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

Alan Evans <>
Fri Apr 13 15:57:11 CEST 2012

Thanks Ulf for steering the conversation back.

I think it's generally understood that the licensing of the Erlang/OTP
is unaffected by licenses placed on any Erlang modules that 'Joe
Public' may write and distribute.

My question refers to the code that I have written. Is there a
generally recognized mechanism to incorporate GPL'd code into my
project without  then having to release my code as GPL.

My understanding is as long as I don't link my code directly with the
GPL'd code then I can distribute the work under separate licenses. The
GPL part will stay GPL, any fixes and features that I add to the GPL'd
code will also be GPL'd but I'm free to license my other code as I

I would think keeping the code on separate Erlang nodes (which could
be 2 separate machines) should be enough to show that the work is
separate, but has there been a precedent set already?


On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 1:38 PM, 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

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