[erlang-questions] Is there an accepted way of including GPL code in a project?

Ulf Wiger <>
Fri Apr 13 14:38:45 CEST 2012

You cannot affect the license of Erlang/OTP, since you are not the copyright owner.

(As an example, ejabberd is GPL, but that doesn't affect the Erlang/OTP license, or their right to use it).

The thing to worry about is what happens to _your_ code when you bundle it with GPL:d libraries.

If your code is a extends or modifies the GPL:d code, and you distribute it, you must also distribute the source code as GPL.

In any case, the operative sentence in the Affero GPL license ought to be:

	To "modify" a work means to copy from or adapt all or part of the work
	in a fashion requiring copyright permission, other than the making of an
	exact copy.  The resulting work is called a "modified version" of the
	earlier work or a work "based on" the earlier work.

That is, unless you modify or extend the GPL:d code in a way that would require copyright permission, _and_ distribute the executables, you are also obligated to distribute the modified code under GPL, e.g. by pushing your fork of it to github or equivalent.

Merely using it, as an unmodified OTP application, should not be a problem.

Ulf W

On 13 Apr 2012, at 11:57, Alan Evans wrote:

> Hello list,
> I'm thinking about using some GPL code in a project I'm working on.
> Namely the SIGTRAN stack from the osmocom project
> (http://cgit.osmocom.org/cgit/erlang)
> Is there a recognized way to incorporate GPL code in an erlang project
> without making the whole project subject to the GPL license?
> I haven't yet decided whether or not to make my project open source.
> My thinking is that if I isolate all the GPL code to a particular
> Erlang node then only the modules running on that node need to be GPL
> or GPL compatible, I am free to license the modules running on the
> other nodes any way I wish.
> Any thoughts? Other than the obvious "ask a lawyer" response :-)
> Thanks in advance
> AlanE.
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> http://erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions

Ulf Wiger, Co-founder & Developer Advocate, Feuerlabs Inc.

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