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Re: gpl licensing

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: gpl licensing
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 15:48:48 +0100

On 1 Dec 2006 03:04:36 -0800
"miguelx6" <> wrote:

> I'm going to develop a project for public administration. They will be
> the users of this software, they are not going to sell it. After
> finishing the project, I have to deliver all the sources to them, so I
> will not own the sources after that. My question is, could I use gpl
> libraries? I am working for a company and they are going to pay us for
> this project, but, as I am delivering them all the sources, I suppose
> ther should be any problem.

It would depend on what the arrangement is between your company and the

I suppose that your company replied to a Call for Tenders, and that
this CfT contained a list of requirements. In order to arrive at a
price for the work, your company's commercial team would have asked
your or another developer to estimate the volume of the work. In this
estimate, the work represented by the GPLed libraries you want to use
should have been taken into consideration, and compared with the cost
of a commercial license of a comparable product (e.g. a database) or
the cost of developing them yourself. 

It should have been clear at that time whether the CfT allowed the use
of GPLed libraries or not. If not, and your company believed they could
gain a commercial advantage through the use of GPLed libraries, they
should have asked the Public Administration for an official
clarification. If they could be used, and your company decided to use
them, this should have been made clear in the Reply to the CfT. 

It thus all depends on whether your customer knows of, and agrees with
the use of these libraries. It is not something that you can decide for
yourself, as a developer. You need to consult with the commercial and
legal heads of your company. 

If you're working for a small outfit (meaning you might be the
technical, commercial and legal heads rolled in one), you should look
at the contract you have, and clarify the issue with your customer.

Take care,

Stefaan A Eeckels
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is run by smart people who are
putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.      --Mark Twain

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