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According to the FSF, "The GPL does not require you to release your modified version or any part of it. You are free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing them."[64] However, if one releases a GPL-licensed entity to the public, there is an issue regarding linking: namely, whether a proprietary program that uses a GPL library is in violation of the GPL.

This key dispute is whether non-GPL software can legally statically link or dynamically link to GPL libraries

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The Free Software Foundation (which holds the copyright of several notable GPL-licensed software products and of the license text itself) asserts that an executable that uses a dynamically linked library is indeed a derivative work. This does not, however, apply to separate programs communicating with one another.[65]

The Free Software Foundation also created the LGPL, which is nearly identical to the GPL, but with additional permissions to allow linking for the purposes of "using the library". 

see also

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Affero and GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) extend the restriction to software that runs on network. From

[AGPL ]It is intended for software designed to be run over a network, adding a provision requiring that the corresponding source code of modified versions of the software be prominently offered to all users who interact with the software over a network.[6]

See also:

  • license compatibility graphs:

  • compatibility checker: