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DISPONIBILI
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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. Academic Free License
  2. Adaptive Public License
  3. Advogato
  4. Affero General Public License
  5. Africa Source
  6. AKademy
  7. Alternative terms for free software
  8. Anti-copyright notice
  9. Apache License
  10. Apache Software Foundation
  11. APESOL
  12. Apple Public Source License
  13. Artistic License
  14. Association For Free Software
  15. August Penguin
  16. Benetech
  17. Benevolent Dictator for Life
  18. BerliOS
  19. Binary blob
  20. BK02
  21. Blender Foundation
  22. Bruce Perens' Open Source Series
  23. BSD licenses
  24. CeCILL
  25. CE Linux Forum
  26. Clarkson Open Source Institute
  27. Code Breakers
  28. CodePlex
  29. Collaborative software development model
  30. Collaborative Source license
  31. Common Development and Distribution License
  32. Common Public License
  33. Comparison of free software hosting facilities
  34. CONSOL
  35. Copycenter
  36. Copyleft
  37. Creative Commons licenses
  38. Debconf
  39. Debian Free Software Guidelines
  40. Debian Manifesto
  41. Desktop Developers' Conference
  42. Eclipse Foundation
  43. Eclipse Public License
  44. Enterprise open source journal
  45. European Union Public Licence
  46. Everybody Loves Eric Raymond
  47. Forum Internacional Software Livre
  48. Fedora Project
  49. FOSDEM
  50. FOSS.IN
  51. Fossap
  52. Frameworx License
  53. Free content
  54. Free Culture movement
  55. Freedesktop.org
  56. Freely redistributable software
  57. Freepository
  58. Free software
  59. Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit
  60. Free software community
  61. Free Software Directory
  62. Free Software Foundation
  63. Free Software Foundation Europe
  64. Free Software Foundation Latin America
  65. Free Software Foundation of India
  66. Free Software Initiative of Japan
  67. Free software license
  68. Free Software Magazine
  69. Free software movement
  70. Free Software Song
  71. Free Standards Group
  72. FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software
  73. GCC Summit
  74. Gna.org
  75. GNAT Modified General Public License
  76. Gnits Standards
  77. GnomeFiles
  78. GNOME Foundation
  79. GNU Coding Standards
  80. GNU Free Documentation License
  81. GNU General Public License
  82. GNU Lesser General Public License
  83. GNU Manifesto
  84. GNU Savannah
  85. GNU Simpler Free Documentation License
  86. Google Code
  87. Google Summer of Code
  88. Go Open Source
  89. GRASS GIS
  90. Gratis versus Libre
  91. Groklaw
  92. GUADEC
  93. Halloween documents
  94. Hamakor
  95. Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer
  96. Homesteading the Noosphere
  97. Hurd User Group
  98. IBM Public License
  99. IBM Type-III Library
  100. Intel Open Source License
  101. International Open Source Network
  102. Irish Free Software Organisation
  103. ISC licence
  104. Jargon File
  105. Jimbo Wales
  106. KDE Dot News
  107. KernelTrap
  108. LAMP
  109. LaTeX Project Public License
  110. League for Programming Freedom
  111. Leonard H. Tower Jr.
  112. libpng
  113. Libre Software Meeting
  114. Linus's Law
  115. Linus Torvalds
  116. Linux.conf.au
  117. Linux conference
  118. Linux Expo
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  121. Linux Journal
  122. Linux Kongress
  123. Linux naming controversy
  124. LinuxQuestions.org
  125. LinuxTag
  126. Linux User Group
  127. LinuxWorld Conference and Expo
  128. List of software that uses the MIT License
  129. LiveJournal
  130. Lucent Public License
  131. LXer
  132. MIT License
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  134. Mozdev.org
  135. Mozilla Add-ons
  136. Mozilla Foundation
  137. Mozilla Public License
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  141. Netscape Public License
  142. NewsForge
  143. New Zealand Open Source Society
  144. NonProfit Open Source Initiative
  145. Non-proprietary software
  146. Nupedia Open Content License
  147. ObjectWeb
  148. Ohio LinuxFest
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  150. O3 Magazine
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  155. OpenDocument Format Alliance
  156. OpenLP
  157. Open outsourcing
  158. Open Security Foundation
  159. Open Software License
  160. Open-source advocacy
  161. Open Source Applications Foundation
  162. Open-source culture
  163. Open Source Definition
  164. Open Source Developers' Conference
  165. Open-source evangelist
  166. Open source funding
  167. Open Source Geospatial Foundation
  168. Open Source Initiative
  169. Open source movement
  170. Open source movie
  171. Open-source software
  172. Open source software development
  173. Open source software development method
  174. Open Source Software Institute
  175. Open source teaching
  176. Open source vs. closed source
  177. Open-sourcing
  178. O'Reilly Open Source Convention
  179. Organisation for Free Software in Education and Teaching
  180. OSDL
  181. Ottawa Linux Symposium
  182. Patent Commons
  183. PHP License
  184. Pionia
  185. Pionia Organization
  186. Proprietary software
  187. Protecting the Virtual Commons
  188. Public Documentation License
  189. Public-domain equivalent license
  190. Python License
  191. Python Software Foundation License
  192. Q Public License
  193. RealNetworks Public Source License
  194. Reciprocal Public License
  195. Red Hat
  196. Revolution OS
  197. Richard Stallman
  198. RubyForge
  199. Sarovar
  200. Savane
  201. SIL Open Font License
  202. Simputer General Public License
  203. SIPfoundry
  204. Slashdot
  205. Sleepycat License
  206. Software Freedom Day
  207. Software Freedom Law Center
  208. Software in the Public Interest
  209. SourceForge
  210. Spread Firefox
  211. Sun Industry Standards Source License
  212. Sun Public License
  213. Sybase Open Watcom Public License
  214. Tanenbaum-Torvalds debate
  215. Tectonic Magazine
  216. The Cathedral and the Bazaar
  217. The Freedom Toaster
  218. The Free Software Definition
  219. The Perl Foundation
  220. The Right to Read
  221. The Summit Open Source Development Group
  222. Tigris.org
  223. Tivoization
  224. Tux
  225. Tux Magazine
  226. Ubuntu Foundation
  227. Use of Free and Open Source Software in the U.S. Department of Defense
  228. Vores Ol
  229. W3C Software Notice and License
  230. Webgpl
  231. What the Hack
  232. Wizards of OS
  233. WTFPL
  234. X.Org Foundation
  235. Xiph.Org Foundation
  236. Yet Another Perl Conference
  237. Yogurt

