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110

3 reasons why: According to the terms of the GPL, people accessing GitHub via the web is not considered releasing (or propagating in GPLv3 terms), and so GitHub is not required to share their source code. If GitHub was to sell a version of their service (which they might do, I haven't bothered to look) where they send you their software and you run an ...


95

First, the answer is no (for a translation), you cannot legally relicense it or do anything outside of the original license legalities. You may very well have done 10 times the work of the original author, but it doesn't matter, it is viral. Not just because it is GPL, but because it isn't clean design or rewrite. I struggled briefly with this in 1992 when ...


74

The short answer: When you fork an existing project, you generally do not have permission to change the license nor do you get copyright on the code you copied over. You do have the copyright on any (nontrivial) modifications or additions that you make. The long answer: The only ways to get copyright on a piece of code is by writing it yourself or by ...


71

First off, I Am Not A Lawyer. But I have studied many licenses and understand issues concerning them. Second, I know this is an old question, but I think it still is a point of confusion and concern. If it ISN'T a point of concern, it should be. Choosing a license is a big deal that you can't trivially change down the road, especially if multiple ...


53

Unlike many of the user here, I would simply suggest: Copy it! Make sure the formatting of the code fits your coding standard and also you should probably remove or rewrite the comment. No one will ever know you copied it - when a piece of code is this simple, you might as well have written it from scratch. If your coding standard somehow requires the ...


46

As long as you don't distribute your binaries, there is no problem with using GPL libraries (or other code) in an otherwise closed-source project. As far as the regular GPL and LGPL are concerned, providing access to use your software over a network (like in SaaS) is not considered distribution. This means that there is no problem with using (L)GPL ...


45

The company selling it has no obligation to distribute source to anyone except people to whom they have given binaries. So no, they don't have to give you anything. Someone who has purchased GPL software does have the right to request source and subsequently redistribute that source to anyone under the terms of the GPL. If you can find a customer willing to ...


33

If you link to a GPL lib then you have created a derived work and your code must be GPL - this is different to LGPL code which specifically allows dynamic linking of differently licensed code. The system libraries including libc, are all LGPL. There is also a special exemption for the Linux kernel headers and libgcc (the library implicitly called to by the ...


32

So long as you retain the copyright to all the code that is part of FooSuite (this gets problematic if you've incorporated code from the community unless you got the contributors to assign their copyright to you), you are free to distribute the code under as many different licenses as you'd like. So you could release FooSuite 1.1 under a different license. ...


31

This scenario is covered in the GPL FAQ: What does the GPL say about translating some code to a different programming language? Under copyright law, translation of a work is considered a kind of modification. Therefore, what the GPL says about modified versions applies also to translated versions.


27

The restrictions in copyleft licenses like the GPL apply to modified versions of your code as well as your original code. So they can't just tweak the whitespace or brace style and then delete your license statement. However, you can't patent/copyright/copyleft/whatever an "algorithm" in its most abstract sense. You can put a license on your favorite ...


23

Bad news, dude. It isn't your code. Only the owner of the code in question can relicense that code, and you are not the owner of the code in question. You accepted the code under the terms of the GPL. You modified it, and forked it, under the terms of the GPL. You are now stuck with the terms of the GPL, and one of those terms is that you can't ...


23

As long as you don't release the software to anyone while you are linking to GPL'd libraries, you are safe. The viral aspect of GPL only kicks in if you distribute your software. It would be better if you could find a library with a more permissive licence, of course, like LGPL or APL2 or MIT.


22

1) Does the dual license mean that as long as one or the other is satisfied I'm fine, or does it have to be both? Yes. Specifically, jQuery makes it explicit that you can use it even in commercial environment. Why then it is also with GPL? This is because, if someone wants to make additional javascript library using jQuery, he/she can choose GPL license ...


22

I think you have to start with the intent of the LGPL 2.1 and the LGPL 3. The LGPL 2.1 was designed to be a license written largely in plain English that would give programmers guidance on what they could do with the software. It is generally clearer than the GPL 2 because of the linking safe harbor. One major uncertainty regarding the GPL is whether a ...


22

It is actually a requirement of the GPL license to put such a copyright statement in your source files (see here). One point that is common among all copyright licenses is that you can't claim authorship for something you didn't write. This isn't always explicitly written down for contributions to a project, but if you contribute a significant piece of code,...


20

IANAL but I have discussed this and many similar issues with lawyers enough to have a good idea of what I am talking about here. This is not legal advice. The best background reading is Larry Rosen's book in the context of open source software. Rights, Licenses, Copyright and Sublicenses Under copyright law a copyright holder is granted certain exclusive ...


20

The GPL writes: You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions: So this condition only applies if your work is "based on" the library, which the licence defines as follows: To “modify” a work ...


19

roughly, as long as you application isn't just a wrapper around the library: LGPL: you can link against and don't have to release source code as long as you don't modify the library itself GPL: you have to release source code if you link against and distribute the binary, but don't if you just provide a service AGPL: you have to allow the source to be ...


18

It doesn't directly answer your question, but try this: #define min(a,b) ((a) < (b) ? (a) : (b)) I hereby release this glorious, complex macro to the public domain. Though I may have to publish a paper on this technique. If you're macro-phobic, try this inline version (really, unless you're coding on a SPARC, you'll save lots of CPU cycles by not ...


18

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. Use my advice at your own risk. This implementation of min is not copyrightable, since there are only very few reasonable ways of writing it. In the legal world, this is known as the merger doctrine (also known as the idea-expression divide). The (non-copyrightable) idea of the function is said to have "merged" with the (...


18

If you are the sole copyright holder (i.e., the owner), you can do anything you want with the code, including doing a derivative version of the code where the only change is to the license. Licenses are just descriptions of the conditions placed by the owner(s) on the non-owning users of the code. They do not constrain the owner. When there is multiple ...


18

You very likely do not have the right to distribute the code. The GNU Project's GPL FAQ has this to say on the topic: Is making and using multiple copies within one organization or company “distribution”? No, in that case the organization is just making the copies for itself. As a consequence, a company or other organization can develop a modified ...


18

Software can be dual licensed if all the copyright holders agree. Most companies that have a dual licensed product and accept contributions have some form of contributor license agreement that must be accepted before you can contribute code. In the case of ExtJS, it says: You hereby grant to Sencha and to recipients of software distributed by or on ...


18

The GPL describes rules about the use of the source code, not rules about the use of products of the application itself. The most obvious example is the GNU compiler. The compiler is released under the GPL. It is perfectly fine to use that to compile programs that are not released under the GPL. What you are restricted from is modifying the GNU compiler ...


17

Forget about the GPL for a moment, and look at copyright. When you fork a project, all code that was present in the original project is copyright of whoever wrote that code in the original project. All code that you write afterwards is your copyright. So unless you re-write all the code from the original project, that code isn't yours and you have no legal ...


17

Your friend is wrong. First, the GPL only requires to disclose your source code to your customers when your software runs on their machines. Your load balancer runs on your own hardware, so you don't need to provide the sourcecode to anyone who connects to it. There is a variant of the GPL which requires to disclose the sourcecode to everyone who "interacts ...


16

The text of the license specifically covers translations, so no, you wouldn't be able to relicense it. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or ...


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