[thelist] GNU / GPL

Phil Turmel pturmel-webdev at turmel.org
Wed Oct 24 07:25:54 CDT 2007

Fred Jones wrote:
> Can anyone confirm or deny what my clients lawyer says? He says that if 
> I create an EXE (to connect to our web site from his desktop) and I use 
> in the source code a package from SourceForge which has:
> License: GNU General Public License (GPL), GNU Library or Lesser General 
> Public License (LGPL)
> Then we can NOT sell the EXE because since we used the GNU/GPL software 
> (even just in the source code) we have to make the compiled EXE public 
> domain.
> Is this correct?
> Hershel

No.  There are two cases here:

GPL [1]


LGPL [2]

If you release software that includes a GPL component, then the 
whole package must be released as GPL (NOT public domain, they 
aren't the same), which basically means that you must deliver the 
source code to your software, either with each .exe package, or 
make it available in some suitable public way.  See [1] for 
details.  Note that you cannot charge for GPL software, other 
than copying costs.

If you release software that includes one or more LGPL 
components, but no GPL components, then you may commercially 
release the software, with some conditions.  See [2] for details. 
    Basically, you must release the LPGL component with its 
source code as you used it, as part of your package.  You must 
use the library in its DLL form, so that the (geeky) user can run 
your software with a modified DLL, and you can't put anything in 
your app that would prevent them from using a modified DLL.

Also, there are significant differences between (L)GPL v2 and 
(L)GPL v3, particularly in regards to encrypted or "keyed" software.

IANAL, so I suggest you get advice from a lawyer who has actually 
read the complete text of these licenses.


Phil Turmel

[1] http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl.html
[2] http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/lgpl.html

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