List of formerly proprietary software

This is a list of notable software packages which were published under a proprietary software license but later released as free and open-source software, or into the public domain.

In some cases, the company continues to publish proprietary releases alongside the non-proprietary version.

List of formerly proprietary and closed-source software
Title Original release Relicensed release Initial free relicense Notes
3D Movie Maker 1995 2022 MIT The source code and assets for entire program (minus fonts) was uploaded to GitHub on May 4, 2022, under the MIT License.
Adobe Flex 2004 2007 MPL-1.1 Since renamed to Apache Flex and changed to Apache-2.0
AdvFS 1990s 2008 GPL-2.0-only HP opened up AdvFS from Tru64 UNIX.
AOLserver 1999 GPL / modified MPL
Apache Derby 1996 2004 Apache-2.0 Relational database management system originally called Cloudscape; released as free and open-source software by IBM in 2004 and donated to the Apache Software Foundation
Apache Wave 2009 2009 Apache-2.0 Formerly Google Wave.
Apus Game Engine 2008 2020 BSD-3-Clause Released to the public by the developer after reaching a Patreon goal. The source code for Astral Heroes (one of the games using the engine) was released to patrons.
Astrolog 1991 2015 GPL-2.0-or-later / custom permissive Has always been freeware and open source, but had a custom attribution demanding permissive license.
Atom 2014 2014 MIT
BASIC Computer Games 1973 2021 Public-domain software (Unlicense) On December 31, 2021, Jeff Atwood published an updated version of the 101 games included in the original BASIC Computer Games on GitHub under the Unlicense, with permission of David H. Ahl. On June 15, 2022, Ahl formally released everything he had ever written or edited, from prose to software, into the public domain; which includes titles like More BASIC Computer Games and BASIC Computer Adventures.
BDS C Compiler 1979 2002 Public domain Released by author
BitKeeper 2000 2016 Apache-2.0
Bitstream Vera (font) 2003 custom Through the efforts of Bitstream and the GNOME Foundation
Blades of Exile 1997 2007 CPL-1.0 Relicensed to the GPL-2.0-only at some point between 14 May 2007 and 12 June 2007.
Blender 1996 2003 GPL-2.0-or-later
BlitzBASIC (Blitz3D, BlitzPlus, BlitzMax) 2001 2014 Zlib BlitzPlus was released as Open Source on 28 April 2014 under the Zlib license on github.com. Blitz3D follow on 3 August 2014. BlitzMax was open sourced on 21 September 2015.
BRender 1995 2022 MIT Source code for 1997 and 1998 versions released under the MIT License on GitHub on May 3, 2022. The source code for 3D Movie Maker, a computer program using the engine was also released under the same license.
C-Dogs 1999 2002–2016 Public-domain software/CC BY 3.0 Source code released to the public on February 13, 2002, under a public-domain-equivalent license. The graphics were re-licensed to the CC BY 3.0 license on April 13, 2016.
Cafu Engine 2000 2009 GPL-3.0-or-later Originally released under the GPL-3.0-or-later license (with an option for a commercial license), in 2016 was re-licensed under the MIT license.
Catacomb 1989 2014 GPL-2.0-or-later
Catacomb II 1991 2014 GPL-2.0-or-later
Catacomb Abyss 1992 2014 GPL-2.0-or-later
Catacomb Armageddon 1992 2014 GPL-2.0-or-later
Catacomb 3D 1991 2014 GPL-2.0-or-later
C*Base 1980s 2003 GPL-2.0-or-later
Cemu 2015 2022 MPL-2.0 Source code released under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 on August 24, 2022.
CDE 1993 2012 LGPL-2.0-or-later
ChakraCore 2009 2016 MIT On 13 January 2016 Microsoft released ChakraCore under the MIT license on GitHub. ChakraCore is essentially the same as the Chakra engine that powers the Microsoft Edge browser, but with platform-agnostic bindings, i.e. without the specific interfaces utilised within the Windows Universal App platform.
CMU Sphinx 2000 Custom BSD-style license
CodeXL 2016 MIT
Coherent 1980 2015 BSD-3-Clause
CP/M family 1974 1997, 2001, 2014
CuneiForm 1993 2008 BSD-3-Clause Optical character recognition software
Dagor Engine 2003 2023 BSD-3-Clause Gaijin Entertainment's in-house game engine was quietly released on GitHub under a BSD license in 2023; this open-source release will be used as the base for VK's Nau Engine.
Dink Smallwood 1998 2003 zlib-like Some game data (e.g. sounds) not released under a free license.
DOS.MASTER end 1980s 2000 public domain software DOS.MASTER is a program for Apple II computers which allows Apple DOS 3.3 programs to be placed on a hard drive or 3.5-inch floppy disk and run from ProDOS. Written by Glen Bredon as a commercial program during the late 1980s, it was released into the public domain by his family after the author's death.
