Can I use free Intellij IDEA Community Edition for the developing, if I'm working on the proprietary commercial product?

3 Answers 3



Intellij IDEA Community Edition is (almost) entirely licensed under the Apache 2.0 license (http://www.jetbrains.org/display/IJOS/License+Information).

The Apache 2.0 license allows for commercial use (http://choosealicense.com/licenses/apache-2.0/).

This is not legal advice.

  • Does the license really matter here? So I can't develop a proprietary software product if I'm using the proprietary Intellij IDEA Ultimate?
    – Ruslan
    Aug 9, 2015 at 18:31
  • The license matters. Community Edition is licensed under the Apache license which allows you to use the software (the IDE) in a commercial fashion. IDEA Ultimate is licensed under JetBrains' proprietary license which explicitly allows you to use it in a commercial fashion. Aug 9, 2015 at 20:00
  • so both allow you to use them in a commercial fashion? Probably it's a typo in your comment. And what do you mean by "in a commercial fashion"? Let me rephrase my question. Let's say I'm developing a shopping web site. Is there a difference in what edition of Intellij IDEA I use as to what license I have to apply to the code of my web site? My understanding is that the top question is not about developing an IDE based on the Intellij IDEA, but about developing a normal software product.
    – Ruslan
    Aug 9, 2015 at 20:44
  • 1
    The license covers both using the IDE and developing a derivative of the IDE. See apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html#WhatDoesItMEAN "It allows you to: freely download and use Apache software, in whole or in part, for personal, company internal, or commercial purposes;". By "in a commercial fashion" I mean something like "your use of the IDE can cause you to gain money". I understand the question the same as you - but the licenses cover both use of IDE to create software and its modification. And the use of IDE to produce commercial software is permitted by all JetBrains licenses Aug 9, 2015 at 20:50

The following is my understanding of the problem:

You are not restricted to what kind of software you develop unless you are developing a product that is derived from Intellij IDEA, for example, if you are developing your own IDE that is derived from IDEA.

That being said, you can even use the commercial version of Intellij IDEA to develop a commercial product that is not an IDE itseft and doesn't use Intellij IDEA's source code.

This is not legal advice.

  • Are you able to provide a citation for this?
    – Pat W.
    Aug 9, 2015 at 15:47
  • @PatW. No, I can't. I'm not an expert here, that's why I said that it's my "understanding". I do believe it would be absurd otherwise. I think the question comes from the misunderstanding of the difference: "using a tool" vs "deriving a product from a tool".
    – Ruslan
    Aug 9, 2015 at 18:29
  • From jetbrains.com/idea/features/editions_comparison_matrix.html if you hover your mouse over the "i" for the license information of the community edition it says: Community Edition is open-source, licensed under Apache 2.0. Projects like Android and Swift use Apache 2.0, so you're in good company. It can also be used for commercial development.
    – Chase
    Jul 10, 2020 at 20:48

In addition to the Apache 2.0 license for IDE, there are also now some bundled with plugins that are now proprietary JetBrains license: https://www.jetbrains.com/legal/community-bundled-plugins/?product=iic&version=2021.1.

There doesn't look to be any restriction on using those plugins for a commercial purpose.

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