 

 
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FREE SOFTWARE CULTURE
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

GNU General Public License

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
The GNU logo
The GNU logo

The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU project. The latest version of the license, version 2, was released in 1991. The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) is a modified version of the GPL, intended for some software libraries.

The GPL grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the free software definition and uses copyleft to ensure the freedoms are preserved, even when the work is changed or added to.

By some measures, the GPL is the single most popular license for free and open source software. As of April 2004, the GPL accounted for nearly 75% of the 23,479 free-software projects listed on Freshmeat, and about 68% of the projects listed on SourceForge. (These sites are owned by OSTG, a company that advocates Linux and the GPL.) Similarly, a 2001 survey of Red Hat Linux 7.1 found that 50% of the source code was licensed under the GPL, and 1997 survey of MetaLab, then the largest free-software archive, showed that the GPL accounted for about half of the licenses used. Prominent free software programs licensed under the GPL include the Linux kernel and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Some other free software programs are dual-licensed under multiple licenses, often with one of the licenses being the GPL.

History

The GPL was written by Richard Stallman for use with programs released as part of the GNU project. It was based on a unification of similar licenses used for early versions of GNU Emacs, the GNU Debugger and the GNU Compiler Collection. These licenses contained similar provisions to the modern GPL, but were specific to each program rendering them incompatible, despite being the same license.[1] Stallman's goal was to produce one license that could be used for any project, thus making it possible for many projects to share code.

Version 1

Version 1 of the GNU GPL, released in January 1989, prevented what were then the two main ways that software distributors restricted the freedoms that define free software. Those were the distribution of binaries - executable, but not readable or modifiable to humans, and adding legal restrictions in the licence. GPLv1 said that if you distribute binaries, you must make the human readable source code available too, and when you distribute GPL'd software, you cannot add any further restrictions to the license.

Version 2

According to Richard Stallman, the most major change in GPLv2 was the "Liberty or Death" clause, as he calls it - Section 7.[2] This section says that if someone has restrictions imposed that prevent them from distributing GPL-covered software in a way that respects other users' freedom (for example, if a legal ruling states that they can only distribute the software in binary form), they cannot distribute it at all.

By 1990, it was becoming apparent that a less restrictive license would be strategically useful for some software libraries; when version 2 of the GPL (GPLv2) was released in June 1991, therefore, a second license - the Library General Public License (LGPL) was introduced at the same time and numbered with version 2 to show that both were complementary. The version numbers diverged in 1999 when version 2.1 of the LGPL was released, which renamed it the Lesser General Public License to reflect its place in the GNU philosophy.

