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Last update: 2007-09-14

End: 2007-01


GNU Public Licence v3 Development and Publicity Project

GPL version 3

Written by Richard M. Stallman, the founder of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation, the GNU General Public License ("the GPL") is the Constitution and central license of the Free Software movement, securing users' rights to freely study, copy, modify, reuse, share and redistribute software.

The GPL builds upon the ethical and scientific principle of free, open and collaborative improvement of human knowledge, which was central to the rapid evolution of areas like mathematics, physics, or biology, and adapts it to the area of information technology.

By now, the GPL is employed by tens of thousands of software projects, companies and governments around the world, and is supported by large communities of software developers and users who wish to share their work for the benefit of all.

The GNU system, the Linux kernel, Samba, MySQL, and many thousands of other GPL'd programs, offer high technological quality as well as political and economic independence and sustainability. GPL'd software runs on or is embedded in devices ranging from cellphones, PDAs and home networking appliances to mainframes and supercomputing clusters. Independent software developers around the world, as well as every large corporate IT buyer and seller, and a surprisingly large proportion of individual users, interact with the GPL.

The current version of the license, which was written in 1991 and is now 14 years old, has become central to the activities and operation of a large part of all companies and governments and is now in need of review.

The development of version 3 of this licence will bring together thousands of organizations, software developers, and software users from around the globe during 2006, in an effort to update the worlds most popular Free Software license. The GPLv3 promises to be one of the largest participatory comments and adoption efforts ever undertaken.

The global process will be overseen by the Free Software Foundation with support from its legal counsel the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). Free Software Foundation Europe will be coordinating the European activities closely with both organizations and contributing to the global communication effort.

Project GPLv3

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