Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service provided by Google. Users may access Gmail as secure webmail, as well as via POP3 or IMAP4 protocols. Gmail was launched as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004 and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007, though still in beta status at that time. The service was upgraded from beta status on July 7, 2009, along with the rest of the Google Apps suite.
An open source license is a copyright license for computer software that allows the source code to be freely, that is by anyone for any purpose, used, modified and shared. This allows end users to review and modify the source code for their own customization, curiosity or troubleshooting needs.