Licence question regarding the delivery of Cygwin binaries

Brian Inglis
Fri Mar 29 15:58:00 GMT 2019


You might want to look at what other vendors have done to make available open
sourced components e.g. Rakuten Kobo ereaders at

This contains the open source tree of their development sources to which they
link in all their devices and apps from Settings/Warranty and Legal, and under
which they then list the text of one copy of each of all applicable open source

You may find similar approaches used in apps and embedded devices built using
open source components if you look in the documentation for those you have.

You may be able to find more advice at

Once you have an approach, and maybe also a repository, with component build
instructions, contact them directly for a compliance check and advice.

Do this before you distribute anything, as getting into compliance after
breaching a licence requires more effort than being compliant.

You may find more useful information in:

and the associated website as well as

These orgs are more interested in ensuring vendors are compliant by following
community guidelines than enforcing compliance with legal threats and lawsuits,
although they are prepared to do so and successful in doing so.


Cygwin builds and instructions can be abbreviated using Cygwin setup to install
all Base packages, plus cygport and its dependencies and your required package
sources, and using cygport to build your required packages.

For Cygwin licensed components which are packages, the following command should
show all applicable licences for all installed packages:

	$ ls /usr/share/doc/**/*{COPYING,LI[CS]EN[CS]E}*

although for a selection of packages you may want to be more specific and
thorough using the find utility on selected package doc or src directories.

Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This email may be disturbing to some readers as it contains
too much technical detail. Reader discretion is advised.

On 2019-03-29 07:46, Busch, Ciske wrote:
> Corinna,
> unfortunately you confirmed what I suspected. But thank you very much for your quick answer. 
> Have a nice weekend! 
> Ciske
> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: Corinna Vinschen [] 
> Gesendet: Freitag, 29. März 2019 14:41
> An: Busch, Ciske <>
> Cc:
> Betreff: Re: Licence question regarding the delivery of Cygqin binaries
> On Mar 29 12:11, Busch, Ciske wrote:
>> Hi,
>> (I used this email as suggested (in a rather old) forum post from 
>> Corinna Vinschen. If this is not the right address I would be very 
>> thankful if you could point me to another address.)
>> we have ported an older application from Linux to Windows and plan on 
>> using this in a commercial release. Due to the nature of the older 
>> application the Windows port uses tools from the Cygwin project which 
>> are called either from code or using shell scripts - we do not link 
>> either the Cygwin.dll nor any of the tools. You will find examples for 
>> scripts and the list of binaries used below. We do not plan on making 
>> our application available as open source.
>> Our understanding regarding licensing is that as long as we do not 
>> link any part of the Cygwin distribution we are free to use them 
>> without implications for our own software.
>> However we are not allowed to include the Cygwin binaries within the 
>> installer of our application - which is a problem for us as we need to 
>> have control over the versions our end users have installed.
>> So my question is: is there a way for us to acquire a license which would allow us to "bundle" the required Cygwin components with our software?
> The Cygwin DLL itself is LGPLv3+.  The tools part of the Cygwin build itself are GPLv3+.  All other Open Source tools not covered by the Cygwin license retain their respective license.  Most of the licenses require you, the vendor, to provide the source code of these tools under the conditions of their respective license to your customers.  Some licenses also require to add license information to your documentation.
> There is no bundle licensing available!
> Ideally you should add the sources of all Open Source software part of your commercial offering to your software package, as well as adding the OSS licensing information for all packages to your documentation.
> However, you should really check your licensing situation with a lawyer skilled in sofware licensing issues.  Naturally we can't give you any viable advice in terms of licensing compliant behaviour here.

Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This email may be disturbing to some readers as it contains
too much technical detail. Reader discretion is advised.

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