List of formerly proprietary software

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This is a list of notable software packages which were published under a proprietary software license but later released with the source code and a more liberal license. While such software typically becomes free software, open source software or public domain, also other constructs or licenses exist.

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

List of formerly proprietary and closed-source software[edit]

List of formerly proprietary and closed-source software
Title Original release Relicensed release New license Notes
Adobe Flex 2004 2007 MPL Since renamed to Apache Flex and changed to Apache License 2.0
AdvFS 1990s June 2008 GPL v2 HP opened up AdvFS from Tru64 UNIX.
Apache Derby 1996 August 2004 Apache License 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
Photoshop 1.0.1[1] 1996 February 2013[2] COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM SOFTWARE LICENSE (non-commercial license)[3] Adobe Systems Inc. made the source code of the 1990 version 1.0.1 of Photoshop available to the Computer History Museum. Includes all the code with the exception of the MacApp applications library which was licensed from Apple.
BDS C Compiler 1979 2002 Public domain Released by author
Bitstream Vera (font) Unknown 2003 custom Through the efforts of Bitstream and the GNOME Foundation
Blender 1996 2003 GPL
C*Base 1980s 2003 GPL
CuneiForm 1993 2008 BSD Optical character recognition software
Duke Nukem 3D 1996 2003 GPL Game code only, no data, no engine.
Doom engine 1993 1999 GPL Code only. Originally released under a restrictive license in 1997
Fish Fillets 1998 2002 GPL
Free Download Manager (FDM) 2003 August 2007 GPL Free since version 2.5[4]
GEM February 1985 April 1999 GPL Development continued as OpenGEM and FreeGEM.
FAR Manager October 1996 October 2007 BSD Version 2.0 released as open source.
Gentium (font) 2002 2005 OFL Through the efforts of SIL International
HoverRace 1996 2006 BSD
ILWIS 1988 2007 GPL Released as free and open-source software by ITC
id Tech 2 1997 2001 GPL
id Tech 3 1999 2005 GPL
id Tech 4 2004 2011 GPL The released version is the source code to Doom 3; source code to newer id Tech 4 games has yes to be released. Changes to the code had to be made to avoid use of the patented Carmack's Reverse.
Java 1995 2006–2007 GPL On 13 November 2006, Sun Microsystems released much of Java as free software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). 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.[5]
Jumper 2.0 2007 2008 GPL Publicly announced on 29 September 2008.[6]
Korn shell 1982 2000 custom; now CPL
LightZone 2005 2012 3-clause BSD Company went out of business
Marathon 2: Durandal 1995 2000 GPL Only the code was released under the GPL. Now known as Aleph One
MegaZeux GPL Both the code and the world files and music files are made freely available.
MS-DOS 1.10 and 2.0 1982 2014 MICROSOFT RESEARCH LICENSE (non-commercial license)[7] On March 25th 2014 Microsoft made the code to MS-DOS 1.10 and 2.0 available to the public under a Microsoft Research License for educational purposes.[8][9]
Microsoft Word for Windows version 1.1a 1991 2014 MICROSOFT RESEARCH LICENSE (non-commercial license) Microsoft made the source code of the 1991 version of Word available to the Computer History Museum and to the public for educational purposes.[10][7]
MINIX 1987 2000 BSD
Movable Type October 2001 December 2007 GPL Weblog software
NetBeans 1997 October 2007 GPL, CDDL An integrated development environment (IDE) for Java and other programming languages
Netscape Enterprise Server January 2009 BSD Sun Microsystems open sourced it.[11][dead link]
Netscape Navigator/Communicator 1994 1998 MPL See Mozilla[12][13]
Open Sound System 1992 2007 GPL, CDDL
Performance Co-Pilot 1993 December 1999 GPL, LGPL
Qt 1991 1999 QPL First released as open source under the QPL. Later released as GPL. Qt 4.5 and later are released under the LGPL. Until 2005 the Windows version was only under proprietary license.
Quake engine 1996 1999 GPL The map sources were also released under the GPL in 2006.
Rise of the Triad 1994 2002 GPL Only the code was released under the GPL.
Second Life client 2003 2007 GPL v2
SimCity 1989 2007 GPL v3 Free version released as 'Micropolis' [14]
Solaris 1989 2005 CDDL Free version released as OpenSolaris
StarOffice 1986 2000 LGPL/SISSL[15] Free version released as, now released only under the LGPL. ( has since been forked into LibreOffice, which is also under the LGPL and has largely displaced StarOffice is still released separately under a proprietary license, using mostly the same code; Sun requires all contributors to the main project assign joint copyright to Sun.
Symbian platform  ?? 2010 EPL
Synfig 2001 2005 GPL Some more information is available on the Synfig history page.
Tesseract OCR 1985 2005 Apache License 2.0 Released as free and open-source software by HP and UNLV
Torque 3D 2001 2012 MIT License Developed for Tribes 2. Released as free and open-source software by Dynamix
TurboCASH April 1985 July 2003 GPL
Warzone 2100 March 1999 December 2004 GPL Video game by Eidos Interactive
Watcom C compiler 1988 2003 Sybase Open Watcom Public License Free version released as Open Watcom
XMind 2007 2008 EPL and LGPL Mindmapping software based on the Eclipse RCP

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adobe Photoshop Source Code
  2. ^ Bishop, Bryan (2013-02-14). "Adobe releases original Photoshop source code for nostalgic developers". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  3. ^ photoshop-license-agreement
  4. ^ Free Download Manager » Blog Archive » FDM 2.5 is released!
  5. ^ - JAVAONE: Sun - The bulk of Java is open sourced
  6. ^ NEWS-Jumper_Networks_Releases_Jumper_2.0_Platform.pdf "Jumper Networks Press Release for Jumper 2.0". Jumper Networks, Inc. 29 September 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Levin, Roy (2014-03-25). "Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public". Official Microsoft Blog. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  8. ^ TechNet Blogs, Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public, Retrieved March 25th, 2014.
  9. ^ Phipps, Simon (2014-03-26). "Psych! Microsoft didn't really open-source MS-DOS". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  10. ^ Shustek, Len (2014-03-24). "Microsoft Word for Windows Version 1.1a Source Code". Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-04-23. [dead link]
  13. ^ "MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Netscape Communications and open source developers are celebrating the first anniversary, March 31, 1999, of the release of Netscape's browser source code to". Netscape Communications. March 31, 1999. Retrieved January 10, 2013. "[...]The organization that manages open source developers working on the next generation of Netscape's browser and communication software. This event marked a historical milestone for the Internet as Netscape became the first major commercial software company to open its source code, a trend that has since been followed by several other corporations. Since the code was first published on the Internet, thousands of individuals and organizations have downloaded it and made hundreds of contributions to the software. is now celebrating this one-year anniversary with a party Thursday night in San Francisco." 
  14. ^ "Micropolis Downloads". Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  15. ^ Proffitt, Brian (October 13, 2000). "StarOffice Code Released in Largest Open Source Project". Retrieved January 10, 2013. "Sun's joint effort with CollabNet kicked into high gear on the OpenOffice Web site at 5 a.m. PST this morning with the release of much of the source code for the upcoming 6.0 version of StarOffice. According to Sun, this release of 9 million lines of code under GPL is the beginning of the largest open source software project ever."