Duke Nukem 3D 1996 2003 GPL-2.0-or-later Game code only, no data, no engine.
Etherpad 2008 2009 Apache-2.0 Open sourced after being purchased by Google
Extensible Storage Engine 1994 2021 MIT Formerly known as JET Blue
Falcon 2007 GPL
FAR Manager 1996 2007 BSD-3-Clause Version 2.0 released as open source.
File Manager (Windows) 1990 April 2018 MIT On 6 April 2018, Microsoft released binaries and the source code, licensed under the MIT license, for an improved version of File Manager able to be run on Windows 10. This version included changes such as the ability to compile in modern versions of Visual Studio, the ability to compile as a 64-bit application, and numerous usability improvements.
Fish Fillets 1998 2002 GPL-2.0-or-later
Free Download Manager 2003 2007 GPL-3.0-only Free since version 2.5
FoundationDB 2013 2018 Apache-2.0 Apple Inc. acquired the founding company in March 2015 and discontinued downloads of the software. In April 2018, Apple open-sourced the database and resumed downloads.
Game-Maker 1991 2014 MIT After some consultation with the user base, on 12 July 2014 original coder Andy Stone released the Game-Maker 3.0 source code on GitHub, under the MIT license.
GGPO 2006 2019 MIT On 9 October 2019 Cannon announced on his Twitter account that GGPO was now open source and available under the MIT license.
Ghostery 2010 2018 MPL-2.0 Cliqz GmbH acquired Ghostery from Evidon, Inc. in February 2017. Ghostery's software was open-sourced on 8 March 2018.
GEM family 1985 1999 GPL Development continued as OpenGEM and FreeGEM.
Gentium (font) 2002 2005 OFL Through the efforts of SIL International
Gigablast 2000 2013 Apache-2.0
Glitch 2011 2013 CC0 After Glitch was officially shut down on 9 December 2012, the artwork and most of the source code was released under the CC0 license on 18 November 2013. On 9 December 2014, a fan project to relaunch Glitch under the name Eleven began alpha testing.
GLX 1990s 2008 SGI FreeB License
GW-BASIC 1983 2020 MIT
Haaf's Game Engine 2004 2005 LGPL-2.0 Originally released under the LPGL-2.0 license on 25 November 2005, the following year it was re-licensed under the Zlib license. On 7 August 2011, the source code used for the Mac OS X and Linux ports of Hammerfight was also released.
Hovertank 3D 1991 2014 GPL-2.0-or-later
ILWIS 1988 2007 GPL-2.0-only Released as free and open-source software by ITC
id Tech 1 1993 1999 GPL-2.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Doom. Originally released under a restrictive license on 23 December 1997. The sources for Heretic and Hexen: Beyond Heretic (other two games using the Doom engine) were released under the GPL-2.0-only license. The source code for the Atari Jaguar version of Doom was released under the non-free Doom Source License. The source code for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer port of Doom was released under the MIT License.
id Tech 2 1996 1999 GPL-2.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Quake. The map sources were also released under the GPL in 2006.[citation needed] In 2000 the source for Hexen II (another game using the id Tech 2 engine) was released under the GPL-2.0-only license.
id Tech 2.5 1997 2001 GPL-2.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Quake II.
id Tech 3 1999 2005 GPL-2.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Quake III Arena. The source code for other id Tech 3 games, such as Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy was also released.
id Tech 3.5 2001 2010 GPL-3.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.
id Tech 4 2004 2011 GPL-3.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Doom 3. Changes to the code had to be made to avoid use of the patented Carmack's Reverse.
id Tech 4.5 2012 2012 GPL-3.0-or-later The released version is the source code to Doom 3: BFG Edition.
Impulse Tracker 1995 2014 BSD-3-Clause Jeffrey Lim released the source code to Impulse Tracker as part of its 20th anniversary, with the main source code released on October 19 and sound driver source code released on December 25.
Inform 1993 2022 Artistic-2.0 Source code for Inform 7 v10.1.0 released on GitHub under the Artistic-2.0 license on April 28, 2022.
JaikuEngine 2006 2009 Apache-2.0
Java 1995 2006–2007 GPL-2.0-only On 13 November 2006, Sun Microsystems released much of Java as free software under the terms of the GPL-2.0-only license. On 8 May 2007 Sun finished the process, making all of Java's core code free and open-source, aside from a small portion of code to which Sun did not hold the copyright.
Jumper 2.0 2007 2008 GPL Publicly announced on 29 September 2008,
Komodo IDE 2000 2022 MPL-1.1 Open-sourced on December 8, 2022, by ActiveState due to variety of factors, including the deprecation of XUL and XULRunner and the market situation.
