GPL + Commercial Exceptions

David Johnson david at
Fri Jul 6 04:11:08 UTC 2001

On Thursday 05 July 2001 08:52 pm, Paul Cody Johnston wrote:
> I have written some software licensed under the GPL and have also had
> some external interest in commercial licensing.  The entire
> application is under the same copyright, namely, myself.
> What are the procedures and issues involved in making commercial
> exceptions to GPL code?  Are there any templates or guidelines out
> there that people know of?  Has anyone actually done this?

Hopefully I've understood what you're asking. If I end up making false 
assumptions, let me know...

It really depends upon the nature of your software. If it is an end-user 
application, then using only the GPL is sufficient. Commercial entities are 
still able to use your software with no problems whatsoever. No need to 
separately license it for them.

If it is a library, or code that is in normally modified or distributed by 
the end user, then the I would suggest offering it under two separate 
licenses. The GPL is sufficient for users creating other GPLd works from 
yours. For closed source developers, offer a standard commercial license for 
a fee (there's no point without a fee) that allows proprietary modifications. 
A good example of someone doing this is Trolltech with their Qt library. It's 
Open Source if you use it to create other Open Source software, but to create 
closed source software you need to purchase the commercial license.

David Johnson

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