GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely-used free software license that provides users with the right to use, study, modify, and distribute software freely. It was written by Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and was first released in 1989.
The GPL is considered a copyleft license, which means that any derivative work of a GPL-licensed software must also be released under the same license. This ensures that the source code of the software remains freely available and can be modified and distributed by anyone.
The GPL is used by many popular open-source software projects, including the Linux operating system, the Apache web server software, and the WordPress content management system. The license has been widely adopted due to its strong protection of user freedom and its compatibility with other free software licenses.
One of the key features of the GPL is that it requires users to distribute the source code of any modified version of the software. This allows other users to benefit from the changes made to the software, and ensures that the software remains freely available for future generations.
The GPL also requires that users provide a copy of the license with any distribution of the software. This ensures that users are aware of their rights and obligations when using the software, and helps to protect the freedom of the software.
In summary, the GNU GPL is a widely-used and well-respected license that provides users with the freedom to use, modify, and distribute software. By using the GPL, developers can ensure that their software remains freely available and can be used and modified by anyone.