Apache license

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The Apache license is a free software license of the Apache Software Foundation recognized by the Free Software Foundation , but not a copyleft license.


The current version 2.0 was published in January 2004. It has been greatly expanded compared to the previous version 1.1. Because it is very long, the source text of the individual Apache projects no longer includes the entire text, but only a reference to the original license. The Apache license is recognized by the Free Software Foundation as a license for free software and is compatible with the GNU General Public License Version 3, but not Version 2.


In principle it includes:

  • Software can be used, modified and distributed freely in any environment under this license.
  • A copy of the license must be included in the package.
  • Changes to the source code of the software under the Apache license do not have to be sent back to the licensor.
  • Own software that uses software under the Apache license does not have to be under the Apache license.
  • Your own software may only be called Apache if the Apache Foundation has given written permission.

For version 1.1 the following also applies:

  • If they are distributed, it must be clearly stated which software was used under the Apache license and that this comes from the licensor ( name of copyright owner ).

Own works that are based on an original work under the Apache license version 2.0 must:

  • include a copy of the Apache license
  • in the case of modified files, indicate in a conspicuous place that they have been modified
  • retain all original copyright notices in their source form
  • if the original work contains a text file called "NOTICE", contain the copyright notices of the files used in a manner specified in the license.

GPL compatibility

The Apache Software Foundation and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) certify that the Apache License 2.0 is a free software license that is compatible with version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

However, the Free Software Foundation considers all versions of the Apache License (status: 2007) to be incompatible with the previous GPL versions 1 and 2. There is compatibility between the Apache version 2 and GPL version 3 license in the form that Apache 2- licensed code may be used in a GPL-3-licensed project, provided that the entire project is then placed under GPL version 3. According to the Apache Foundation, this is possible because the properties described in the Apache Version 2 license are a subset of those described in the GPL Version 3.

Important applications / works

The main products released under the Apache Software License include:


  • Malte Grützmacher: Open Source Software - BSD Copyright and Apache Software License - Copyright instead of copyleft -. In: The IT legal advisor. (ITRB) 2006, p. 108 ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Various Licenses and Comments about Them. Free Software Foundation, January 14, 2008; accessed January 30, 2008 .
  2. ^ GPLv3 Final Draft Rationale. Free Software Foundation, May 31, 2007; accessed June 14, 2007 .
  3. ^ Free Software Foundation: Licenses. January 14, 2008, accessed January 30, 2008 .
  4. Apache Software Foundation: Apache License v2.0 and GPL Compatibility. Retrieved January 30, 2008 .
  5. ^ Richard Stallman: Is Android really free software? - Google's smartphone code is often described as 'open' or 'free' - but when examined by the Free Software Foundation, it starts to look like something different. The Guardian , September 19, 2011, accessed on September 9, 2012 (English): “ The software of Android versions 1 and 2 was mostly developed by Google; Google released it under the Apache 2.0 license, which is a lax free software license without copyleft. [...] The version of Linux included in Android is not entirely free software, since it contains non-free "binary blobs" [...] Android is very different from the GNU / Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU. "