"viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)

Ian Lance Taylor ian at airs.com
Wed Apr 6 17:30:08 UTC 2005

"Anderson, Kelly" <KAnderson at dentrix.com> writes:

> As a relative newbie to the open source concept, I actually appreciate
> the term viral as I find it more descriptive of what the GPL is all
> about than the more obscure term "copyleft". In my ignorance, I
> initially thought that GPL code could be used in any way, including to
> create commercial for profit software. I just figured if I found any
> bugs, or improved the code I was originally given, I would give it back
> to the original author to do with what he wanted. When I heard the term
> viral, I "got it" and understood the underlying premise more clearly.

A more neutral term is "reciprocal."

And, just to keep up with vocabulary discussions, GPL code can be used
to create commercial for profit software, and often is.  What you can
not do is incorporate GPL code into a proprietary software package
which you then distribute to other people.


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