Forums > MaxMSP

Appropriate license for releasing externals

Jul 19 2009 | 12:38 am

Hi list,

I’ve written some externals and I’d like to make them available for the public, but I don’t really know which license is the one that better fits my needs. I saw that some people use the GPL or the LGPL for releasing externals, but I also saw people using CC licenses or BSD or MIT licenses etc. (I actually don’t know too much about the differences between these, so sorry if some of the above mentioned ones are actually the same…)

I’m actually seeking for a license that allows my future users to include my externals in any of their own works (even non-free ones) AND which doesn’t force me to make the source code of my externals publicly available.

Thanks for any help,

Jul 20 2009 | 4:31 pm

i’m not a legal expert by any stretch, so take this with about a cup of salt…

i believe that all of the licenses you mentioned–GPL, LGPL, BSD, and MIT–are open source (i don’t think that CC applies to software development, just content like text, video, images, and music).

Jul 23 2009 | 9:21 am
$adam wrote on Sun, 19 July 2009 02:38
I’m actually seeking for a license that allows my future users to include my externals in any of their own works (even non-free ones) AND which doesn’t force me to make the source code of my externals publicly available.

As the typical open source licenses (GPL) require that the source is available, I’d suggest a simple creative commons license. You might want, that you are at least mentioned as the author, that would lead to the cc-by license:
I consider my patches being a creative work by the way, its not just code…Wink


Dec 03 2010 | 1:14 pm

Hi Maxers,

I wrote an external that is using fragments of a GPL-licensed third-party code to do some of its tasks. As I understand, this means that I must license my own external under GPL. However, I’m not sure that I can do so. This entry on the GPL-FAQ:

suggests me to think that you can’t license an external under GPL, since AFAIK Max is not using fork/exec to call the externals but actually is linking the externals dynamically. Although the mentioned GPL-FAQ suggests to add an exception to my license to be able to use it with Max, I’m not sure whether I could do so since the original code’s copyright doesn’t have this exception.

Is there a way to use GPL code in a Max third-party external?


Dec 03 2010 | 2:20 pm

Hi there, for your case, I think MIT style license would be the best option:

Dec 03 2010 | 11:42 pm

just use no license model.

it is simply not required to ensure your rights of i.p. – or the users right to
use it for what he likes to, it is just bureaucratic bullshit.

btw, among license models, any custom license model you might create
had the same legal relevance than one of the well known ones, so you can
also just create your own.


Dec 04 2010 | 5:50 pm


@Roman Thilenius: the problem is that I MUST use a license model, since I’m using GPL-licensed code in my external. If I wouldn’t use that code fragment, there would be no licensing problem, but unfortunately it is doing some stuff that would take me a long time to re-implement. On the other hand, if I plan to release my own external to the public domain, the GPL forces me to use their licensing model, otherwise I would be violating the GPL (used by the third-party code I’m using).

@pgk: thanks. Are you sure it is fine to publish a software containing GPL-licensed source code under an MIT license? I myself was thinking also about this option, but I just can’t find a guideline that would state that I have the right to do so. Could you please point me to some right direction?


Dec 04 2010 | 6:02 pm

I think that once you use GPL-licensed code, your hands are tied. You need to release your source under the GPL, or strip out that code.

Dec 08 2010 | 12:25 pm

Ahh… You already have a GPL licensed part of code… :(

If it is not GPL, but LGPL, you can still link the libraries dynamically to your code, and have a license of your choice, otherwise:

Read what Richard Stallman say about MIT (Expat) license here:

So, it is GPL Compatible, but not sure about other intricacies (source code distribution etc…)
Presumably, all you need to do, in case of pure MIT, is point people to a place they can find the source for the portions used (e.g. the library’s website). In your case, I don’t know.


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Forums > MaxMSP