (you) already has all rights. There is no need for you to abide by the terms of the license, because there is no need for you (and indeed it is just plain nonsensical) to receive the license in the first place. (And, by the way, even if this wasn't the case, the only person whose copyright you would be violating, and thus the only person that could sue you is you … see how ridiculous that is?)

However, depending on the specific license involved, not providing the source may make it impossible for anyone who wants to use your code to abide by the terms of the license, and thus make it impossible for them to use your code. This is not true for the ASL2, but it is true for the GPL, for example.

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