Welcome to the wonderful world of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)!
QGIS is an Open Source Geographic Information System. The project was born in May of 2002 and was established as a project on SourceForge in June of the same year. We’ve worked hard to make GIS software (which is traditionally expensive proprietary software) a viable prospect for anyone with basic access to a Personal Computer. QGIS currently runs on most Unix platforms, Windows, and OS X. QGIS is developed using the Qt toolkit (http://qt.digia.com) and C++. This means that QGIS feels snappy to use and has a pleasing, easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI).
QGIS aims to be an easy-to-use GIS, providing common functions and features. The initial goal was to provide a GIS data viewer. QGIS has reached the point in its evolution where it is being used by many for their daily GIS data viewing needs. QGIS supports a number of raster and vector data formats, with new format support easily added using the plugin architecture.
QGIS is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Developing QGIS under this license means that you can inspect and modify the source code, and guarantees that you, our happy user, will always have access to a GIS program that is free of cost and can be freely modified. You should have received a full copy of the license with your copy of QGIS, and you also can find it in Appendix GNU General Public License.
The latest version of this document can always be found in the documentation area of the QGIS website at http://www.qgis.org/en/docs/