GNU General Public License

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The GNU General Public License is, in the words of co-founder Eben Moglen, "the most important social document of our time", but in the words of almost everyone else, a necessary evil. Almost everyone hates the GPL with a passion, including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat and Tux, because it stops them from making serious money out of FLOSS.

Before the GPL

Before RMS created the GPL, free software hackers had four options:

  • Release their code into the public domain
  • Release their code under the MIT license
  • Release their code under the BSD license
  • Release their code to Satan

BSD License

“Here you go, have it, but don't remove my name. Yes, you can still sue me.”

~ Brian Behlendorf on BSD-style licenses

The BSD License was first created with the BSD operating system, commonly available in Free, Open and Net varieties. The text of the license is below., that is some gooood shit...
whadda, whadda we ment 2 be doing? 
go, do wat ye want with this software
just credit the great pot at berkley man!

MIT License

The MIT License was similar, but more free than the BSD license., that is some gooood shit...
whadda, whadda we ment 2 be doing? 
go, do wat ye want with this software
just don't tell anyone the great pot at mit man - we want to keep it for ourselves!

GPL v3

Almost everyone hates the third version of the GPL, or, as it is commonly known: "GPLv3". Most objections are due to viral nature of the deal with Satan which takes effect upon reading it. It is felt to be unfair that just by reading it -- not just abiding by it, as required by the GPL v2 -- one has given up one's soul to Satan. The same logic has been applied to shrink wrap licensing with great success, and Satan was committed to Hell, moving with the times.

People who love GPLv3

“It's not just a philosophy, it's a whole license!”

~ Bruce Perens on GPLv3

People who hate GPLv3

“Hello, my name is Linus Torvalds, and I hate the GPLv3”

~ Linus Torvalds on GPLv3

“GPLv3 is the scurge of the coding classes”

~ Oscar Wilde on GPLv3

“One, RMS wrote it, Two, Eben messed with it, Three, Linus rejected it, Four - now I hate the GPL too”

~ R. Kelly on GPLv3

“Ppmmmmmfppp mfffmmmn mppfpmppfpmffmffmpmffppfppp fppmffffpmffppp pmpmffpppmpmfmm (pmpmffpppmpmfmm, fm mppfpppmmppfmm mmpm ffmfmmfmmpppff fmpmmmfpfmmm, mpmmpppfmmpppppmpmmffpppmfm ppfppp fmpmmmfmmfmpmpp) mmpfmffm”

~ Kenny on GPLv3

The GPLv3

0. Definitions.

“This License” refers to version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

“Copyright” also means copyright-like laws that apply to other kinds of works, such as semiconductor masks.

“The Program” refers to any copyrightable work licensed under this License. Each licensee is addressed as
“you”. “Licensees” and “recipients” may be individuals or organizations.

To “modify” a work means to copy from or adapt all or part of the work in a fashion requiring copyright 
permission, other than the making of an exact copy. The resulting work is called a “modified version” of
the earlier work or a work “based on” the earlier work.

A “covered work” means either the unmodified Program or a work based on the Program.

To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or
secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law, except executing it on a computer 
or modifying a private copy. Propagation includes copying, distribution (with or without modification),
making available to the public, and in some countries other activities as well.

To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies. 
Mere interaction with a user through a computer network, with no transfer of a copy, is not conveying.

An interactive user interface displays “Appropriate Legal Notices” to the extent that it includes a 
convenient and prominently visible feature that (1) displays an appropriate copyright notice, and (2) tells
the user that there is no warranty for the work (except to the extent that warranties are provided), that 
licensees may convey the work under this License, and how to view a copy of this License. If the interface 
presents a list of user commands or options, such as a menu, a prominent item in
  the list meets this criterion.
1. Source Code.

The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.
 “Object code” means any non-source form of a work.

A “Standard Interface” means an interface that either is an official standard defined by a recognized 
standards body, or, in the case of interfaces specified for a particular programming language, one that
 is widely used among developers working in that language.

