Ladybug Tools GPL interpretation

I just came across this formulation on the Ladybug tools website:

“It also means that companies developing capabilities on top of Ladybug Tools cannot limit the freedom clause of the GPL license for modification and redistribution of the code. In other words, any employee of such a company is free to share the new code back with the community and such a company cannot have a policy that prevents employees from distributing the new development."

This is not in line with my understanding of the GPL. The GPL only requires sharing you source if you distribute a derived work. Inside an organization I can't see there is a requirement as described. I think it's just a mistake - but I thought I'd ask here before I write to them - or are they here?



  • edited July 8

    What Blender says is: Blender+newcode/script will have the same license of Blender "if is published".

    I think the Ladybug team says more o less the same when they state "for modification and redistribution of the code." That means if the company's plan is distribution of the LadyBug+newcode (sales) then, they cannot prevent the free use of the LadyBug+newcode for employees. At the same time, I think they cannot ask for internal regulation in companies. Maybe it is a overlapping of areas.

  • edited July 8

    As soon as you publicly redistribute binary (commecrial or not), you are required to share code under the same GPL-x if source is GPL-x.
    So it does not apply to "for intenal use only" modfications in companies.

  • I think the quote makes sense. Sure, if you use it internally within Bob's company and don't redistribute, you don't need to share source. But the company cannot force you not to redistribute - you are free to redistribute (and therefore start sharing source) if you want to.

  • @stephen_l right, so as long as the changes are only seen and used internally, for example to generate project insights and flashy reports, then the GPL has no power. The employee contract wins and the employer cannot share the code. However if the code was AGPL and the software was presented as SAAS then it would need to be released under same terms. Correct?

    As it stands GPL+in house code can be presented as SAAS without triggering the GPL share alike requirement. Is that correct?

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