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GSAP License compatibility

Warning: Please note

This thread was started before GSAP 3 was released. Some information, especially the syntax, may be out of date for GSAP 3. Please see the GSAP 3 migration guide and release notes for more information about how to update the code to GSAP 3's syntax. 

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I'm developing a WordPress plugin that I would like to include GSAP in for animating elements. I would like to list my plugin in the WordPress.org plugin directory. One of the requirements for listing a plugin in the WordPress plugin directory is that all files utilized in the plugin need to be compatible with the GNU General Public License v2 or later.


Are any of the GSAP licenses compatible with GNU General Public License v2 or later?


The reason I ask is because I have seen a couple of WordPress plugins using GSAP. But my interpretation of the GSAP license is that it is NOT compatible with the GNU General Public License v2 or later. It may be possible that those plugins just fell through the cracks when submitted to WordPress.


I'd like to figure this out before I start coding my plugin to avoid having to change to a different animation library later on.

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Welcome to the forums, @brainybiz


As far as GreenSock is concerned, we certainly don’t mind if you use the public tools (like TweenMax) in a theme as long as you’ve got the proper license (and if your theme is totally free, you wouldn't even need any special license from us). However, we can’t speak for WordPress or what they allow legally on their end. I’d recommend contacting them if you have questions about that. My understanding is that GPL is pretty tricky because it imposes some very strict (and in my opinion, burdensome) requirements that aren’t very business-friendly. I’m not a lawyer, so I very well could be wrong about this, but I believe the GPL infects everything it touches, meaning that if you use GPL software in your project, you MUST open source your entire project as well under GPL (which is why it can be very unattractive for businesses in competitive spaces).


According to https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#FSWithNFLibs it looks like it may not be compatible. GSAP is “free” in most cases (though of course NOT the bonus plugins) but since there’s a particular type of commercial usage that requires a paid license, it’s not 100% “free” in ALL cases. Again, none of these restrictions are imposed by us - if WordPress requires a GPL-compatible license, the restrictions are on their end. We encourage folks to use our tools as much as possible, including in themes. Over 8,000,000 sites use GSAP (and rising). We’re definitely not trying to be restrictive.  

I hope that helps. 


In case you haven't seen it already, I'd definitely recommend reading about the "why" behind our license here: https://greensock.com/why-license. We firmly believe our licensing model is ultimately a GOOD thing for end users like yourself. 


Thanks for asking about this - I appreciate your desire to do the right thing when it comes to the licensing. Let us know if you need anything else.


Happy tweening!

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