GNU General Public License
This paper will consider the subject of the GNU General Public License Agreement (GNU GPL) now being widely used by many would be and professional software developers and/or their teams.
Traditionally, hardware is delivered with software of various types installed. No matter what the type of program or equipment, if it requires an operating system that is included. These days there are three major players in the operating system market. These players are Microsoft, Apple, and Unix/Linux. These operating systems and most software that is developed to run on these platforms require an affirmative agreement to the licensing agreement in order to install and/or run. This agreement is between the company and the consumer allowing the user to “use” the program but clearly states that the program is not the property of the consumer. The user is typically required to pay for the software and/or device thus providing compensation for the initial license agreement. Typically, the company developing and providing the software can and does offer different terms with regard to obtaining additional licensing agreements. Most terms and conditions state:
(1) the user is limited to using the software on one desktop and one portable (laptop) electronic device,
(2) the user has permission to make a backup copy of the software but no other copies may be made,
(3) the user may not share the program, and
(4) the user may not alter the program in any way.
The GNU General Public License Agreement
The GNU GPL, now becoming popular, takes a different approach to software licensing and development.
Under the GNU GPL the software developer provides the source code for the program and/or operating system. The developer does not guarantee or provide warranty for the product. The products utilizing this licensing method are typically provided free of charge but requests for a donation, should the user find the product worthy of...