The GNU General Public License (GPL) is a Free Software license created by Richard Stallman in 1989 for Free Software creators. The GPL grants users the Four Freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Since it's debut, the license has become extremely popular & wide-spread. The GPL has gone through 3 revisions, with GPLv3 being the latest.

GPLv3 allows any user to access, modify, and redistribute the source code, given that the redistributed version of the software is also released as GPLv3. For example, if you create a pice of software named "FreedomJuice" under the GPLv3, and I download & moify it and name it "xFreedomJuicex", I cannot release xFreedomJuicex under the MIT license, it has to be GPLv3 as well.

External Links