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Can I write a VB utility under the GPL?

Can I write and release an open source Windows VB utility based on the GPL? Since it is a Visual Basic application, would there be a conflict with Microsoft's terms?

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To the extent that someone wants to create and distribute software under a generic GPL and the software includes within it source code that is statutorily protected in the name of a third party, the GPL requires that the creator/distributor post in a conspicuous place the identity and other information about the owner of the proprietary code and specifically what that person owns. This notice is in addition to securing from each distributee an acknowledgement and acceptance of the terms of the GPL, in which there will be language imposing restrictions on further distribution of the protected code and prohibiting the sale or re-sale of the protected code without the owner's permission. While I believe that applications created using Visual Basic do not contain proprietary source code belonging to Microsoft, I do not know this for sure and do not have a copy of the Visual Basic user agreement in front of me. You would acquire a copy of this agreement in a box of VB or (presumably) at Microsoft's Web site if one were to order and download VB.

This was first published in September 2004

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