I find the current version of the GPL to be relatively short and easy to read. However, some people seem to see a wall of text and cannot get through it. Thus we have many questions asked here that are specifically addressed in the text. People don't seem to have the attention span for 14 screenfulls of text.

The Apache license has a terrific summary on the webpage for the license:

It allows you to:

  • freely download and use Apache software, in whole or in part, for personal, company internal, or commercial purposes;

  • use Apache software in packages or distributions that you create.

It forbids you to:

  • redistribute any piece of Apache-originated software without proper attribution;

  • use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that the Foundation endorses your distribution;

  • use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that you created the Apache software in question.

It requires you to:

  • include a copy of the license in any redistribution you may make that includes Apache software;

  • provide clear attribution to The Apache Software Foundation for any distributions that include Apache software.

It does not require you to:

  • include the source of the Apache software itself, or of any modifications you may have made to it, in any redistribution you may assemble that includes it;

  • submit changes that you make to the software back to the Apache Software Foundation (though such feedback is encouraged).

Is there a similar list of bullet points compiled for the GPL or other FOSS licenses, such as MIT?

  • 2
    The MIT license wouldn't need it, any explanation would be longer than the license itself. Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 13:19
  • @curiousdannii: The WTFPL too.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


The GPL is a much more intricate license than the Apache license, and the MIT/Expat license is much simpler.

The MIT License reads

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

It's too short to usefully make a point by point list.

The GPL is more intricate than the Apache license, which may not be as suitable for a bulleted list approach. The FSF releases a FAQ, which is something. Some others have attempted to do this though, for example tldrlegal tries to do so for many licenses. It's overview of the GPLv3 is here: https://tldrlegal.com/license/gnu-general-public-license-v3-(gpl-3)

Such a list is no replacement for the actual license text, but may give you a quick idea.

  • Thank you Martijn, that list is exactly what I was looking for.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 9:01

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