The Apache Software Foundation

Thank you for your interest in Apache!

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

Answers

Here are the detailed answers for each of the questions above.

Where can I find the Apache license?

The overriding license text (version 2.0) can be found online at

The older 1.1 version of the license can be found online at

The older 1.0 version of the license can be found online at

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).

See the preFAQ.

Why are the license files for the different Apache Software Foundation projects different?

The various project licenses differ from each other, and the master Apache Software Foundation license, only in terms of attribution requirements and the listing of marks. The basic terms are the same for all. In case of question or doubt, refer to the master license.

Is 'Apache' a trademark?

'Apache', 'Apache Software Foundation', the multicoloured feather, and the various Apache project names are trademarks of The Apache Software Foundation, and are usable by others only with permission. References to any of them must be acknowledged with text resembling, 'Apache is a trademark of The Apache Software Foundation, and is used with permission.' This is not necessary in the case of all-inclusive attribution language such as, 'All marks are the properties of their respective owners.'

Is software from The Apache Software Foundation free?

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?

The ASF has not registered ECNs for any of the software that is developed and distributed under the ASF license. If a vendor is choosing to distribute ASF software, then it is their responsibility to get whatever licenses, or other blessings needed for their application. See the following from our license:

* THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED ``AS IS'' AND ANY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED
* WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES
* OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE
* DISCLAIMED.  IN NO EVENT SHALL THE APACHE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION OR
* ITS CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
* SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT
* LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF
* USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND
* ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY,
* OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT
* OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF
* SUCH DAMAGE.
    

Can I get Apache software on a CD-ROM?

The Apache Software Foundation only provides its software through online download mechanisms. However, any organisation is free and welcome to create a CD-ROM containing our packages and redistribute them that way for free or for fee -- subject to the terms of our license.

May I include Apache software or documentation on a CD-ROM I'm making?

Yes, as long as you comply with the terms of the license. See the What does it MEAN section for help with interpretation.

May I license my own software under the Apache license?

Certainly. You will probably want to remove or change the parts that specifically refer to the Apache organisation. The license concepts are open to re-use.

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

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)?

It is the unofficial position of The Apache Software Foundation that the Apache license is compatible with the GPL. However, the Free Software Foundation holds a different position, although we have not been able to get them to give us categorical answers to our queries asking for details on just what aspects they consider incompatible.

Whether to mix software covered under these two different licenses must be a determination made by those attempting such a synthesis.

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:

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.