Hello, I am a newbie at open source software and I am looking for an answer to a question I have regarding rebranding and distributing open source software.
I would like to know if it is legally possible to do the following on a GPL license. Let’s use the image manipulating software GIMP (gimp.org) as an example. all of you should be familiar with it.
- I use the GIMP source code to add 1 unique new feature in the source code
- I make the source code available to the GIMP community, and to the users.
- I rebrand my version of GIMP to say “PING” and I clearly indicate that “PING” is powered by GIMP
- I distribute PING for free
If I do this, am I respecting the GPL license?
By renaming GIMP to PING, is there an issue about copyrights?

Your input would be gladly appreciated.

Rergards, Vincent

9 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by freddirkse

I think thats fine. I dont think you even need to add anything

take a look at centos.

They rebuild redhat linux from source code which redhat had to supply to comply with the gpl. However redhats lawyers werent happy so that had to remove all references to redhat and all redhat logos and not associate the name redhat with thier products. Thats why if you look at thier site redhat corp. is referred to as "a prominent north amerifcan linux vendor"

You must redistribuute it under the same licence.



5. Conveying Modified Source Versions.

You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

a) The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date.

b) The work must carry prominent notices stating that it is released under this License and any conditions added under section 7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to “keep intact all notices”.

c) You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.

d) If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must display Appropriate Legal Notices; however, if the Program has interactive interfaces that do not display Appropriate Legal Notices, your work need not make them do so.

A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.


I agree with jbennet but would like to add that perhaps your best bet would be to contact the GIMP community administrators and just double check with them. They may have specific requirements that you need to adhere to.


inder GPL the basic thing is you have to provide all the source code free. your own product you can even sell for money, as long as you show the code and keep the links to the original software intact.
but contacting the product-specific community is the best way to go


You have to ask permission from the authors and might have to share revenue with the authors, there are many vendors who provide support for open source projects.


under standart GPL you don't have to pay the authors anything, as long as you keep mentioning their authorship and keep the code open


under standart GPL you don't have to pay the authors anything, as long as you keep mentioning their authorship and keep the code open

I guess, the original poster wants to rebrand it and sell it, so in that case he needs to contact the owner of the open source.


I don't deal with desktop systems much. but if code is licensed under GPL, you can easily rebrand and sell it, having added or altered functionality. what you still need to do, is retain the mentioning of the original authors and the documentation, as well as publish the new or altered code. It's all there in the GPL.
jbennet posted the actual paragraph


Thank you for your insight. Some of the replies are a bit contradicting but it definitely provides some lights. A few points:

a) Some of you mentioned that I should contact the GIMP community leader and ask for his permission. That's a very good idea and it would indeed be ethical, but don't you think that if the software has a specific license is to make what you can and cant do clear?

b) Do you know any OPEN SOURCE specific forums / website where i could ask more of these type of questions?

shot to all of u :)


This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.