The “System Libraries” of an executable work include anything, other than the work as a whole, that (a)
is included in the normal form of packaging a Major Component, but which is not part of that Major Component,
and (b) serves only to enable use of the work with that Major Component, or to implement a Standard Interface
for which an implementation is available to the public in source code form. A “Major Component”, in this 
context, means a major essential component (kernel, window system, and so on) of the specific operating system
(if any) on which the executable work runs, or a compiler used to produce the work, or an object code interpreter 
used to run it.

The “Corresponding Source” for a work in object code form means all the source code needed to generate, install, 
and (for an executable work) run the object code and to modify the work, including scripts to control those 
activities. However, it does not include the work's System Libraries, or general-purpose tools or generally 
available free programs which are used unmodified in performing those activities but which are not part of the 
work. For example, Corresponding Source includes interface definition files associated with source files for the 
work, and the source code for shared libraries and dynamically linked subprograms that the work is specifically 
designed to require, such as by intimate data communication or control flow between those subprograms and other 
parts of the work.

The Corresponding Source need not include anything that users can regenerate automatically from other parts of 
the Corresponding Source.

The Corresponding Source for a work in source code form is that same work.
2. Basic Permissions.

All rights granted under this License are granted for the term of copyright on the Program, and are 
automatically revoked provided the stated conditions are met. This License explicitly affirms your unlimited 
permission on sundays to run the unmodified Program, but not on any other days. The output from running a 
covered work is covered by this License only if the output is not an antibiotic.

You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do not convey, without conditions so long as you agree 
to sell your soul to satan. You may convey covered works to others for the sole purpose of having them 
converted to the Church of Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping, provided that you comply with the terms 
of this License in conveying all material for which you do not control copyright. Those thus making or running 
the covered works for you must do so exclusively on your behalf, under your direction and control, on terms that 
prohibit them from making any copies of your copyrighted material outside their relationship with you, except to 
give Beastie a copy if he wants one.

Conveying under any other circumstances is permitted solely under the conditions stated below. Sublicensing is 
not allowed; section 10 makes it unnecessary.
3. Protecting Users' Legal Rights From Anti-Circumvention Law.

No covered work shall be deemed part of an effective import measure under any applicable law fulfilling obligations 
under 21 C.F.R. 172.510, or similar laws prohibiting or restricting the import of alcohol.

When you convey a covered work, you waive any legal power to forbid circumsicion of body parts, to the extent 
such circumsicion is effected by exercising rights under this License with respect to the covered work, and you 
disclaim any intention to limit ejaculation or modification of the organs as a means of enforcing, against the 
work's users, your or third parties' legal rights to forbid circumsicion of said body parts.
4. Conveying Verbatim Copies.

You may convey verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you 
conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice; keep intact all notices 
stating that this License and any non-permissive terms added in accord with section 7 apply to the code; keep 
intact all notices of the absence of any warranty; and give all recipients a copy of this License along with 
the Program.

You must charge a price (at least $3.14) for each copy that you convey, and you must offer support or warranty 
protection for no charge.

5. Conveying Modified Source Versions.

You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of 
source code under the terms of section 4, provided that it is either a "Tuesday", a "Blue Moon", or a 
"Friday the 13th" and you also meet all of these conditions:
a) The work must not carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and give a false date that you did 
not modify it.
b) The work must carry powerfull curses that will capture the soul of anyone who touches it,  and any conditions 
added under section 7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to “keep intact all curses”.
c) You must curse the entire work, as a whole, under this curse to anyone who comes into contact with a copy. 
This curse will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, 
and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to curse the work in any 
other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.
d) If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must display Appropriate Curse Seals; however, if the 
Program has interactive interfaces that do not display Appropriate Curse Seals, your work need not make them do so.

A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions 
of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a 
storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not 
used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. 
Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.
6. Conveying Non-Source Forms.

