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hi guys, i was just curious about if there are any legal limitations concerning GNU software. for instance, the GNU compiler package. are there any restrictions for commercial applications for ...
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    GNU license stuff


    hi guys,

    i was just curious about if there are any legal limitations concerning GNU software. for instance, the GNU compiler package. are there any restrictions for commercial applications for instance? what about if you get stuck in some boring old company one day, and you'd like to use linux and GNU software for commercial purposes? like, you're doing some statistics on some data some dork just sent you, and you're plugging away in fortran or whatever. i mean, using the software more or less scientifically (to produce results, graphs, bars, what have you), not to use it as a basis for commercial software. know what i mean? just checking.

    have a nice weekend, folks.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Software released under the GNU GPL can be used for commercial purposes provided you make all the sourcecode available for anyone who might want it.

    You cannot however mix non-GPL-compliant (read: usually closed-source) licensed software with GPL software, because they are usually incompatible. Specifically the clause in the GPL that states that all source code must be made available.

    I'm not a lawyer, but that's the general opinion I've heard regarding GPL and commercial use. Of course, if you never actually sell or otherwise release the software at all (i.e. internal use) I can't see any conflict really.
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    hi moe,

    thanks for such a quick reply. yeah, that sounds very reasonable to me. so, under this GPL license, every company making linux distros should make the sourcecode freely available to the public? what about linspire and such non-free crap?

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hansjoakim
    hi moe,

    thanks for such a quick reply. yeah, that sounds very reasonable to me. so, under this GPL license, every company making linux distros should make the sourcecode freely available to the public? what about linspire and such non-free crap?
    Well, yes and no. Linux is not an operating system per-se; it's a kernel and a collection of GNU GPL programs that commonly get distributed with it. There's nothing in the GPL that says you can't make a CD and put GPL software on it along with proprietary (closed-source) software. The GPL only states that if you mix the source code you must release it all.

    Companies like Linspire, Xandros, and SuSE have certain proprietary applications that they ship with their distributions of Linux. These applications are not released under the GPL, but since their source code belongs to their respective companies and does not contain any GPL-released code, there is nothing forcing these companies to release the source code to these programs.
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    thanks moe! oh, and it was not my intention to offend anyone by calling linspire "non-free crap", just to make that clear. have a nice weekend folks

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