24 Facts About GNU GPL


David A Wheeler argues that the copyleft provided by the GPL was crucial to the success of Linux-based systems, giving the programmers who contributed to the kernel the assurance that their work would benefit the whole world and remain free, rather than being exploited by software companies that would not have to give anything back to the community.

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Version 1 of the GNU GPL, released on 25 February 1989, prevented what were then the two main ways that software distributors restricted the freedoms that define free software.

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Terms and conditions of the GNU GPL must be made available to anybody receiving a copy of the work that has a GNU GPL applied to it .

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However, software running as an application program under a GNU GPL-licensed operating system such as Linux is not required to be licensed under GNU GPL or to be distributed with source-code availability—the licensing depends only on the used libraries and software components and not on the underlying platform.

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Fifth section of version 3 states that no GNU GPL-licensed code shall be considered an effective "technical protection measure" as defined by Article 11 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, and that those who convey the work waive all legal power to prohibit circumvention of the technical protection measure "to the extent such circumvention is effected by exercising rights under this License with respect to the covered work".

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Distribution rights granted by the GNU GPL for modified versions of the work are not unconditional.

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In October 2021 SFC sued Vizio over breach of contract as an end user to request source code to Vizio's TVs, a federal judge has ruled in the interim that the GNU GPL is an enforceable contract by end users as well as a license for copyright holders.

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Text of the GNU GPL is itself copyrighted, and the copyright is held by the Free Software Foundation.

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Free Software Foundation created the LGNU GPL, which is nearly identical to the GNU GPL, but with additional permissions to allow linking for the purposes of "using the library".

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GNU GPL further argues on his firm's website that such "market-based" factors are more important than the linking technique.

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In May 2005, Daniel Wallace filed suit against the Free Software Foundation in the Southern District of Indiana, contending that the GNU GPL is an illegal attempt to fix prices .

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The suit was dismissed in March 2006, on the grounds that Wallace had failed to state a valid antitrust claim; the court noted that "the GNU GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers".

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On 8 September 2005, the Seoul Central District Court ruled that the GNU GPL was not material to a case dealing with trade secrets derived from GNU GPL-licensed work.

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Defendants argued that since it is impossible to maintain trade secrets while being compliant with GNU GPL and distributing the work, they are not in breach of trade secrets.

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The judgment stated that the GNU GPL is valid, legally binding, and stands in German court.

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Cisco settled the case six months later by agreeing "to appoint a Free Software Director for Linksys" to ensure compliance, "to notify previous recipients of Linksys products containing FSF programs of their rights under the GNU GPL, " to make source code of FSF programs freely available on its website, and to make a monetary contribution to the FSF.

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In 2011, it was noticed that GNU Emacs had been accidentally releasing some binaries without corresponding source code for two years, in opposition to the intended spirit of the GPL, resulting in a copyright violation.

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Artifex offers two licenses for Ghostscript; one is the Affero GNU GPL License and the other is a commercial license.

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Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley found the GNU GPL license was an enforceable contract and Hancom was in breach of contract.

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GNU GPL is incompatible with many application digital distribution systems, like the Mac App Store, and certain other software distribution platforms .

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In other cases, such as the Ubuntu App Store, proprietary commercial software applications and GNU GPL-licensed applications are both available via the same system; the reason that the Mac App Store is incompatible with GNU GPL-licensed apps is not inherent in the concept of an app store, but is rather specifically due to Apple's terms-of-use requirement that all apps in the store utilize Apple DRM restrictions.

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The Hyper-V code that is part of the submitted code used open-source components licensed under the GNU GPL and was originally statically linked to proprietary binary parts, the latter being inadmissible in GNU GPL-licensed software.

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In other words, the GNU GPL is well suited for use as a marketing weapon, potentially reducing overall economic benefit and contributing to monopolistic behavior" and that the GNU GPL can "present a real problem for those wishing to commercialize and profit from software.

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Open source would be succeeding faster if the GNU GPL didn't make lots of people nervous about adopting it.

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