From Anarchy In Action

Brief Introduction to the GNU General Public License

Bradley Kuhn


GPL protects software freedom

Ultimate goal: make sure every user has the four freedoms

  • Freedom to run the software
  • Freedom to study and modify the software.
  • Freedom to share the software
  • Freedom to distribute modified versions

Every clause in GPL was designed to uphold one of these freedoms.

  • ...or, it's a compromise of drafting in "adoption v. freedom" debate

GPL is primarily a copyright license

  • Software is copyrighted
  • License grants key freedoms
  • Requirements prohibit activities that take away freedoms

General concept: copyleft Specific implementation: GPL

17 USC section 102