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Developer(s) Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos
Simon Josefsson
Stable release

3.4.4 (August 10, 2015; 20 days ago (2015-08-10) [1]) [±]

3.3.17 (August 10, 2015; 20 days ago (2015-08-10) [1]) [±]
Preview release None
Written in C
Operating system Multi-platform
Type Security library
License LGPLv2.1+

GnuTLS (/ˈɡn ˌt ˌɛl ˈɛs/, the GNU Transport Layer Security Library) is a free software implementation of the TLS, SSL and DTLS protocols. It offers an application programming interface (API) for applications to enable secure communication over the network transport layer, as well as interfaces to access X.509, PKCS #12, OpenPGP and other structures. Originally created for the GNU Project, its maintainer disassociated it from GNU in December 2012 after disputes with the Free Software Foundation over certain policies.[2]


GnuTLS consists of:

  • a library that allows client applications to start secure sessions using the available protocols
  • command-line tools, including:
    • an X.509 certificate manager
    • test client and server
    • random key and password generators

As of 2011 administrators can configure Apache web server to use GnuTLS so as to support TLS 1.2.[3]

GnuTLS has the following features:

License and motivation[edit]

The GnuTLS library is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License; included applications use the GNU General Public License.

GnuTLS was initially created[by whom?] to allow applications of the GNU Project to use secure protocols such as TLS. Although OpenSSL already existed, OpenSSL's license is not compatible with the GPL;[6] thus software under the GPL, such as GNU software, could not use OpenSSL without making a GPL linking exception.


Software packages using GnuTLS include(d):

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "GnuTLS". 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  2. ^ Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos (2012-12-18). "gnutls is moving". Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  3. ^ The GNU Transport Layer Security Library
  4. ^ RFC 6091
  5. ^ The GnuTLS Transport Layer Security Library
  6. ^ Mark McLoughlin (2004-06-22). "The OpenSSL License and The GPL". Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  7. ^ a b c "GnuTLS - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Free Software Foundation. 22 May 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 

External links[edit]