PDFCreator license


When PDFCreator will be a true free software? RedMon, used in PDFCreator, is now a free software. Its license is now GNU GPL since version 1.9. It's author, Russell Lang, decided to offer its work to the community, thank you very much Russell Lang.

So, I thought I could add PDFCreator to COMPILIBRE (http://compilibre.sourceforge.net) but now, I see that pdfforge.dll is under FairPlay License that is not a free software license. http://www.pdfforge.fr/content/license

Why releasing PDFCreator under a GNU GPL license if part of it is not really a free software? License of pdfforge.dll can't be changed?


that's great news that RedMon is now under the GPL. We have sent Russell several mails asking for that and never got an answer.

As RedMon was under the AFPL, the PDFCreator package always contained software that is placed under different licenses. The FairPlay license gives you pretty much rights except selling the software, which is about what was in the AFPL as well. This is also something to protect our users against the problem, that they buy PDFCreator on eBay and find out afterwards, that they could have downloaded it for free. We have many mails from users that are upset by that. So this is the reason why the pdfforge.dll is still under the FairPlay license. Also, the RedMon replacement we have created is placed under a Freeware license, that also forbids selling the software for just the same reasons.

kind regards,



The FairPlay license isn't a free software licence and isn't interesting. So, PDFCreator is not a free software license (as FSF definition) and isn't interesting. And you try to say everybody PDFCreator is under GPL license!! I think you don't understood what is really Free Software. I think you don't even respect the GPL license.


I don't understand what you mean with interesting... Do you have no interest in things not licensed as GPL?

I assume you have read the license page already, this explains this a little further. But as a short resume: PDFCreator is a software package containing of software that is released under a big number of licenses. AND: PDFCreator is a GUI application written in Visual Basic (I am afraid) which is released under the terms of the GPL. This does not have to conflict with each other. We also ship the VB runtime, install Windows printer drivers and such. All of that is not released under the terms of the GPL.

So we CAN'T claim the whole package is GPL. This is what I understand as respecting the GPL and Free Software. But the whole source code of PDFCreator is GPLed. BTW: the AFPL is not accredited by the FSF either.

kind regards,

Currently, PDFCreator (the package) does not meet the Free Software Foundation's Free Software Definition:


Or the Open Source Initiative's Open Source Definition:


Here is a list of at least 50 licenses that meet the defintion of the later in addition to the GPL:


I expect the original poster would also be happy with any of these.

Can you please include the VB runtime license in the next release as well?  It seems to be missing from the 1.5.0 installer.

It seems like what you are doing is frowned upon if not an outright violation of the GPL.


I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary system. Can I do this? (#GPLInProprietarySystem)

You cannot incorporate GPL-covered software in a proprietary system. The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If you could incorporate GPL-covered software into a non-free system, it would have the effect of making the GPL-covered software non-free too.

A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who get the software get the freedom they should have, and to encourage people to give back improvements that they make.

However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered software alongside your proprietary system. To do this validly, you must make sure that the free and non-free programs communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in a way that would make them effectively a single program.

The difference between this and “incorporating” the GPL-covered software is partly a matter of substance and partly form. The substantive part is this: if the two programs are combined so that they become effectively two parts of one program, then you can't treat them as two separate programs. So the GPL has to cover the whole thing.

If the two programs remain well separated, like the compiler and the kernel, or like an editor and a shell, then you can treat them as two separate programs—but you have to do it properly. The issue is simply one of form: how you describe what you are doing. Why do we care about this? Because we want to make sure the users clearly understand the free status of the GPL-covered software in the collection.

If people were to distribute GPL-covered software calling it “part of” a system that users know is partly proprietary, users might be uncertain of their rights regarding the GPL-covered software. But if they know that what they have received is a free program plus another program, side by side, their rights will be clear.

Actually, PDFCreator (the package) is in violation of the GPL according to the authors of Ghostscript:

"If your application (including its source code) is not licensed to the public under the GNU GPL, you are not authorized to ship GPL Ghostscript or GPL MuPDF with your application... you MUST first obtain a commercial license from Artifex."


CC Free PDF Converter seems to be more honest : http://www.cogniview.com/cc-free-pdf-converter

It's a real free software.

CC Free PDF Converter is slightly better, but not much.  I believe it is the closest thing to open source available for PDF conversion.  It uses XMLLite which not an open source license as defined by OSI and definitely not GPL compatible.  Same with Redmon, it appears to be using version 1.7 (same as PDFCreator) which is licensed under the ALADDIN FREE PUBLIC LICENCE, also not GPL compatible.  The installer also comes with some crapware called Razoss but it doesn't appear in the source code, so that is likely a GPL violation.  I also get the impression that it isn't really maintained anymore.

I think it's maintened because the last source code is from 2012-08.

The installer permits not to install Razoss, so it isn't a problem.

But I tested CC Free PDF on Windows 2003 server with Terminal Server and it crashed.

the GPL does not disallow packaging with non-GPL software. It disallows linking to it. As PDFCreator is set under the GPL, this is neither a problem nor a violation.

@Scoubidou: We do not require to install any advertised offers, they are always easy to deselect.

In April 15, 2015. I bought the license of PDFCreator Plus - Lifetime License. Now, I have not installed the software on any computer. Yesterday, I tried to install the software on my computer, but I get a message that says I don’t have licenses available. How can i solve this?