General Public License or GPL refers to a free, copyleft license that allows users to change and share all versions of a program. It was originally created by Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), in 1989.
Understanding the term
General Public License (GPL) is a free-to-use, copyleft license for software written originally for the GNU project. With it, anyone can freely use, read, copy, modify, share or distribute a computer program or any kind of related work.
The term copyleft is different from copyright as the GPL allows for derivative works to be published but distributed under the same license as the original work. As a result, users cannot use GPL-licensed software and release a derivative work under another license.
GPL licenses are used widely for the distribution of free and open-source software such as the GNU Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, and the Linux kernel. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, Ethereum is licensed under two licenses – the General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) and the Lesser General Public License version 3 (LGPLv3).
The General Public License is a widely used free software license that guarantees users the capability to run, study, share and modify a particular software program. The general public license allows owners of software programs to sell copies and distribute them for free. However, licensees must follow the designated terms and conditions of the General Public License.