Version 3

Wikinews has news related to:
Free Software Foundation releases first draft of GPLv3

In late 2005, FSF announced that it would begin drafting version 3 of the GPL. On January 16th, 2006, the first "discussion draft" of GPLv3 was published and a public consultation began which was to last approximately one year.

Version 3 of the GPL (GPLv3) is being written by Richard Stallman, with legal counsel from Eben Moglen and Software Freedom Law Center.[3]

Stallman's summary of important changes proposed in the first draft included handling software patent issues, free software license compatibility, the definition of source code, and "tivoisation".[3] Other notable changes include allowing authors to add certain additional restrictions and requirements to their contributions.

The public consultation process is being coordinated by the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Law Center, Free Software Foundation Europe, and other free software groups. Comments are collected from the public via a web portal gplv3.fsf.org. That portal runs purpose written software called stet. These comments are passed to four committees comprising approximately 130 people, including supporters and detractors of FSF's goals. These committees research the comments submitted by the public and pass their summaries to Stallman for a decision on what the licence will do.

Unofficial diffs between version 2 and the v3 draft 1 were released by Groklaw.[4]. Diffs between draft 1 and draft 2 were made available by FSF[5] and by FSFE.[6]

On 27 July 2006, a second discussion draft of GPLv3 was released, along with a first discussion draft of a version 3 of the LGPL.[7]

During the year-long public consultation process, one thousand comments were submitted for the first draft, and, as of December 2006, 620 comments have been submitted for the second draft.

Others, notably some high-profile developers of the Linux kernel, commented to the mass media and made public statements about their objections to parts of discussion draft 2.[8]

Richard Stallman expects GPLv3 to be finalised either in late 2006 or early 2007.[9]

Terms and conditions

The terms and conditions of the GPL are available to anybody receiving a copy of the work that has a GPL applied to it ("the licensee"). Any licensee who adheres to the terms and conditions is given permission to modify the work, as well as to copy and redistribute the work or any derivative version. The licensee is allowed to charge a fee for this service, or do this free of charge. This latter point distinguishes the GPL from software licenses that prohibit commercial redistribution. Stallman has argued that free software should not place restrictions on commercial use, and the GPL explicitly states that GPL works may be sold at any price.

The GPL additionally states that a distributor may not impose "further restrictions on the rights granted by the GPL". This forbids activities such as distributing of the software under a non-disclosure agreement or contract. Distributors under the GPL also grant a license for any of their patents practiced by the software, to practice those patents in GPL software.

Section three of the license requires that programmes distributed as pre-compiled binaries are accompanied by a copy of the source code, a written offer to distribute the source code via the same mechanism as the pre-compiled binary or the written offer to obtain the source code that you got when you received the pre-compiled binary under the GPL.

The copyleft

The GPL does not give the licensee unlimited redistribution rights. The right to redistribute is granted only if the distribution includes the source code and is licensed under the terms of the GPL.

This requirement is known as copyleft. It earns its legal power from the use of copyright on software programs. Because a GPL work is copyrighted, a licensee has no right to modify or redistribute it (barring fair use), except under the terms of the license. One is only required to adhere to the terms of the GPL if one wishes to exercise rights normally restricted by copyright law, such as redistribution. Conversely, if one distributes copies of the work without abiding by the terms of the GPL (for instance, by keeping the source code secret), they can be sued by the original author under copyright law.

The copyleft thus uses copyright law to accomplish the opposite of its usual purpose: instead of imposing restrictions, it grants rights to other people, in a way that ensures the rights cannot subsequently be taken away. This is the reason the GPL has been described as a "copyright hack". It also ensures that unlimited redistribution rights are not granted, should any legal flaw (or "bug") be found in the copyleft statement.

Many distributors of GPLed programs bundle the source code with the executables. An alternative method of satisfying the copyleft is to provide a written offer to provide the source code on a physical medium (such as a CD) upon request. In practice, many GPLed programs are distributed over the Internet, and the source code is made available over FTP. For Internet distribution, this complies with the license.

The copyleft only applies when a person seeks to redistribute the program. One is allowed to make private modified versions, without any obligation to divulge the modifications as long as the modified software is not distributed to anyone else. Note that the copyleft only applies to the software and not to its output (unless that output is itself a derivative work of the program); for example, a public web portal running a modified derivative of a GPLed content management system is not required to distribute its changes to the underlying software. However, it has been suggested that this be changed for version 3 of the GPL.

