using Visual Basic in open source projects

Pimm Hogeling pimmhogeling at
Mon Jul 21 21:09:21 UTC 2008

Hello Pablo, has the following question in it's faq: "Can I write free
software that uses non-free libraries?", and the answer starts with
"If you do this, your program won't be fully usable in a free
environment. If your program depends on a non-free library to do a
certain job, it cannot do that job in the Free World. If it depends on
a non-free library to run at all, it cannot be part of a free
operating system such as GNU; it is entirely off limits to the Free
World." The rest of the answer can be found here:

Also, when looking for the "most open" license you should check out
the X11/MIT license.

Hope this helps.

Pimm Hogeling

2008/7/21 Pablo Dotro <pdotro at>:
> Greetings,
> I am aware that this is very probably an off topic subject, I will gladly accept any suggestions as to where to properly ask this question ;-)
> I work as technician at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (University of Buenos Aires, in Argentina), in charge of IT services for the Physics Dept. teaching labs (at the Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, FCEyN).
> We are about to start a project that includes developing a ton of data adquisiton and data anlysis software to replace some very old utilities that were traditionally used in some of the regular experiments the students perform.
> They are currently written in QuickBasic for DOS, in a mix-up of sample code from equipment manufacturers and old student and staff contributions accumulated along the years. Since most original authors are uncredited, and some of the code is in really bad shape, we are "clearing the board" and starting again from ground zero.
> One of the premises of the project is that we are to chose the "most open" licensing scheme we can find.
> Now most of our coding experience is in Visual Basic 6, and we have very little experience in creating open source software.
> We are using the standard controls shipped with VB6, and some freely available (in binary form) ActiveX controls. Is it still possible to release our code under a free and open source license, even when it depends on the use of third party libraries and controls that are closed source? anyone has experience in doing this?
> I understand that I need to get a lawyer for proper legal advise, but I would like to start with at least some information before being able to convince our management to get proper legal counsel involved in this.
> Thanks in advance,
> --
> Pablo M. Dotro
> pdotro at
> Encargado de Servicios Informáticos
> Laboratorios de Enseñanza
> D. Física - FCEyN - UBA

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