[Xapian-discuss] Question regarding the GPL license for Xapian

James Aylett james-xapian at tartarus.org
Wed Aug 10 15:54:34 BST 2005

On Mon, Aug 08, 2005 at 03:56:18AM -0400, Basil Abbas wrote:

> I'm currently working on a commercial product for information
> sharing, three months ago I made a search for a good search engine
> and decided to use the Xapian engine. However, at that time I was
> missing what GPL really means and the 'viral' aspect of the GPL
> license never came to me until recently when a friend told me. This
> means for my product to stay commerical I'll have to switch to
> another search engine with a lesser license, which will take me lots
> of extra time since I'll have to re-write the indexer and search
> parts of my product.
> My product is a full web-application (in PHP) with an extra PHP
> extension writtern to interface with the xapian search and indexes
> created by Xapian from the MySQL database which is run on regular
> intervals.  Is there another way to keep my product commercial and
> at the same time use Xapian as the main search engine ?

Depends what you mean by 'commercial'. If you're offering a commercial
service, you don't need to distribute your code, and the GPL viral
clause is irrelevant. If you are distributing, you can distribute
commercial products under the GPL, and many companies do.

I think that current thinking is that if you separate a program into
communicating executables, the GPL doesn't apply across the
application boundary. You would have to consult a lawyer to be
certain, however, but of course you need to do that anyway.


  James Aylett                                                  xapian.org
  james at tartarus.org                               uncertaintydivision.org

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