> So if I take the wrong pill, I'm trapped inside the huge
> imaginary Gnu.
That's a strange way to look at it :)
What the GPL and LGPL do is wrap the software in a licence that basically
says that one can not "undo" what the original author did by making his
or her code free. Without these terms, one is free to take the software,
modify it, but keep the modifications proprietary.
In simple terms, it ensures that the software can't be hijacked.
Now, it is popular belief that the GPL prevents commercial exploitation.
That is totally wrong, though some heavy weight company tries to make
people believe that. In fact, Richard Stallman himself has been selling
his editor Emacs.
In addition, as an author, you can't be "trapped" inside the GPL. The
GPL and LGPL prevents one from stealing code made freely available to
them. If you make some of your code available under the GPL, you may
at some later date choose to release another version under another
license (or even with no license, as public domain). This is your right
because this is your code.
Basically, the GPL is here to help you ensure that if you provide people
with your work, some can't take it away from these people.
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overrides all text-only settings.