= G =
General Public Virus n.
Pejorative name for some
versions of the GNU project copyleft or General Public
License (GPL), which requires that any tools or apps
incorporating copylefted code must be source-distributed on the
same anti-proprietary terms as GNU stuff. Thus it is alleged
that the copyleft `infects' software generated with GNU tools,
which may in turn infect other software that reuses any of its
code. The Free Software Foundation's official position as of
January 1991 is that copyright law limits the scope of the GPL to
"programs textually incorporating significant amounts of GNU
code", and that the `infection' is not passed on to third
parties unless actual GNU source is transmitted. Nevertheless,
widespread suspicion that the copyleft language is
`boobytrapped' has caused many developers to avoid using GNU
tools and the GPL. Changes in the language of the version 2.0
GPL did not eliminate this problem.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.