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If there is a non GPL piece of commercial software that uses a GPL application for a small function what are the rules of distribution. Can the non gpl software's ...
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    GNU/GPL distribution question


    If there is a non GPL piece of commercial software that uses a GPL application for a small function what are the rules of distribution. Can the non gpl software's installer call the installerr of the gpl version of the software. Can they be distributed together?

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of the GPL is this:

    The GPL states that if you use GPL software in your source code along with non-GPL software you must release the source code for everything (including your non-GPL code). Read up on it here:

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
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    techieMoe

    thanks for the response. I have read the license and not being a lawyer is why I had questions. I just did not know because we have not changed any of the GPL code and we were just distributing the application along with ours to be installed if that violated the GPL.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoma
    techieMoe

    thanks for the response. I have read the license and not being a lawyer is why I had questions. I just did not know because we have not changed any of the GPL code and we were just distributing the application along with ours to be installed if that violated the GPL.
    How are you using the GPL code? If it's compiled along with your code, that won't work.
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    we do not even have the source code for the GPL code. it is merely a stand along application that we use for pdf printing. we were originally going to have our installshield launch their installer but now we are rethinking this approach.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoma
    we do not even have the source code for the GPL code. it is merely a stand along application that we use for pdf printing. we were originally going to have our installshield launch their installer but now we are rethinking this approach.
    Ok. I'm confused. What are you using that's licensed under the GPL?
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    we are using a software called ghostscript which is licensed under the GPL. we do not have the source code nor have we changed anything in the application. we make a different application and we were thinking of shipping ghostscript along with it for PDF writing.
    our installshield installer was going to launch the ghostscript installer to make sure that it was launched on all machines. but we would in essence be distributing it along with our product.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoma
    we are using a software called ghostscript which is licensed under the GPL. we do not have the source code nor have we changed anything in the application. we make a different application and we were thinking of shipping ghostscript along with it for PDF writing.
    our installshield installer was going to launch the ghostscript installer to make sure that it was launched on all machines. but we would in essence be distributing it along with our product.
    Ok. So you want to distribute a binary of Ghostscript along with your application, but have separate installers (aside from the fact that your installer would launch the one for Ghostscript)? I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds like it would be fine. It's pretty much no different than SuSE distributing Java VMs or copies of SoftMaker's programs along with its (otherwise) GPL-licensed distribution of Linux.

    As long as you've not modified the code or the installer for Ghostscript (which should have the appropriate GPL click-through license agreement), I think you're in the clear.... but don't quote me on that.
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    thanks for the help.

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