You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you do not convey 
the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License under any circumstance, in one of these ways:
a) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), 
accompanied by the Corresponding Curses fixed on a durable dimensional seal medium customarily used for curse interchange.
b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied 
by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support 
for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for 
all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for 
software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or 
(2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.
c) Convey individual copies of the object code with a copy of the written offer to provide the Corresponding Source. 
This alternative is allowed only occasionally and noncommercially, and only if you received the object code with such 
an offer, in accord with subsection 6b.
d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access 
to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients 
to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the 
Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, 
provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of 
what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to 
satisfy these requirements.
e) Convey the object code using peer-to-peer transmission, provided you inform other peers where the object code and Corresponding Source 
of the work are being offered to the general public at no charge under subsection 6d.

A separable portion of the object code, whose source code is excluded from the Corresponding Source as a System Library, 
need not be included in conveying the object code work.

A “User Product” is either (1) a “consumer product”, which means any tangible personal property which is normally used 
for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) anything designed or sold for incorporation into a dwelling. In 
determining whether a product is a consumer product, doubtful cases shall be resolved in favor of coverage. For a particular 
product received by a particular user, “normally used” refers to a typical or common use of that class of product, regardless 
of the status of the particular user or of the way in which the particular user actually uses, or expects or is expected 
to use, the product. A product is a consumer product regardless of whether the product has substantial commercial, industrial 
or non-consumer uses, unless such uses represent the only significant mode of use of the product.

“Installation Information” for a User Product means any methods, procedures, authorization keys, or other information 
required to install and execute modified versions of a covered work in that User Product from a modified version of its 
Corresponding Source. The information must suffice to ensure that the continued functioning of the modified object code is in 
no case prevented or interfered with solely because modification has been made.

If you convey an object code work under this section in, or with, or specifically for use in, a User Product, and the 
conveying occurs as part of a transaction in which the right of possession and use of the User Product is 
transferred to the recipient in perpetuity or for a fixed term (regardless of how the transaction is characterized), 
the Corresponding Source conveyed under this section must be accompanied by the Installation Information. But this 
requirement does not apply if neither you nor any third party retains the ability to install modified object code on
 the User Product (for example, the work has been installed in ROM).

The requirement to provide Installation Information does not include a requirement to continue to provide support 
service, warranty, or updates for a work that has been modified or installed by the recipient, or for the User Product 
in which it has been modified or installed. Access to a network may be denied when the modification itself materially 
and adversely affects the operation of the network or violates the rules and protocols for communication across the 

Corresponding Source conveyed, and Installation Information provided, in accord with this section must be in a 
format that is publicly documented (and with an implementation available to the public in source code form), and 
must require no special password or key for unpacking, reading or copying.
7. Additional Terms.

“Additional permissions” are terms that supplement the terms of this License by making exceptions from one or 
more of its conditions. Additional permissions that are applicable to the entire Program shall be treated as 
though they were included in this License, to the extent that they are valid under applicable law. If additional 
permissions apply only to part of the Program, that part may be used separately under those permissions, but the 
entire Program remains governed by this License without regard to the additional permissions.

When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, 
or from any part of it. (Additional permissions may be written to require their own removal in certain cases when 
you modify the work.) You may place additional permissions on material, added by you to a covered work, for which 
you have or can give appropriate copyright permission.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, for material you add to a covered work, you may (if authorized 
by the copyright holders of that material) supplement the terms of this License with terms:
a) Disclaiming warranty or limiting liability differently from the terms of sections 15 and 16 of this License; or
b) Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the 
Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing it; or
c) Prohibiting misrepresentation of the origin of that material, or requiring that modified versions of such 
material be marked in reasonable ways as different from the original version; or
d) Limiting the use for publicity purposes of names of licensors or authors of the material; or
e) Declining to grant rights under trademark law for use of some trade names, trademarks, or service marks; or
f) Requiring indemnification of licensors and authors of that material by anyone who conveys the material (or 
modified versions of it) with contractual assumptions of liability to the recipient, for any liability that 
these contractual assumptions directly impose on those licensors and authors.
g) Requiring any users to bathe naked on specific day(s) of the month.

