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What is GPL, and why is it so important?


User of Joomla, you probably know that Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS) that is licensed under the GPL version 2 or later as are the extensions published in the Joomla! Extensions Directory (JED).
But did you ask yourself about the main reasons for this choice and the impact on Joomla and its extensions?

GPL stands for the GNU General Public License. It is a widely used open-source software license that was created by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to ensure that software remains free and open for users to use, modify, and distribute. The GPL also requires that any derivative works or modifications made to the software must also be licensed under the GPL, ensuring that the software remains open and free.

Some key points about the GPL include:

  • Freedom to use: Users are free to use software licensed under the GPL for any purpose.
  • Freedom to modify: Users can modify the source code of GPL-licensed software to suit their needs.
  • Freedom to distribute: Users can distribute copies of the software to others, either in its original form or as modified versions, provided they also adhere to the GPL and make the source code available.
  • Copyleft: The GPL's copyleft provisions ensure that any modifications or derivative works based on GPL-licensed software must also be licensed under the GPL, thus preserving the open and free nature of the software.

Using the GPL is particularly important for Joomla users for several reasons:

Freedom to Use, Modify and Distribute

Joomla users have the freedom to use the software for any purpose, including building websites, blogs, e-commerce sites, and more. You can modify the Joomla or extensions code to customize and extend its functionality to meet specific needs.
You also can create your own version of an extension, based on an existing GPL one, and distribute it, as long as you respect GPL rules ( especially Copyleft one )

Community Collaboration

Joomla's GPL license encourages a vibrant and collaborative community of developers, designers, and users who work together to improve the CMS. Anyone can contribute to Joomla's development, which has led to the creation of numerous extensions, templates, and add-ons that enhance its capabilities.


Because Joomla is GPL-licensed, it is freely available to anyone. This lowers the barriers to entry for individuals and organizations that may not have the resources to invest in proprietary CMS solutions.

Longevity and Sustainability

The GPL ensures the long-term sustainability of Joomla as an open-source project. It prevents any single entity from making Joomla's code proprietary and guarantees that the software will remain open and available for the Joomla community and future generations of users.

Compatibility and Integration

Joomla's GPL license allows it to be integrated with other open-source software and technologies. This flexibility enables users to create a wide range of web applications and services by combining Joomla with other open-source tools.

Legal Assurance 

The GPL provides a clear legal framework for Joomla users, developers, and contributors. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of users and ensures that the software remains open and free.

Vendor Neutrality

Joomla users are not tied to a single vendor or service provider. They have the freedom to choose from a variety of hosting providers, extensions, and services, fostering a competitive ecosystem and giving users more control over their websites.


In summary, the GPL's importance for Joomla users lies in the freedom it grants them to use, modify, and distribute Joomla software, the collaborative and supportive community it fosters, and the assurances it provides for the software's long-term sustainability and legal compliance. These benefits make Joomla an attractive choice for individuals and organizations looking to build and manage websites and web applications.

Freedom, Respect And Security

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