Can I modify GNU GPL software for my proprietary software application?

I have a client and they have developed a new proprietary software app using open source GPL software.


They were distributing app w/o giving out source code. This is not allowed under GPL. You can modify GPL’d software and include it within a proprietary software app but can not distribute it. Google/Yahoo and many other service providers do use modified GPL’d software. But they simply don’t distribute it to 3rd party.

More resources…

I am glad that they are now distributing source code. If you are in such problem I recommend following resources:

  • Official GPL License – A must read for you.
  • Wikipedia GPL page – You will get tons of information here.
  • Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing by Andrew M. St. Laurent – This is an excellent book explains your licensing options, how they compare and interoperate, and how license choices affect project possibilities. If you’re an open source/free software developer, this book is an absolute necessity.
  • Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law – A complete guide to the law of open source for developers, managers, and lawyers
  • Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project

And simple answer to this question is NO 🙂

If you have more resources or suggestion please feel free to leave a comment.

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

1 comment… add one
  • Binny V A Jan 17, 2007 @ 2:45

    If anyone has such a requirement, using a software with BSD License will do the trick.

    By the way, the link to GPL in the line ‘Official GPL License – A must read for you.’ does not work.

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