GPL or General Public License refers to a type of Open Source Software or OSS license that was developed by the Free Software Fondation or FSF with the goal of promoting high-quality free software. There are multiple OSS licenses that developers can publish under if they want to – not all of them mandate that the software created under them is also free, while the GPL does.
Technipages Explains General Public License (GPL)
Software created under said license IS copyrighted to its owners, but it grants permission to copy, examine, modify and re-distribute the software, all on one condition – whatever changed new version is created, it needs to have the same license conditions as the original. That means that it’s not legal to incorporate part or all of GPL-licensed codes from incorporating it in paid or commercial products. It also can’t be distributed without access to the source code.
Other OSS licenses have different conditions, especially relating to the use in commercial projects. The point of the GPL license was to create effective, high-quality free software that improves over time – good changes implemented by users occasionally find their way into the base product, if they offer an improvement on the original version. Whether they do or not though, a user that has a modified version is allowed to manipulate the software for their own use however they see fit. GPL software can offer an alternative to pricy paid products like imagine manipulation software, or even word processing programs.
Common Uses of General Public License (GPL)
- GPL-licensed software can be redistributed, as long as the new version is released under the same license.
- Although other types of OSS allow for the software to be changed and then sold, GPL does not.
- The creation of the GPL license was supposed to promote the availability of free software.
Common Misuses of General Public License (GPL)
- GPL licenses protect software from being illegally reproduced.