why are there so many different versions of the gpl

god, do you want to know why? it’s because the guys writing it spend their weekends fighting ghosts in the home depot parking lot in the nude. they have no tangible connection to reality in any sense, it is a god damn miracle the GPLs are written in english and not moon runes or martian hieroglyphics

let me explain what happened with the GPL

first there was GPL 1.0 written by a real famous weirdo who will not be mentioned. it states that you are basically not allowed to sell, link against, fork, or speak about licensed code unless you subscribe to the same zealot cult as the aforementioned. it outlines this in about four hundred trillion words

people started to pick up the GPL with the whole linux thing happening in the 90s, and eventually some lawyers sat down to try and tame the GPL’s schitzo scribblings. they came up with the GPL 2.0, which wasn’t much different from 1.0 except the some extra injected craziness literally called the ‘liberty or death’ clause. it somehow states that if a judge or a CEO or the president makes some kind of unilateral ruling that previously-GPL’d code must be distributed in a non-zealot-cult-conforming way, that it could not be distributed at all. yeah. good luck

people started to catch on the absolute insanity of the GPL, started to see how it injected itself into codebases and infected other code, making previously permissively-licensed code have to go GPL to meet publishing/shipping requirements (uh oh! can’t put this GPL shit on the same CD as driver blobs!). so they developed the LGPL. the “lesser GPL”. yeah. it’s pretty much an admit of defeat short of just using an MIT/BSD license (they’d never do that)

FINALLY in like 2007 or something they decided to get even crazier with it, made the GPL 3.0 which reads like, well, go to a college campus and stand in front of the guy with a sign over his chest shouting about the apocalypse and ants in his brain and whatnot and you’ll get a pretty good idea

throughout all of this there have been numerous sub-versions, like the GPL 2.1 or whatever and they have all been due to shortsighted fuck-ups. just what you’d expect

god, i hate the GPL