The subroutines in the GNU Scientific Library are “free software”; this means that everyone is free to use them, and to redistribute them in other free programs. The library is not in the public domain; it is copyrighted and there are conditions on its distribution. These conditions are designed to permit everything that a good cooperating citizen would want to do. What is not allowed is to try to prevent others from further sharing any version of the software that they might get from you.
Specifically, we want to make sure that you have the right to share copies of programs that you are given which use the GNU Scientific Library, that you receive their source code or else can get it if you want it, that you can change these programs or use pieces of them in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.
To make sure that everyone has such rights, we have to forbid you to deprive anyone else of these rights. For example, if you distribute copies of any code which uses the GNU Scientific Library, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code, both to the library and the code which uses it. And you must tell them their rights. This means that the library should not be redistributed in proprietary programs.
Also, for our own protection, we must make certain that everyone finds out that there is no warranty for the GNU Scientific Library. If these programs are modified by someone else and passed on, we want their recipients to know that what they have is not what we distributed, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on our reputation.
The precise conditions for the distribution of software related to the GNU Scientific Library are found in the GNU General Public License (see GNU General Public License). Further information about this license is available from the GNU Project webpage Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU GPL,
The Free Software Foundation also operates a license consulting service for commercial users (contact details available from http://www.fsf.org/).