Re: GPL , what does it mean? -- the name that is.
LB> Was "general" a common term in licenses then? It does seem that
LB> general (, generally) are regularly used by Mr. Stallman,
LB> What about "public"? Were "public licenses" common?
"Public" is a common legal term indeed. It is used for agreements.
"Public license" is a particular case of "public agreement".
Conceptually agreement consists of an offer and an accept. Public
offer is an offer to anybody who can receive it. The simplest example
of a public offer is a price tag in a shop. Any person who have read
this price tag can give money and take the product. Any person who
agree with the terms of license agreement can install program and use
it. If offer is public the agreement is also named public.
But "public license" in GPL has another meaning too. It is the public
offer not for users only but for developers too. It is the offer to
join Free Software Community, develop Free Software and publish it
under the terms of GPL. It is impossible to distinguish this two
meanings in the case of GPL because every user might be a developer.
Every human being in the world have the same rights to use, modify
(i.e. became an author!) and distribute software after it's
publication under the GPL. It is "more public" license than, for
example, Microsoft EULA is.
*"Every license is public but GPL is more public than others". Almost*
As far as I know "general" is a common term in anglosaxon law too,
but I remember nothing about it's meaning, sorry. I am from Russia and
our law is continental:-)).