The GPL is a license

The GPL was designed as a license, rather than a contract.[citation needed] In some Common Law jurisdictions, the legal distinction between a license and a contract is an important one: contracts are enforceable by contract law, whereas the GPL, as a license, is enforced under the terms of copyright law.[citation needed] However, this distinction is not useful in the many jurisdictions where there are no differences between contracts and licenses, such as Civil Law systems.[citation needed]

Those who do not abide by or agree to the GPL's terms and conditions do not have permission, under copyright law, to copy or distribute GPL licensed software or derivative works. However, they may still use the software however they like.

Copyright holders

The text of the GPL is itself copyrighted, and the copyright is held by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). However, the FSF does not hold the copyright for a work released under the GPL, unless an author explicitly assigns copyrights to the FSF (which seldom happens except for programs that are part of the GNU project). Only the individual copyright holders have the authority to sue when a license violation takes place.

The FSF permits people to create new licenses based on the GPL, as long as the derived licenses do not use the GPL preamble without permission. This is discouraged, however, since such a license is generally incompatible with the GPL. (See the GPL FAQ for more information.)

Other licenses created by the GNU project include the GNU Lesser General Public License and the GNU Free Documentation License.

GPL-related disputes

A key dispute related to the GPL is whether or not non-GPL software can dynamically link to GPL libraries. The GPL is clear in requiring that all derivative works of GPLed code must themselves be GPLed. However, it is not clear whether an executable that dynamically links to a GPL library should be considered a derivative work. The free/open-source software community is split on this issue, with the FSF asserting that such an executable is indeed a derivative work, and other experts disagreeing. This is ultimately a question not of the GPL per se, but of how copyright law defines derivative works. In Galoob v. Nintendo the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals defined a derivative work as having "'form' or permanence" and noted that "the infringing work must incorporate a portion of the copyrighted work in some form," but there have been no clear court decisions to resolve this particular conflict.

A number of businesses use dual-licensing to distribute a GPL version and sell a proprietary license to companies wishing to combine the package with proprietary code, using dynamically linking or not. Examples of such companies include MySQL AB, Trolltech (Qt toolkit), Namesys (ReiserFS) and Red Hat (Cygwin). Since there is no record of anyone circumventing the GPL by dynamic linking and contesting when threatened with lawsuits by the copyright holder, the restriction appears de facto enforceable even if not yet proven de jure.

In 2002, MySQL AB sued Progress NuSphere for copyright and trademark infringement in United States district court. NuSphere had allegedly violated MySQL's copyright by linking code for the Gemini table type into the MySQL server. After a preliminary hearing before Judge Patti Saris on February 27, 2002, the parties entered settlement talks and eventually settled. At the hearing, Judge Saris "saw no reason" that the GPL would not be enforceable.

In August 2003, the SCO Group stated that they believed the GPL to have no legal validity, and that they intended to take up lawsuits over sections of code supposedly copied from SCO Unix into the Linux kernel. This was a problematic stand for them, as they had distributed Linux and other GPLed code in their Caldera OpenLinux distribution, and there is little evidence that they had any legal right to do so except under the terms of the GPL. For more information, see SCO-Linux controversies and SCO v. IBM.

In April 2004 the netfilter/iptables project was granted a preliminary injunction against Sitecom Germany by Munich District Court after Sitecom refused to desist from distributing Netfilter's GPLed software, allegedly in violation of the terms of the GPL. On July 2004, the German court confirmed this injunction as a final ruling against Sitecom. The court's justification for its decision exactly mirrored the predictions given earlier by the FSF's Eben Moglen:

Defendant has infringed on the copyright of plaintiff by offering the software 'netfilter/iptables' for download and by advertising its distribution, without adhering to the license conditions of the GPL. Said actions would only be permissible if defendant had a license grant... This is independent of the questions whether the licensing conditions of the GPL have been effectively agreed upon between plaintiff and defendant or not. If the GPL were not agreed upon by the parties, defendant would notwithstanding lack the necessary rights to copy, distribute, and make the software 'netfilter/iptables' publicly available.

This ruling was important because it was the first time that a court had confirmed that violating terms of the GPL was an act of copyright violation. However, the case was not as crucial a test for the GPL as some have concluded. In the case, the enforceability of GPL itself was not under attack. Instead, the court was merely attempting to discern if the license itself was in effect.

