This page answers most of the common queries that we receive about our license, licensing use of the software, and packaging or redistributing it.
Please check the following list to see if any of the descriptions match your situation. Each one is described in more detail in the following paragraphs.
Frequent Questions about Apache Licensing
If none of the above addresses your query, please check the resources at the bottom of this page for general information.
Here are the detailed answers for each of the questions above.
Where can I find the Apache license?
See the following links; 2.0 is the current version while 1.1 and 1.0 are older versions that the ASF no longer use:
Apache License 2.0: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.txt
Apache Software License 1.1: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-1.1.txt
Apache Software License 1.0: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-1.0.txt
I'm not a lawyer. What does it all MEAN?
Describing legal documents in non-legalese is fraught with potential for misinterpretation. Notwithstanding the text that follows, the actual text of the license itself is legally binding and authoritative.
That said, here's what the Apache license says in layman's terms:
It allows you to:
freely download and use Apache software, in whole or in part, for personal, company internal, or commercial purposes;
use Apache software in packages or distributions that you create.
It forbids you to:
redistribute any piece of Apache-originated software without proper attribution;
use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that the Foundation endorses your distribution;
use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that you created the Apache software in question.
It requires you to:
include a copy of the license in any redistribution you may make that includes Apache software;
provide clear attribution to The Apache Software Foundation for any distributions that include Apache software.
It does not require you to:
include the source of the Apache software itself, or of any modifications you may have made to it, in any redistribution you may assemble that includes it;
submit changes that you make to the software back to the Apache Software Foundation (though such feedback is encouraged).
If I'm using Apache software can I simply adhere to the Apache License 2.0, or do I have to also adhere to the Apache Software License versions 1.0 and 1.1?
It depends entirely on which versions of our software you are talking about - you should adhere to the version of our license that covered the software in question. It should be exceedingly rare to come across version 1.0, and all active products should have had a version released under the Apache License 2.0. Feel free to contact the relevant project if you are unable to find an AL 2.0 version of their software.
Why are the license files for the different Apache Software Foundation projects different?
While the core Apache developed code will be under one of the Apache licenses, other third party works may have been included and their license text may have been added to the Apache projects' LICENSE or NOTICE files. Alternatively, they may be available separately.
Is 'Apache' a trademark?
'Apache', 'Apache Software Foundation', the multicoloured feather, and the various Apache project names and logos are trademarks of The Apache Software Foundation, and are usable by others only with express permission from the ASF. Please see our Trademark Policy for more details.
Is software from The Apache Software Foundation free of charge?
Yes. All software developed by all projects of The Apache Software Foundation is freely available without charge from the Foundation's Web sites. This is specified in the Foundation's Articles of Incorporation.
Is there a fee for using Apache software in a commercial product?
No. We do not distinguish between personal, internal, or commercial use of our software. Packaging and redistribution of any of it is subject to the terms of our license , however.
What are the U.S. Export Classification Control Numbers (ECCNs) for the various Apache software packages?
Please see the ASF Exports Classifications and Source Links page.
May I license my own software under the Apache license?
Certainly. Version 2.0 of the license was designed to be reusable, and often has been reused by parties other than the ASF.
May I re-use (and modify) the ASF Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) for my own purposes?
Yes, you are allowed to use and modify them. You just can't hold the ASF legally responsible if these documents are not exactly what you intend them to be. We recommend that you obtain your own legal advice so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
Also, if you adopt these agreements for your purposes, you have to make sure that the phrase 'Apache Software Foundation' or any confusingly similar references or parts that specifically refer to the Apache organisation do not appear in your version of the agreements (except to note that your version is derived and differs from the original provided by the ASF).
I've made improvements to the Apache code; may I distribute the modified result?
Absolutely -- subject to the terms of the Apache license, of course. You can give your modified code away for free, or sell it, or keep it to yourself, or whatever you like. Just remember that the original code is still covered by the Apache license and you must comply with its terms. Even if you change every single line of the Apache code you're using, the result is still based on the Foundation's licensed code. You may distribute the result under a different license, but you need to acknowledge the use of the Foundation's software. To do otherwise would be stealing.
If you think your changes would be found useful by others, though, we do encourage you to submit them to the appropriate Apache project for possible inclusion.
May I call my modified code 'Apache'?
In a word, no. You may, however, use phrasing such as 'based on Apache', 'powered by Apache', or 'based on Apache technology'. You must not use the Foundation's marks in any way that states or implies, or can be interpreted as stating or implying, that the final product is endorsed or created by the Apache Software Foundation. For example, it would be acceptable to use a name like 'SuperWonderServer powered by Apache', but never a name like 'Apache SuperWonderServer'. This is similar to the distinction between a product named 'Microsoft Burp' and 'Burp for Microsoft Windows'.
You may similarly identify the specific Foundation project whose code you're using, such as with 'based on Apache Xerces' or 'powered by Apache Tomcat technology'.
If you wish to use a name including any of the Foundation's marks, such as the word 'Apache', it's best to ask our permission first. Please see our Trademark Policy for more details.
I have made changes to an Apache package and I want to distribute them. Do I need to contribute them to the Apache Software Foundation?
No. You can keep your changes a secret if you like. Maybe your modifications are embarrassing, maybe you'll get rich selling those improvements. Whatever. But please seriously consider giving your changes back! We all benefit when you do.
May I translate the Apache license into my local language for my redistribution of Apache packages?
Yes, you may translate the license text into your local language. However , any such translated text is only for the convenience of understanding, and is not legally binding. Only the English-language version of the license, which you must continue to include in your packaging , is authoritative and applicable in case legal interpretation is required.
Is the Apache license compatible with the GPL (GNU Public License)?
From the Free Software Foundation website:
This is a free software license, compatible with version 3 of the GPL. Please note that this license is not compatible with GPL version 2, because it has some requirements that are not in the older version. These include certain patent termination and indemnification provisions.
What is the scope of patent grants made to the ASF?
This is a four part question:
- If I own a patent and contribute to a Work, and, at the time my contribution is included in that Work, none of my patent's claims are subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License, is there a way any of those claims would later become subject to the Grant of Patent License solely due to subsequent contributions by other parties who are not licensees of that patent.
- If at any time after my contribution, I am able to license other patent claims that would have been subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License if they were licenseable by me at the time of my contribution, do those other claims become subject to the Grant of Patent License?
- If I own or control a licensable patent and contribute code to a specific Apache product, which of my patent claims are subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License?
- The only patent claims that are licensed to the ASF are those you own or have the right to license that read on your contribution or on the combination of your contribution with the specific Apache product to which you contributed as it existed at the time of your contribution. No additional patent claims become licensed as a result of subsequent combinations of your contribution with any other software. Note, however, that licensable patent claims include those that you acquire in the future, as long as they read on your original contribution as made at the original time. Once a patent claim is subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License, it is licensed under the terms of that Grant to the ASF and to recipients of any software distributed by the ASF for any Apache software product whatsoever.
- What is an Apache product?
- An Apache product is a body of software being developed by the ASF that the ASF intends to both alter and to publish as a separate line of releases.
Another Place to Look
If you have questions about The Apache Software Foundation, its projects, or its software, we recommend the following link for more information or assistance:
- The Foundation pre-FAQ: Contact Apache FAQ
If you have a question specifically about the Apache license or distribution of Apache software, and it has not been answered by this page, you may send a message to <human-response@Apache.Org> requesting clarification. Note: If you send a question that is answered by the information on this page your message may be IGNORED.