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[FSF mascott: Gnu] Glossary - GPL - GNU General Public License

The GPL is a widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU project.  The GPL is a well-known example of the type of strong copyleft license that requires derived works to be available by the terms of the same copyleft license.  Under this philosophy, the GPL is said to grant 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 works are changed.  This is in distinction to permissive free software licences, of which the commonly used BSD licences serve as standard examples.

Many controversial debates have ensued over the various licensing schemes that have been introduced in recent years.  For example, one common interpretation is that the GPL ensures the software itself is granted certain irrevokable freedoms, while in contrast the BSD license provides more freedoms to authors and contributors.

Complete information about the GNU General Public License is available at the official GNU web site:

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