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Licensing implications of packages inside docker images


We have subscription of Docker license. We want to use Docker for our enterprise proprietary software distribution,

We have taken the base image of Tomcat docker from Docker hub, the URL is follows.

Tag Name : tomcat:9.0.48-jdk11-adoptopenjdk-hotspot

We have run ‘apt-get’ command to update the packages to latest version and deployed our proprietary software that runs on Tomcat.

We need help in understanding the licensing requirement in this case, since we are not able to get any licensing information related to above docker image. We also want to understand licensing implications for the docker images that we download from Docker Hub.

Some points worth noting:

  1. Our software is commercial

  2. We take care of licensing information for all third-party components which we use inside our software

  3. Our proprietary software is compliant with non-dockized distribution, and we want to understand if we need to do anything additional for dockerized distribution.


I recommend you to read the Docker FAQs: Docker FAQs | Docker

I quote:

Do I need a paid subscription to use the images on Docker Hub for commercial use?

No, you do not. You can continue to access and use the content from Docker Hub under the Personal Subscription for commercial use. If you are doing this from Docker Desktop for commercial use, you will need to have a subscription for the use of Docker Desktop. You can find out more about our subscriptions here.

As far as I know you can use the opensource components for free even for commercial use. If you have the right to run a software on the host, then you have the right to run it inside the container. If the software has a limit how many instances you can run in parallel, then you can’t run it in multiple containers but you can run it in one.

For Windows containers, read the EULA: Microsoft Software EULA Windows Containers | Microsoft Docs