Subject: Re: Virus considered deprecative
From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 15:09:55 -0600 (MDT)

    license, and the properties of the GPL are well-known in the industry. I'd
    have to believe that people who accept the GPL are willingly entering
    a partnership unless they are simply not exercising due dilligence in
    reading a license. Those who accept it in error have the option to stop
    making improper use of it as soon as they are notified, rather than to
    release source code when that was not their intent.

This is the crucial point that where people have misunderstood the GNU
GPL.  The GPL cannot actually force anyone to release source code, it
just makes such release a condition for using our code.

The use of the GPL is inherited when you include existing GPL-covered
code in a larger work.  Describing the GPL as "viral" is inaccurate as
well as pejorative; it gives people a mistaken idea of what the GPL
does.  Other people have suggested words like "replicate" and
"propagate"; they are not insulting, but are still inaccurate.