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GPL License / Intent when integrating with other applications

5 years 10 months ago #59378 by tacman1123
I'm trying to better understand the GPL license and intent. I've been working on a commercial web application that allows users to call a phone number and take a survey via an automated voice attendant (e.g. How many hours of sleep did you get last night?"). It integrates with a health-behaviors tracking system.

Since I loved Limesurvey's output routines (QueXML, R, SPSS, CSV etc.) and also liked the ability to design a survey interactively, I wrote my application to interact with the lime database (eg the surveys table and survey_xxxx output). I'm now looking at integrating the graphs and other output formats from my code, and am worried that the GPL will "infect" my code, forcing it to be also GPL.

Am I reading this correctly? Is this the intent of the copyright owners? At one point, there was an API to Limesurvey data and functions, that's not working now, but I believe it's for technical and not philosophical reasons.

This is not a question of me making changes to the Limesurvey code base and then re-branding and re-distributing it. My system uses limesurvey to create the surveys and view the output. If limesurvey were dual licenced under Apache, MIT or one of the more permissive copyrights, there would be no issue, but I'm concerned that the GPL will infect my code if a client needs me to install it somewhere other than my server. (As they might, since the client may be a health clinic who wants to keep the data in-house and possibly more secure, tied to other health records, etc.).

The GPL3 appears even more restrictive -- that if a website that integrates Limesurvey is even accessed, all the source code from that website must be made publicly available.

So I'm trying to understand both the license and the intent. Since there was an API at one point, I'm hoping that it is the copyright holder's intent to allow Limesurvey to be used and integrated with other systems, without requiring source disclosure. If that's the case, can it be clarified in some way?

Thank you, and again a thanks to all the developers who work on this, it really is a great piece of software.


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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #59390 by DenisChenu
If i don't make error and read good what you write, GPL licence don't affect your code.

1st : you use your own routine to take the information on the SQL database.
2nd : you don't distribute your application

GPL v3 was made after some GPL v2 problem : see

The important think : you have the freedom to modify the code, you have the freedom to distribute the code, but if you distribute the code, then you give the same right to other. Here , you don't distribute the code.

For the web site service : it's Affero GPL. LimeSUrvey aren't distribute under Affero GPL :).

PS: if i made some error, i'm sure Carsten correct me ;).

Assistance on LimeSurvey forum and LimeSurvey core development are on my free time.
I'm not a LimeSurvey GmbH member, professional service on demand (or search sondages pro).
Last Edit: 5 years 10 months ago by DenisChenu.

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