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Thread: Kettle License

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Kettle License

    I was wondering if someone could answer a quick question about licensing of Kettle ( particularly using it within and distribution from a commercial environment). I understand fairly well that Kettle as an entity is released as LGPL which as far as I understand allows us to distribute it as long as any changes we make to the product are released as well. What I would like an answer to is concerning the IP of the designer files.
    • What license are the workflows we construct as a company with Kettle?
    • I don't know a great deal about the generated work flows, but is there anyway to use these in a black box approach where people can't edit the files but can still use them?
    • Can we ship these workflows to our customers without them being able to edit them and is this against the licensing terms?

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    The KTR files and KJB files are XML
    They are your work product (much like a Word Document is not MS property)
    Beyond that, I recommend talking with an IP lawyer.

    Note: I am NOT a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Technically speaking

    Hi Cybrey,

    I won't speak to the legalities of it as I try to stay away from that as much as possible. :P

    Technically it is possible to embed Kettle and execute KTRs and KJBs from code. A good example of this is the Kettle Component in the Pentaho BI Server.
    Another possibility is Kitchen and Pan, which will execute Jobs and Transformations (respectively) from the command line.
    Furthermore, jobs and transformations can be generated in code if you need to do so dynamically, or for greater security.

    As far as the legalities go, I found these two links:

    Lastly, Pentaho offers Kettle CE development support, you can contact sales for more information. I do not know if this applies to your project, but it cannot hurt to ask.

    I hope this helps,

    (Borrowing from gutlez)
    Note: I am NOT a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010



    When I installed Kettle (Pentaho Data Integration) 4.0, I got a GPL V2 license and not LGPL. I realize Kettle is LGPL but could not find this in the installed product on my machine. Could anybody be kind enough to let me know where to look? We were only interested in the PDI software.

    The links you suggested are fairly old so just wanted to be on the safe side.



  5. #5


    I thought it was all GPLV2 and not LGPL since they swapped ages ago:
    This is a signature.... everyone gets it.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 1999


    RMS would love it but unfortunately for him, Kettle (CE) is still LGPL v2.1.
    The splash screen of PDI4 and the source code headers still indicate as much.

    This means that you are indeed allowed to embed Kettle in your own software.
    However, if you change anything to the Kettle source code and if you distribute your software (sell, post, whatever) you should make these changes available.

    That's about it. You can read more about the LGPL, the consequences and information on how to embed Kettle in your code in our upcoming book. (see my sig)

    Last edited by MattCasters; 07-29-2010 at 12:32 PM.

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