In May of 2005, Daniel Wallace filed suit against the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in the Southern District of Indiana, contending that the GPL is an illegal attempt to fix prices at zero. The suit was dismissed in March 2006, on the grounds that Wallace had failed to state a valid anti-trust claim; the court noted that "the GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers."[10] Wallace was denied the possibility of further amending his complaint, and was ordered to pay the FSF's legal expenses.

On September 6, 2006, the gpl-violations.org project prevailed in court litigation against D-Link Germany GmbH regarding D-Link's alleged inappropriate and copyright infringing use of parts of the Linux Operating System Kernel.[11] The judgement finally provided the on-record, legal precedent that the GPL is valid and legally binding, and that it will stand up in German court.

GPL compatibility

Many of the most common free software licenses, such as the original MIT/X license, the BSD license (in its current 3-clause form), and the LGPL, are "GPL-compatible". That is, their code can be combined with a GPLed program without conflict (the new combination would have the GPL applied to the whole). However, some open source software licenses are not GPL-compatible. Many have strongly advocated that open source software developers use only GPL-compatible licenses, because doing otherwise makes it difficult to reuse software in larger wholes.

Also see the List of software licenses for examples of compatible and incompatible licenses.

Criticism

In contrast with proprietary software and their end-user licenses (EULA), the GPL makes offering the source code a necessary obligation. The license weakens the ability to grant end-users the right to copy or use the software for a limited number of computers. There are also no protections in the GPL from activities normally permitted by copyright laws, such as reverse engineering. Such agreements can be made between parties, but a party can avoid such agreements by receiving the GPL work elsewhere.

In 2001 Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer referred to Linux as "a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."[12] Critics of Microsoft claim that the real reason Microsoft dislikes the GPL is because the GPL resists proprietary vendors' attempts to "embrace, extend and extinguish".[13] Note that Microsoft has released Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX which contains GPL-licensed code.

The GPL has been described as being "viral" by many of its critics, because the GPL terms require that all derived works must in turn be licensed under the GPL.[14] This is part of a philosophical difference between the GPL and permissive free software licenses such as the BSD-style licenses, which put fewer restrictions on derived works. While proponents of the GPL believe that free software should ensure that its freedoms are preserved in derivative works, others believe that free software should give its users the maximum freedom to redistribute it as they wish.

The primary difference between the GPL and more "permissive" free software licenses such as the BSD License is that the GPL seeks to ensure that the freedoms of the free software definition are preserved in copies and in derivative works. It does this using a legal mechanism known as copyleft, invented by Stallman, which requires derivative works of GPL-licensed programs to also be licensed under the GPL. In contrast, BSD-style licenses allow for derivative works to be redistributed as proprietary software.

Common misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about the GPL and what it requires or permits. The more common include:

Modifying GPL source code requires redistribution 
The GPL does not actually force copyright owners to do anything with code they own, such as release it under the GPL. This requirement arises only when the new project is "distributed" to third parties.[15] If the resulting software is kept only for use by the modifier, no disclosure of source code is required. The GPL is automatically revoked upon any violation of its terms, but copyright owners of works licensed with the GPL are free to negotiate alternate terms with authors of derived works. Amongst others, independent software consultant Ted Roche has noted that dual-licensing is becoming more common.[16] This is where software licensed under the GPL can be made available under a proprietary software license for a fee, allowing others to create derived works without licensing them under the GPL.
Charging money is not allowed
The GPL expressly permits one to sell copies of GPL-covered works and charge a download fee for them. Purchasing rather than downloading may make sense from a convenience standpoint, but it does not change either the purchaser's or vendor's rights or responsibilities under the GPL. In fact, licenses that only allow non-commercial distribution are automatically incompatible with the GPL.

