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

Ulf Wiger <>
Fri Apr 13 17:03:17 CEST 2012

Of course, the whole question of "linking" in regard to Erlang code is tricky. Strictly speaking, you do not "link" to the other application even if they run in the same node, but that is my erlang programmer's POV - a lawyer may be of a different opinion. Still, it seems to be the consequence of the sentence:

	This License explicitly affirms your unlimited permission to run the unmodified Program.

The Erlang VM allows you to run concurrent applications in their own (logical) memory space, without needing to perform any special linking or merging steps, other than telling the code loader where they can be found. In this, running Erlang applications is more akin to running user-space applications in Linux.

The way I read the part I snipped from the Affero license in question, especially in light of the above,

	...copy from or adapt all or part of the work
	in a fashion requiring copyright permission, other than the making of an
	exact copy

is that you are only making an exact copy and running it, as long as you do not change any files in the applications's source tree.

Here is a possibly related and enlightening exchange regarding the GPL and Linux:


Ulf W

On 13 Apr 2012, at 15:57, Alan Evans wrote:

> 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
> wish,
> 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?

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

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