KornShell 1982 2000 custom; now CPL
Le Lisp 1981 2020 BSD-2-Clause
LightZone 2005 2012 BSD-3-Clause Company went out of business
Lugaru 2005 2010–2016 GPL-2.0-or-later/CC BY-SA 3.0 Source code released by Wolfire Games upon the success of the original Humble Indie Bundle under the GPL-2.0-or-later license. On November 21, 2016, all of the assets (including those of Lugaru HD) were released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Maelstrom 1992 1995–2010 GPL-2.0-or-later/CC BY 3.0 Source code for the Simple DirectMedia Layer Linux port by Sam Lantinga released under the GNU GPL v2 on December 7, 1999. On April 15, 2010, Andrew Welch and Ian Gilman allowed the assets to be re-licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Marathon 2: Durandal 1995 2000 GPL-2.0-or-later Only the code was released under the GPL-2.0-or-later license. Now known as Aleph One
Marathon Infinity 1996 2011 GPL-3.0-or-later
Mari0 2012 2018 MIT Developed using the LÖVE framework and originally available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, it was relicensed to the MIT license on September 29, 2018.
MiniPanzer and MegaPanzer GPL The source code of the programs was released under the GPL in 2009 by their author, who retained the copyright.
MINIX 1987 2000 BSD-3-Clause
Motif 1980s 2012 LGPL-2.1-or-later
Movable Type 2001 2007 GPL Weblog software
MP/M family 1979 1997, 2001
MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0 1982–1983 2018 MIT Originally uploaded by the Computer History Museum in 2014 under a non-commercial license, on 28 September 2018, Microsoft uploaded the source code to GitHub under the MIT license.
.NET Framework (most components) 2002 2014 MIT, Apache-2.0, BSD license Starting in 2014 Microsoft released most of their .NET ecosystem software (.NET Micro Framework, .NET Compiler Platform, ASP.NET, Entity Framework, NuGet etc.) under FOSS licenses and shifted the code to a GitHub repository.
NetBeans 1997 2007 GPL, CDDL An integrated development environment (IDE) for Java and other programming languages
Netscape Enterprise Server 2009 BSD Sun Microsystems open sourced it.
Netscape Navigator/Communicator 1994 1998 MPL See Mozilla
OpenGL sample implementation 1992 2008 SGI FreeB License Archived 2017-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
Open Sound System 1992 2007 GPL-2.0-only, CDDL-1.0
OpenWRT ? 2003 GPL As Linksys built the firmware for their WRT54G wireless router also from GPL'ed code, they were required to make the source code available in July 2003.
Performance Co-Pilot 1993 1999 GPL, LGPL
PhysX 2001 2018 BSD-3-Clause
Pinball Construction Set 1982–1983 2013 MIT Source code for the Atari 800 port was released by Bill Budge on 12 February 2013 upon the recovery by Electronic Arts of the original floppies containing the source code. On 24 February 2013, the source code for the original Apple II version was released.
Plan 9 from Bell Labs 1992/1995–2000 2021 MIT Applies to all the four original versions by Bell Labs. The first two editions were not released to the general public. The Third Edition was released in 2000 under the Plan 9 License, a license not approved by the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative. The Fourth Edition was released in 2002 under the LPL-1.02 license, a free and open-source software license, and relicensed to the GPL-2.0-only license on February 8, 2014, by the University of California, Berkeley with the permission of Alcatel-Lucent, the copyright holders at the time.
PowerShell 2006 August 2016 MIT Open sourced by Microsoft in August 2016 on GitHub.
Qt 1991 1999 QPL First released as open source under the QPL license. Later released under the GPL license. Qt 4.5 and later are released under the LGPL license. Until 2005 the Windows version was only under a proprietary license.
RakNet 2003 2014 BSD-2-Clause Oculus VR acquired RakNet and open-sourced it shortly after.
Rebol 1997 2012 Apache-2.0 Following the discussion with Lawrence Rosen, the Rebol version 3 interpreter was released under the Apache-2.0 license on 12 December 2012.
Rise of the Triad 1994 2002 GPL-2.0-or-later Only the code was released under the GPL-2.0-or-later license.
Ryzom 2004 2010 AGPL-3.0-or-later
Sandboxie 2004 2020 GPL-3.0-or-later The final 5.40 version was a source code-only release, published a year after Sophos announced its discontinuation of development.
Second Life client 2003 2007 GPL-2.0
Second Reality 1993 2013 Public domain software (Unlicense) Released by Jussi Laakkonen, former member of Future Crew, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original release.
SimCity 1989 2007 GPL-3.0-or-later Free version released as 'Micropolis'
Solar2D 2009 2019 GPL-3.0 Originally released under the GPL-3.0 license (with an option for a commercial license), the following year it was re-licensed under the MIT license.
Solaris 1989 2005 CDDL Free version released as OpenSolaris, which was discontinued in 2010. Forked as Illumos.