Notes

  1. ^ Presentation by Richard Stallman, made on April 21, 2006, at the second international GPLv3 conference, held in Porto Alegre. Direct link to the section about the prehistory of the GPL.
  2. ^ Presentation by Richard Stallman, made on April 21, 2006, at the second international GPLv3 conference, held in Porto Alegre. Direct link to the section about the "Liberty or Death" clause.
  3. ^ a b Presentation by Richard Stallman on February 25, 2006 in Brussels, Belgium - the first day of that year's FOSDEM conference.
  4. ^ At Your Request, the GPLv2-GPL3 Chart
  5. ^ http://gplv3.fsf.org/gpl3-dd1to2-markup-rationale.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3/diff-draft1-draft2.en.html
  7. ^ Second Discussion Draft of Revised GNU General Public License Released
  8. ^ http://lwn.net/Articles/200422/
  9. ^ Overview of GPL v3 Changes, presentation made on June 22, 2006 at the third international GPLv3 conference, organised by FSFE in Barcelona
  10. ^ Dismissal of Wallace v. FSF. From this article on Groklaw.
  11. ^ http://gpl-violations.org/news/20060922-dlink-judgement_frankfurt.html
  12. ^ Newbart, Dave. "Microsoft CEO takes launch break with the Sun-Times", Chicago Sun-Times, June 1, 2001.(Internet archive link)
  13. ^ "Deadly embrace", The Economist, 2000-03-30. Retrieved on 2006-03-31.
  14. ^ "Speech Transcript - Craig Mundie, The New York University Stern School of Business", Prepared Text of Remarks by Craig Mundie, Microsoft Senior Vice President, The Commercial Software Model The New York University Stern School of Business May 3, 2001
  15. ^ http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLRequireSourcePostedPublic
  16. ^ Roche makes the point in FoxTalk, May 2003. Another consultant, Rich Voder, also makes the point in Open Source: Tree Museums, Fri 12.30.2005.

See also

 
  • GNU Free Documentation License
  • Dual licensing
  • BSD and GPL licensing
  • GNU Lesser General Public License
  • GNAT Modified General Public License
  • GNU General Public License Discussion Draft 1 of Version 3
  • BSD License
  • Mozilla Public License
  • List of software licenses
  • Glossary of legal terms in technology

External links

Official webpages

  • GNU General Public License v2.0
  • GNU General Public License v1.0 - This version is deprecated
  • GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the GPL

Other webpages

  • Summary of the GPL v2.0 from the Creative Commons
  • GPLMedicine.org an advocacy site for the GPL in health-related software
  • History of the GPL
  • Groklaw: The GPL is a license, not a contract
  • The German GPL Order - Translated
  • Groklaw: FSF Moves to Dismiss Wallace and for Stay on Filing Briefs on Summary Judgment Motion, June 22, 2005
  • Enforcing the GNU GPL by Eben Moglen, September 10, 2001
  • IBM's motion containing case law backing legitimacy and legality of the GPL
  • Groklaw GPL References
  • GNU General Public License and Commentaries - Edited by Robert Chassell.
  • Make Your Open Source Software GPL-Compatible. Or Else. (David A. Wheeler, 7 April 2004) — why a GPL-compatible license is important to the health of a project
  • "Toward True Open Source" - an article about why the GPL is allegedly too restrictive
  • Patent risks of open source software - explains the patent license grant in the GPL
  • "Ballmer: 'Linux is a cancer'" by Thomas C Greene, The Register, June 2, 2001
  • NOVELL: The GPL: Understanding the License that Governs Linux - This article explains one view of the GPL in easy terms, talks about static vs. dynamic linking and the GPL, and discusses why companies like Microsoft may "fear" the license.
  • SOFTPANORAMA: Labyrinth of Software Freedom - Nikolai Bezroukov's e-book about BSD, GPL and social aspects of free licensing
  • Viral Contracts or Unenforceable Documents? Contractual Validity of Copyleft Licenses - Article looking at the GPL from an European perspective.
  • GPL-Violations.org - website monitoring the net for GPL violations
  • Can Technical Tricks Circumvent the GPL?, by Richard Stallman
  • 10 common misunderstandings about the GPL by Bruce Byfield in the IT Manager's Journal
  • GPL, BSD, and NetBSD - why the GPL rocketed Linux to success by David A. Wheeler

GPLv3 and the public consultation

  • A transcript of FSF's January 16th, 2006, presentation of the changes they propose from GPLv2 to v3
  • A transcript of Richard Stallman speaking in Brussels on February 25th, 2006, about version three of the GPL
  • A transcript of presentation by Richard Stallman about the proposed changes to the GPL for version three, Turin, Italy, March 18th 2006
  • Information about the public process for drafting version three of the GPL, from FSF-Europe
  • GPLv3 presentation by Richard Stallman, April 21st 2006
  • A law review article arguing that GPLv3's changes will compromise its enforceability
  • Audio and video recordings of a 2-day GPLv3 event, Barcelona, June 22 2006
    • A transcript of Richard Stallman's presentation
    • A transcript of Eben Moglen's presentation
  • A transcript of Richard Stallman, with Q&A, from GPLv3 conference in Bangalore, August 23, 2006
  • A transcript of Richard Stallman at 5th international GPLv3 conference, Tokyo, November 21, 2006
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