Regarding ERPNext usage, modification and commercial use

Hello Team,

I came across the open source product ERPNext in a blog recently.
I started exploring the product and found this quite useful and very well organized.
Have also gone through the license which is a GPL v3 license.

I want to use this beautiful product from Frappe but have some queries regarding the same although I have gone through the license.
Basically till now I have forked the ERPNext repo in my github account.

I understand that I can modify/customize the ERPNext as required and as per needs as per the license.
But need to understand the below queries:

  1. Is there any kind of constraint/obligation to rebrand the product logo, product name, etc and redistribute?
  2. Is there any issue if I use this product for commercial use?
  3. Is it possible to charge fees for service of the rebranded product?


1 Like

Before you go any further, you might consider educating yourself about the philosophy and design of the GPL. There are countless resources for this, but would be a good place to start:


@peterg has given the best answer, but I’ll try to give some basic responses to your questions.

I am not a lawyer, I am not part of the FSF or ERPNext. I’m just some dude on the internet, so take this for what it is worth.

  1. If you abide by the GPL, generally selling something under a different name is ok. Sometimes copyrights or trademarks on the name/logo/etc. will require that you do not distribute those items. (This is why CentOS is not RedHat and IceCat is not Firefox). That depends on what has been done with the project and I haven’t looked into it with ERPNext.

  2. and 3. The nature of the GPL is that it is ok for you to redistribute or even sell the product, as long as you always distribute it with the source code, including any changes you have made. It must also be published under the GPL. A true copyleft software can be used for commercial use.

The 4 freedoms of software:

  1. Freedom to run the program as you wish.
  2. Freedom to study the source code of the program and then change it so the program does what you wish.
  3. Freedom to help your neighbour. That’s the freedom to redistribute the exact copies of the software when you wish.
  4. Freedom to contribute to your community. That’s the freedom to distribute copies or modified versions when you wish.

My share ( bit OOT ), I am not a developer and also not involve in software business. But I have been using open source software since 2007.
In 2017, my classmate who run 3 outlet with geographical location spread 45 km in rural area. I have been living in small town in beautiful country Indonesia but Internet access is “kind of luxury”. My classmate start business in 2008 and order a kind of junky erp in 2010 with one outlet, when the another outlet opened. The system is deprecated. I wish to help her, so have been doing small research. I used odoo for 6 months and face bit trouble from internet I found ERPNext and fallen in love. Start poking and put ERPNext in 2017 the biz utilize Erpnext in 2018 and today still running well.

For Audience picturing. The set is : putting 1 server in an outlet, we built tower for wireless connections among the outlet ( spread within 45 km ), highest tower is 28 m. With bandwith by biznet and intranet setting up by a provider.

Thus the bundle of software is NOT the highest expense but play very critical role. Consider the role, I appreciate very much to frappe. I personally run shipping biz and decided to retire in 2015. Many of friends asked my to build a same network and system. I wish to use this Erpnext ( without rebranding ).

I wish to use Cloud-service, our big problem is No adequate internet connection in the area. 3 outlets, 47 employees, today they screaming and almost stop working when the system down. The dependence into a system became addict today.

Therefore even the Law is permitted, it is good to appreciate other’s intelectual assets and works. Reading long GPL rules, chapter etc and try to understand will be make me head ache. Take humanity philosophy, to appreciate each others, respect is glorious.

again, this is probably OOT but I wish to express, frappe is amazing foundation and ERPNext is solid and usable for small - medium biz. Deploying this software without license expense is amazing.