We have our own proprietary software that we are developing for commercial business. We want to sell the software and we do not have any problem in distributing the source code to our customers. Due to the lack of good build infrastructure and complexity of the software, it has become difficult to manage and has lost its readability.

An easy way to manage this is by making use of Kbuild as is done in Linux and U-Boot. This means using (and customizing) Kbuild and Kconfig specific files (and few modified Makefiles) to compile our software.

I went through all the FAQs for GPL v2 (https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.html) but I'm not able to make what implications would be of using Kbuild infrastructure in my proprietary software. Can anyone help me in understanding them?

closed as off-topic by Jörg W Mittag, gnat, Thomas Owens Apr 6 '17 at 16:38

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The license of Kbuild can only affect the license of your own product if parts of Kbuild end up in the product you are distributing.

The main function of a build system like Kbuild is to make sure that the parts of your product get built in the right order and with the right flags. None of this involves making changes to your code.

The fact that you need to have some files with instructions for Kbuild and/or Kconfig also doesn't mean that your product becomes a derived work of those tools. The license of a tool can not affect what licenses can be used on the files that are processed by the tool.

In order to set/influence a copyright license on something, you must be able to claim authorship on at least part of that work. In order to claim authorship on a part of an executable, it must be possible to trace a group of instructions in the executable to some source code you have written. And it is not sufficient if the code you trace to is producing the output as a result of transforming some input.

See also Can I use GPL-covered editors such as GNU Emacs to develop nonfree programs? Can I use GPL-covered tools such as GCC to compile them?

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