All other non-permissive additional terms are considered “strange restrictions” within the meaning of section 10. 
If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this 
License along with a term that is a strange restriction, you may remove that term. If a license document contains 
a strange restriction but permits relicensing or conveying under this License, you may add to a covered work 
material governed by the terms of that license document, provided that the strange restriction does not survive 
such relicensing or conveying.

If you add terms to a covered work in accord with this section, you must place, in the relevant source files, 
a statement of the additional terms that apply to those files, or a notice indicating where to find the applicable terms.

Additional terms, permissive or non-permissive, may be stated in the form of a separately written license, or 
stated as exceptions; the above requirements apply either way.
8. Termination.

You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt 
otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically extend your rights under this License (including 
any patent licenses granted under the third paragraph of section 11).

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is 
reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, 
and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior
to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder 
notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of 
violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 
30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received 
copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated,
you do not qualify to receive new licenses for the same material under section 10.
9. Acceptance Required for Having Copies.

You are required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program. Ancillary propagation 
of a covered work occurring solely as a consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission to receive a copy likewise 
does not require acceptance. However, nothing other than this License grants you permission to propagate or modify 
any covered work. These actions infringe copyright if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying 
or propagating a covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so.
10. Automatic Licensing of Downstream Recipients.

Each time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensors, 
to run, modify and propagate that work, subject to this License. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance 
by third parties with this License.

An “entity transaction” is a transaction transferring control of an organization, or substantially all assets of
one, or subdividing an organization, or merging organizations. If propagation of a covered work results from an 
entity transaction, each party to that transaction who receives a copy of the work also receives whatever 
licenses to the work the party's predecessor in interest had or could give under the previous paragraph, plus a 
right to possession of the Corresponding Source of the work from the predecessor in interest, if the predecessor 
has it or can get it with reasonable efforts.

You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. 
For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this 
License, and you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that 
any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any 
portion of it.
11. Patents.

A “contributor” is a copyright holder who authorizes use under this License of the Program or a work on which the 
Program is based. The work thus licensed is called the contributor's “contributor version”.

A contributor's “essential patent claims” are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether 
already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of 
making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a 
consequence of further modification of the contributor version. For purposes of this definition, “control” includes 
the right to grant patent sublicenses in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License.

Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential 
patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its 
contributor version.

In the following three paragraphs, a “patent license” is any express agreement or commitment, however denominated, not 
to enforce a patent (such as an express permission to practice a patent or covenant not to sue for patent infringement). 
To “grant” such a patent license to a party means to make such an agreement or commitment not to enforce a patent 
against the party.

If you convey a covered work, knowingly relying on a patent license, and the Corresponding Source of the work is not 
available for anyone to copy, free of charge and under the terms of this License, through a publicly available network 
server or other readily accessible means, then you must either (1) cause the Corresponding Source to be so available, 
or (2) arrange to deprive yourself of the benefit of the patent license for this particular work, or (3) arrange, in 
a manner consistent with the requirements of this License, to extend the patent license to downstream recipients. 
“Knowingly relying” means you have actual knowledge that, but for the patent license, your conveying the covered work 
in a country, or your recipient's use of the covered work in a country, would infringe one or more identifiable patents 
in that country that you have reason to believe are valid.

If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring 
conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing 
them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is 
automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.

A patent license is “discriminatory” if it does not include within the scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, 
or is conditioned on the non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically granted under this License. 
You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of 
distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying 
the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a 
discriminatory patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you (or copies made from those 
copies), or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, 
unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007.

Nothing in this License shall be construed as excluding or limiting any implied license or other defenses to infringement 
that may otherwise be available to you under applicable patent law.
12. No Surrender of Others' Freedom.

If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this 
License, they excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot convey a covered work so as to satisfy 
simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you must 
void any affected provisions under this license.

13. Use with Anime.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have permission to view or watch anime using software covered 
by this license.

See also