Soldat 2002 2020 MIT/CC BY 4.0 Originally limited to the game engine, assets followed shortly after under CC BY 4.0 license.
Source Code Control System 1972 2006 CDDL
StarOffice 1986 2000 LGPL/SISSL Free version released as OpenOffice.org, later released only under the LGPL license. (OpenOffice.org was discontinued in 2011, but forks—most prominently LibreOffice (licensed under the MPL-2.0 license) and Apache OpenOffice (licensed under the Apache-2.0 license)—have become its dominant successors.) StarOffice was still released separately under a proprietary license, using mostly the same code, until its discontinuing in 2011; Sun required all contributors to the main OpenOffice.org project assign joint copyright to Sun.
Star Ruler 2 2015 2018 MIT / CC BY-NC 2.0 Source code and assets re-released to the public (except for music, which is kept proprietary). The assets are under a non-free CC BY-NC 2.0 license.
Stride 2014 2014 GPL-3.0 Originally released under the GPL-3.0 license (with an option for a commercial license), it became proprietary in 2017, and it was re-licensed to the MIT license in 2018.
Super Lemonade Factory 2012 2012–2021 MIT/GPL-3.0-only Source code for the Adobe AIR (Microsoft Windows/Mac OS X) and Flixel (iOS) versions was released on 27 July 2012 on GitHub under the MIT License, the assets were included but were not free. The entire source code repository for the Ouya version was released on 4 February 2021 under the GPL-3.0-only license.
Symbian platform 1998 2010 EPL
Synfig 2001 2005 GPL-2.0-or-later Some more information is available on the Synfig history page.
Tesseract OCR 1985 2005 Apache-2.0 Released as free and open-source software by HP and UNLV
TextSecure 2010 2011 GPL-3.0 Since renamed to Signal
Torque 2D/iTorque 2D 2006–2009 2013 MIT A combination of Torque 2D and iTorque, named Torque 2D MIT, was released under the MIT license by GarageGames. The source code for Larva Mortus, a game using the engine, was released on 1 May 2009 under a non-free non-commercial license.
Torque 3D 2001 2012 MIT Developed for Tribes 2. Released as free and open-source software by GarageGames.
TurboCASH 1985 2003 GPL
Two Tribes Engine 2007 2021 GPL-2.0-only On December 17, 2021, Two Tribes released the source code to their in-house game engine under the terms of the GPL-2.0-only license (with an option for a proprietary license).
Ancient UNIX (Version 6 Unix, Version 7 Unix, UNIX/32V) 1971—1979 2002 BSD-4-Clause The source code for the versions 1 to 7 of Unix and UNIX/32V was re-licensed by Caldera International (later SCO Group) under the BSD-4-Clause free-software license.
ViewMAX 1990 1999 GPL
Visual Studio Code 2015 2015 MIT
Warzone 2100 1999 2004 GPL-2.0-or-later Video game by Eidos Interactive
Watcom C compiler 1988 2003 Sybase Open Watcom Public License Free version released as Open Watcom under a license which is considered non-free by the GNU project but acceptable by the OSI.
Windows Calculator 1985 2019 MIT Windows 1.0, released in November 1985, included the first iteration of Windows Calculator. In March 2019, Microsoft released the source code of Windows Calculator under the MIT license.
Windows Console 2019 MIT In 2019, the Windows Console infrastructure was open-sourced under the MIT license, alongside Windows Terminal.
Windows Live Writer 2012 2015 MIT An open source fork of Windows Live Writer was released as Open Live Writer by Microsoft on 9 December 2015.
Wintermute Engine 2003 2009 LGPL-3.0-or-later Source code released upon request under the LGPL-3.0-or-later license with the release of the version 1.8.9. Publicly available under the terms of the MIT license since March 23, 2013. The source code for The White Chamber, a game using the engine, was released on 30 June 2008 under a non-free CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 UK license.
Wire 2014 2016 GPL-3.0
Wolfenstein 3D engine 1992 GPL-2.0-or-later Originally released under a restrictive license on 21 July 1995, it was relicensed to the GPL at some point. The source code for Rise of the Triad and Blake Stone: Planet Strike (two games using the engine) was also released under the GPL-2.0-or-later.
Worms? 1983 2021 MIT
XMind 2007 2008 EPL and LGPL Mindmapping software based on the Eclipse RCP
YSFlight 1999 2022 BSD-3-Clause
ZFS 200? 2005 CDDL Released by Sun Microsystems under an open-source license in 2005. Due to a FSF announced license incompatibility of the GPL with the CDDL, ZFS wasn't directly integrated in Linux, but in the BSDs or MacOS due to their permissive licensed kernel which offers better license compatibility. After the later owner Oracle didn't release after version 28, the community forked to OpenZFS.

See also


This page was last updated at 2024-04-19 16:25 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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