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Institute for Legal Questions on Free and Open Source Software

IV. The GNU General Public License (GPL), Version 3

With which licenses is the GPLv3 compatible?

The GPLv3 is compatible with the following licenses (but not vice versa):

  • Apache License, Version 2
  • Affero General Public License, Version 3 (see sec. 13 of GPLv3)
  • Lesser General Public License, Versions 2, 2.1 and 3 (LGPL)
  • BSD license without the advertising clause
  • CeCILL (CONTRAT DE LICENCE DE LOGICIEL LIBRE CeCILL)
  • Artistic License 2.0
  • Zope Public License, Version 2.0 und 2.1

Note: This means OSS under a listed license can generally be used for creating OSS under GPLv3. It does not mean OSS under the GPLv3 may be incorporated into OSS which uses one of these licenses. » Weiter

When is GPLv2 used, and when is GPLv3 used?

License holders can choose if they want to use version 2 or version 3 of the software if the following reference is provided:

"this program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.”

If there is no reference to the license version, you can also choose between version 2 and version 3.
  » Weiter

What is the difference between GPLv2 and GPLv3?

GPLv3 of June 29, 2007 contains the basic intent of GPLv2 and is an Open Source license with a strict copyleft (→ What types of licenses are there for Open Source software, and how do they differ?)  However, the language of the license text was strongly amended and is much more comprehensive in response to technical and legal changes and international license exchange.

The new license version contains a series of clauses that address questions that were not or were only insufficiently covered in version 2 of the GPL.  The most important new regulations are as follows: » Weiter

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