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111

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 ...


67

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 ...


52

It's technically legal. The MIT (Expat) license places a few restrictions on you. These are a subset of the GPL license. Therefore, if you relicense the code under the GPL, and keep the MIT notice, then you've satisfied the terms of the MIT license and may legally redistribute the code. Note that you may not claim copyright ownership; you'll have to ...


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 ...


42

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 ...


34

I'm not a lawyer, but AFAIK if you have seen the GPLed library code any emulation library you write would be tainted and may be declared a derived work by a judge if it is too similar in his appreciation. So the process would be to write a functional spec and have someone which hasn't seen the GPLed code write the library. Edit: Note that with the way you ...


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

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 ...


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.


28

You can use a GPLed program from your own program without your program being affected by the GPL, but you cannot link the GPLed code into your own program without your program becoming subject to the GPL's terms. In the example provided in the question, in which you have written a GUI wrapper around an existing command-line program, your GUI is not bound by ...


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 ...


24

Yes. But the effect may not be what you think it is. The MIT license includes all the rights the GPL gives and more. And while people who receive your distribution only receive a GPL license to elements you added, they still receive an MIT license (from the original authors, not from you) to any elements contained in the work that the authors offered under ...


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

The GPL, in all its variants, is a redistribution license. It simply doesn't apply at all if you don't redistribute code. It may apply in the future if, some day, you decide to make a product out of your application, but not now.


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,...


21

The usual way round this problem is to first contact the library's owner and ask if they will release it to you under a different licence. If you're working on an open source project where the GPL is not compatible, then there's a good chance they'll do this, some projects end up with a GPL licence just because it seemed like the best choice. Of course, ...


21

GPLv2 does not mandate that. Actually, there is a modified version(AGPL) that is specifically designed to force web apps to release the code. If the binaries are running on the server, you don't have any obligation under vanilla GPLv2.


21

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 ...


21

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 ...


20

If you confine use of the library to within the walls of your corporation, you do not have to distribute the source (even to your employees), because you are not redistributing (selling or giving away a software product that includes the library) outside of your organization. The GPL allows you to freely use the code inside a corporation without ...


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 ...


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