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

Torben Hoffmann <>
Fri Apr 13 15:50:52 CEST 2012

Ulf is absolutely right about the distribution requirements.

However, if you use GPLv3 code your own code has a very high risk of 
becoming GPLv3 - even if you have not modified the code, but merely 
calls it!

But it will only become so if you distribute the code. If your code is 
running on a server you control, i.e., you have not distributed it to 
anyone, then you have not distributed anything and your code is safe.


On 13/4/12 14:38 , Ulf Wiger wrote:
> 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.
> BR,
> 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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> Ulf Wiger, Co-founder&  Developer Advocate, Feuerlabs Inc.
> http://feuerlabs.com
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