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
Adobe Flex 2004 2007 MPL Since renamed to Apache Flex and changed to Apache License 2.0
AdvFS 1990s 2008 GPL v2 HP opened up AdvFS from Tru64 UNIX.
AOLserver 1999 GPL / modified MPL [1]
Apache Derby 1996 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
Apache Wave 2009 2009 Apache License Formerly Google Wave.[2]
Astrolog 1991 2015 GPL v2+ / custom permissive Has always been freeware and open source, but had a custom attribution demanding permissive license.
Atom 2014 2014 MIT License [3]
BDS C Compiler 1979 2002 Public domain Released by author
Bitstream Vera (font) 2003 custom Through the efforts of Bitstream and the GNOME Foundation
Blender 1996 2003 GPL v2+
BlitzBASIC (Blitz3D, BlitzPlus, BlitzMax) 2001 2014 zlib license BlitzPlus was released as Open Source on 28 April 2014 under the zlib license on[4][5] Blitz3D follow on 3 August 2014.[6][7] BlitzMax was open sourced on 21 September 2015.[8]
Catacomb 1989 2014 GPL v2 [9]
Catacomb II 1991 2014 GPL v2 [9]
Catacomb Abyss 1992 2014 GPL v2 [9]
Catacomb Armageddon 1992 2014 GPL v2 [9]
Catacomb 3D 1991 2014 GPL v2 [9]
C*Base 1980s 2003 GPL v2+
CDE 1993 2012 LGPL v2+ [10][11]
ChakraCore 2009 2016 MIT On 13 January 2016 Microsoft released ChakraCore under the MIT license on GitHub.[12] 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.[13]
CMU Sphinx 2000 BSD [14][15]
CodeXL 2016 MIT License
Coherent 1980 2015 3-clause BSD License [16]
CP/M family 1974 1997,[17][18][19] 2001,[20][21][22][23] 2014[24] [17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]
CuneiForm 1993 2008 BSD Optical character recognition software
Dink Smallwood 1998 2003 zlib-like Some game data (e.g. sounds) not released under a free license.[25]
Doom engine 1993 1999 GPL Code only. Originally released under a restrictive license in 1997
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.[26]
Duke Nukem 3D 1996 2003 GPL Game code only, no data, no engine.
Etherpad 2008 2009 Apache License 2.0 Open sourced after being purchased by Google
Falcon 2007 GPL [27]
FAR Manager 1996 2007 BSD 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.[28][29] 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.[29]
Fish Fillets 1998 2002 GPL
Free Download Manager (FDM) 2003 2007 GPL Free since version 2.5[30]
FoundationDB 2013 2018 Apache License 2.0 Apple Inc. acquired the founding company in March 2015 and discontinued downloads of the software.[31] In April 2018, Apple open-sourced the database and resumed downloads.[32]
Ghostery 2010 2018 Mozilla Public License 2.0 Cliqz GmbH acquired Ghostery from Evidon, Inc. in February 2017.[33] Ghostery's software was open-sourced on 8 March 2018.[34]
GEM family 1985 1999[35] GPL[35] Development continued as OpenGEM and FreeGEM.[35]
Gentium (font) 2002 2005 OFL Through the efforts of SIL International
Gigablast 2000 2013 Apache License 2.0 [36]
Glitch 2011 2013 Public domain software (CC0) After Glitch was officially shut down on 9 December 2012,[37] the artwork and most of the source code was released under the public domain-like Creative Commons license CC0 on 18 November 2013.[38][39] On 9 December 2014, a fan project to relaunch Glitch under the name Eleven began alpha testing.[40]
GLX 1990s 2008 SGI FreeB License [41]
HoverRace 1996 2006 BSD
Hovertank 3D 1991 2014 GPL v2 [9]
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 yet to be released. Changes to the code had to be made to avoid use of the patented Carmack's Reverse.
JaikuEngine 2006 2009 Apache License 2.0 [42]
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.[43]
Jumper 2.0 2007 2008 GPL Publicly announced on 29 September 2008,[44]
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
MiniPanzer and MegaPanzer GPL The source code of the programs was released as GPL in 2009 by their author, who retained the copyright.[45]
MINIX 1987 2000 BSD
Motif 1980s 2012 LGPL v2+ [46]
Movable Type 2001 2007 GPL Weblog software
MP/M family 1979 1997,[17][18] 2001[20][21][22][23] [17][18][20][21][22][23]
.NET Framework (most components) 2002 2014 MIT License, Apache license 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.[47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58]
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.[59]
Netscape Navigator/Communicator 1994 1998 MPL See Mozilla[60][61]
OpenGL sample implementation 1992 2008 SGI FreeB License [41]
Open Sound System 1992 2007 GPL, CDDL
OpenWRT ? 2003 GPL As Linksys built the firmware for their WRT54G wireless router also from GPL'ed code,[62] they were required to make the source code available in July 2003.[63][64]
Performance Co-Pilot 1993 1999 GPL, LGPL
PowerShell 2006 August 2016 MIT License Open sourced by Microsoft in August 2016 on GitHub.[65]
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.
RSD Game-Maker 1991 2014 MIT license 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.[66]
Rebol 1997 2012 Apache license 2.0 Following the discussion with Lawrence Rosen,[67] the Rebol version 3 interpreter was released under the Apache 2.0 license on 12 December 2012.[68]
Rise of the Triad 1994 2002 GPL Only the code was released under the GPL.
Ryzom 2004 2010 AGPL [69][70]
Second Life client 2003 2007 GPL v2
SimCity 1989 2007 GPL v3 Free version released as 'Micropolis' [71]
Solaris 1989 2005 CDDL Free version released as OpenSolaris
Source Code Control System 1972 2006 CDDL
StarOffice 1986 2000 LGPL/SISSL[72] Free version released as, later released only under the LGPL. ( was discontinued in 2011, but forks—most prominently LibreOffice (licensed under the LGPL) and Apache OpenOffice (licensed under the Apache 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 project assign joint copyright to Sun.
Star Ruler 2[73] 2015 2018[73] MIT / CC BY-NC Source code and assets re-released to the public (except for music, which is kept prorietary). The assets are under non-free CC BY-NC license.
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
TextSecure 2010 2011 GPLv3 Since renamed to Signal
Torque 3D 2001 2012 MIT License Developed for Tribes 2. Released as free and open-source software by Dynamix
TurboCASH 1985 2003 GPL
ViewMAX 1990 1999[35] GPL[35]
Visual Studio Code 2015 2015[74] MIT
Warzone 2100 1999 2004 GPL 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[75] but acceptable by the OSI.
Windows Calculator 1985 2019 MIT License 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.[76]
Windows Console 2019 MIT License In 2019, the Windows Console infrastructure was open-sourced under the MIT License, alongside Windows Terminal.[77]
Windows Live Writer 2012 2015 MIT License An open source fork of Windows Live Writer was released as Open Live Writer by Microsoft on 9 December 2015.[78]
Wire 2014 2016 GPLv3
XMind 2007 2008 EPL and LGPL Mindmapping software based on the Eclipse RCP
ZFS 200? 2005 CDDL Released by Sun Microsystems under an open-source license in 2005.[79] 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 released after version 28, the community forked to OpenZFS.[80]

See also


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