[gmx-users] Question concerning license

David van der Spoel spoel at xray.bmc.uu.se
Mon Mar 7 15:38:22 CET 2005

On Mon, 2005-03-07 at 09:23 -0500, Michael Clark wrote:
> Hello,
> I read through the license posted on the GROMACS website, and I saw a
> lot of language pertaining to individuals.  Specifically, I noticed
> that the license allows users to change the code and sell their code,
> provided that the customer is aware of the existence of the original
> software and is given the license text.  So there is obviously no
> problem with individuals receiving money for work they did with
> GROMACS software.
> I am interested in using GROMACS as part of a company, however.  The
> license does not mention anything about a company using this program
> for research.  The matter is further complicated because my company
> does research for other organizations for a fee.  As a result, my
> establishment will probably receive money in the future for research
> conducted with GROMACS.  While the spirit of the license suggests that
> this does not pose a problem, I do not want to risk an accidental
> violation, as that would make my company liable for infractions of the
> license.  Does anyone have any input for me?  By the way, my company
> is a non-profit organization, if that makes a difference.

IANAL, but:

You can take money for additions to the code and/or support of the code,
however additions and/or changes to the code must be made available to 
those who request it *under the same license* for a nominal fee (e.g.
cost of media which is not much in internet times).

A possibility for making money is by implementing special things on a
contract basis. However once the code is available, the gromacs team can
decide to incorporate it in the standard distribution and then it will
be harder to convince potential users to pay you.

David van der Spoel, PhD, Assoc. Prof., Molecular Biophysics group,
Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University.
Husargatan 3, Box 596,          75124 Uppsala, Sweden
phone:  46 18 471 4205          fax: 46 18 511 755
spoel at xray.bmc.uu.se    spoel at gromacs.org   http://xray.bmc.uu.se/~spoel

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