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

Alan Evans <>
Mon Apr 16 20:58:55 CEST 2012

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the summary, I think it sums up my feelings on this as well.

I already sent the author an email before posting this question.
Ideally I'd like to use his code with his permission either as you say
under a different license agreement or an acknowledgement that what
I'm proposing is acceptable to him.

I think I'll send him another email before I decide on the path I'm
going to take.


On Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 8:47 PM, Richard Carlsson
<> wrote:
> On 2012-04-13 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 :-)
> Erlang modules are dynamically linked to each other at run-time. The FSF
> considers this to be no different from static linkage, and Erlang is just
> like Java in this respect:
>  http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-java.html
> My interpretation (not a lawyer etc. etc.) is that the LGPL is
> straightforward to use with Erlang, but plain GPL requires that all other
> libraries that your application calls, directly or indirectly, must be GPL
> compatible. (V3 of the GPL makes an exception for "system libraries", so the
> Erlang/OTP standard libraries don't pose a problem.)
> Isolating the GPL code to a separate node is similar to other workarounds
> I've seen that run GPL code in a separate OS process from the main
> application. It lies within that gray area where it will probably hold in
> court but will make you feel dirty. A nicer way would of course be if you
> could get hold of the original authors of that library and ask them for a
> different license, possibly for a fee.
>   /Richard

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