Support #7423

Alpine License information

Added by Justin Garrison almost 2 years ago. Updated about 1 year ago.

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Please provide license information about how Alpine is distributed. What are the allowed licenses for the base OS (kernel and default packages) and what licenses are used when distributing applications developed by the Alpine Linux team.

If possible please also provide information about packages distributed through Alpine's package manager in the official repositories.

A public statement would be nice (similar to but an official comment or LICENSE file in the source code repositories should suffice.

Thank you


#1 Updated by Shiz ... almost 2 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Assigned

As per distribution policy, we only ship software licensed under OSI-approved licenses that conform to the open source definition: in the main, community and testing repositories: software that is freely redistributable and modifiable, among others. This includes software that is written for Alpine Linux, which is generally licensed either under the GPL2 or MIT licenses. The nonfree repository contains software under other licenses, but this repository is not activated by default and requires a user to build the packages themselves: we do not distribute binary packages for this repository. All of the licenses for software we package and ship can be looked up on

Some licensing highlights for the Alpine base system (packages installed by the alpine-base metapackage, plus the kernel):
- Linux: GPL2 (
- musl: MIT (
- busybox: GPL2 (
- OpenRC: BSD 2-clause (
- apk-tools: GPL2 (
- alpine-baselayout: GPL2 (,
- alpine-conf: MIT (,
- busybox-initscripts: GPL2 (

#2 Updated by TrashMacNugget - over 1 year ago

The aports tree still seems to lack license information. While the license for all programs installable, it is unclear what the license of the APKBUILD files themselves. I think the APKBUILDs would be eligible for copyright, so should be licensed.

#3 Updated by Jakub Jirutka over 1 year ago

  • Priority changed from Normal to High

I agree with TrashMacNugget; APKBUILDs, included runscripts and other files we or our contributors wrote are all subject of copyright law and we must clearly declare under which license we publish them. We should schedule this topic to some meeting. There are more and more people asking about this.

#4 Updated by TrashMacNugget - about 1 year ago

Any update on this? This is important to address because the longer it is put off, the harder it will be to get permission from contributors.

I would recommend MIT for APKBUILDS and other files, but that would of course be up to the Alpine team.

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