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-   -   GPL code vs my private source code???? (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/gpl-code-vs-my-private-source-code-864542/)

DennisC31 02-23-2011 09:49 AM

GPL code vs my private source code????
 
I have tried searching for this and I have come up with nearly complete answers.

I am writing a server based application that I plan to not sell, but to sell the right to connect to the server and use the application remotely via ssh.

I am using GPL code and libraries to write my application. For instance, I use ncurses, libpng, math.h, gcc, gcc++, and code::blocks.

Do I have to release MY source code in this case or can I keep it private?

If private, i will have to be more selective in the libraries i choose to use as I iwll need to pay for them.

And -- is there anything CLEAR in the GPL that supports the notion that I have to release vs not have to release?

corp769 02-23-2011 12:01 PM

What libraries are you using? If they are someone else's under the GPL, then you can not refer to your project as completely private, hence using GPL code.

Hangdog42 02-23-2011 03:15 PM

I think you're actually dealing with several licenses there. You need to investigate how each of those libraries are licensed before anyone could give a sensible answer. They are NOT all GPL, so until you've investigated the actual licenses, discussions about the GPL are useless. Also, just using gcc or gcc++ doesn't incur any obligation under the GPLv3.

DennisC31 02-24-2011 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hangdog42 (Post 4268922)
I think you're actually dealing with several licenses there. You need to investigate how each of those libraries are licensed before anyone could give a sensible answer. They are NOT all GPL, so until you've investigated the actual licenses, discussions about the GPL are useless. Also, just using gcc or gcc++ doesn't incur any obligation under the GPLv3.

This is the answer I feared. I am no lawyer so its tough digging through the licenses.

I am using libpng, libpng++ (a C++ wrapper for libpng that is absolutely freaking brilliant -- I even wrote the author fan mail), gcc++, codeblocks, vi, ncursesw, and a combination of CentOS and Ubuntu for development.

Keep in mind, the software i am writing is never, EVER going to be sold or released. It will run on a server and I plan on charging people to access that server. Sort of like a giant database of data which i maintain and I am writing an interface to that data using the above libraries.

I suppose I am OK not releasing my code since I am not selling the code, but use the code as just an interface and am charging people to ssh into a server where they will run the code and then see the results it produces as they answer questions and feed it data.

I am going to crack open the licenses associated with the above libraries and see if I can figure it out.

tredegar 02-24-2011 12:24 PM

IANAL but I don't see any problem here.

The OP is offering some sort of service, hosted on his server, with software written by himself, using linux tools.

As an example, perhaps if you login to his server and upload all your photos, he'll colour-balance them and remove "red-eye", then you can download your processed photos. For a price. Some people might like this service. Others will laugh, throw together a script and do it themselves.

He is not selling an application, he is selling the use of an application.

How is this different from saying "You can store files on my server [ a service ] but you'll have to pay me a subscription" ?

I am certain my ISP runs linux, but I pay them for using their servers for email, DNS etc.

Perhaps I have missed / misunderstood something, but I don't see a problem with what the OP suggests.

Hope this helps.

Hangdog42 02-24-2011 12:52 PM

I should definitely toss in the IANAL comment here as well, but tredegar is probably right. The GPL is a distribution license, not a use license, so until you start distributing stuff, it simply doesn't come into play. The other bit is that for things licensed under the LPGL, just using them doesn't incur any obligations either. The LPGL was developed largely to solve the questions around linking to libraries from proprietary code.

But do keep in mind that just using tools like Ubuntu, CentOS and/or gcc and the rest doesn't create any licensing obligations.

DennisC31 03-08-2011 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tredegar (Post 4269906)
IANAL but I don't see any problem here.

The OP is offering some sort of service, hosted on his server, with software written by himself, using linux tools.

As an example, perhaps if you login to his server and upload all your photos, he'll colour-balance them and remove "red-eye", then you can download your processed photos. For a price. Some people might like this service. Others will laugh, throw together a script and do it themselves.

He is not selling an application, he is selling the use of an application.

How is this different from saying "You can store files on my server [ a service ] but you'll have to pay me a subscription" ?

I am certain my ISP runs linux, but I pay them for using their servers for email, DNS etc.

Perhaps I have missed / misunderstood something, but I don't see a problem with what the OP suggests.

Hope this helps.

I swear, I love you guys! everyone here on this forum makes Linux doable and it's reminiscent of a 1990s tech room where the brains of a computer service company meet and work.

This is exactly the issue. I suppose a good similar illustrative question would be: "If *ville on facebook is using some sort of open source software on the back end, do they have to release the source code?". I am indeed writing an app I intend to sell the services of (sorry I can't be more detailed). but the red-eye example is spot on. This is exactly what I am doing.

My take on the LPGL is that it allows distribution and you only have to release /modified/ code. Ie. if i customize the png++ release I have to release that code, but not my code.

DennisC31 03-08-2011 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hangdog42 (Post 4269938)
I should definitely toss in the IANAL comment here as well, but tredegar is probably right. The GPL is a distribution license, not a use license, so until you start distributing stuff, it simply doesn't come into play. The other bit is that for things licensed under the LPGL, just using them doesn't incur any obligations either. The LPGL was developed largely to solve the questions around linking to libraries from proprietary code.

But do keep in mind that just using tools like Ubuntu, CentOS and/or gcc and the rest doesn't create any licensing obligations.

Same love out to you -- I swear, you guys make Linux doable for everyone and especially for closet hackers.

The code I am writing is something I have been doing in spare time for over a year now. I checked in my svn and my mouth hit the floor when I saw the original version of my code and the date associated with it.

I had a read of the LGPL and yes, linking to it seems to be perfectly OK - even in distributed and sold code. But if you link to a modified version I think whatever changes you made have to be released but not necessarily with the code or on the internet. Ie. produced upon demand.

And I think one of the things I forgot is I used to do a lot of identity management / cryptography stuff and they ALWAYS released their source code. As everyone knows, crypto is only good if the source is open.

Ugh I miss crypto. I could waste away digging through documentation and papers on different ways of handling trading information covertly.


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