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GIMP License Upgraded to GPL Version 3

#1 User is offline   saulgoode 

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:26 AM

The GIMP development team has announced that the next GIMP version (2.8 ) will be changing the license under which its released from General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) so that is now offered under GPL version 3. The licensing of the GIMP libraries has likewise been updated from the Lesser General Public License LGPLv2.1 to LGPLv3.

This change in licensing should have very little effect on users of GIMP and for the most part is an update in order to address changes in technology since the original license was updated nearly 20 years ago, as well as to clarify some of the ambiguities in the wording of GPLv2. The new version of the license is also more international in nature, whereas the previous license employed some concepts and words that have a different meaning under U.S. copyright law than they do in other countries.

You will still be permitted to install and use as many copies as you like without any obligation -- you don't even have to read the license to do this. The license change has no effect on how you personally use GIMP.

You are also still permitted to give away copies to other people, just as you've always been. There has been a slight change in the conditions placed on your giving away copies but that is more of a wording change to address the modern technology of the Internet and peer-to-peer filesharing. Basically, under the new license you are more free to give away copies.

The changes in the licensing will have some effect on anyone who is distributing GIMP commercially, or on developers who make improvements to GIMP and then share those improvements. For such developers and contributors, the new licensing adds some conditions such as not being permitted to add DRM to GIMP and not being able to demand patent royalties from users.

The same basic philosophy of the original licensing still holds true: everyone should be allowed to use GIMP and share it freely with others, and anyone who makes improvements to GIMP should share those improvements. This philosophy, and the GPL licensing which promotes it, is why GIMP has grown into such a useful program and will continue to become increasingly useful as time goes.
Everybody makes their own fun. If you don't make it yourself it's not fun, it's entertainment.

#2 User is offline   Griatch 

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:02 PM

Interesting and good to know even though it might not have any direct effect on regular users.

It would never have occurred to me that a commercial entity might ever add DRM to their redistribution of GIMP (or that it was possible with the old licence?), but in today's world it's certainly better safe than sorry.

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