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GPL, Copyleft Use Declining Fast 808

Posted by timothy
from the taking-great-liberties dept.
itwbennett writes "Use of the GPL, LGPL, and AGPL set of licenses is declining at an accelerating rate, according to new analysis by the 451 Group's Matthew Aslett. In fact, the 451 Group projects that GPL usage will hit 50% by September 2012. Instead, developers are licensing projects under permissive licenses such as the MIT, Apache (ASL), BSD, and Ms-PL. The shift started in 2007 and has been gathering momentum ever since. Blogger Brian Proffitt posits that 'the creation of the GPLv3 and the sometimes contentious discussion that led up to it' may be partly responsible for the move away from the GPL."
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GPL, Copyleft Use Declining Fast

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  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:38PM (#38409764)
    GPL caused too many problems for companies and tried to enforce all software to be open source. GPL itself was very restrictive license, and it's great to see more open licenses like BSD and Apache gaining usage fast.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:42PM (#38409786)

      I don't see why anyone would not want to use the GPL if they want their software to be free and open. Why create something, give it out for free, and then allow businesses to take your work, profit from it, and give nothing back? Maybe these developers are hoping to get bought out by a large company someday?

      • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:45PM (#38409808)

        Why create something, give it out for free, and then allow businesses to take your work, profit from it, and give nothing back?

        Because if you truly want to promote freedom and free code, you also have to let people to profit from it. Freedom isn't picking who gets to enjoy that "freedom" based on some rules.

        • by SharkLaser (2495316) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:47PM (#38409824) Journal
          Exactly. It's like saying you have freedom of speech but you can only say what I want to hear.
          • by ZankerH (1401751) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:04PM (#38410032)
            It's more like having freedom of speech, but anyone who feels like it can revoke it. GPL doesn't restrict freedom, it enforces freedom.
            • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:18PM (#38410162)

              It's more like having freedom of speech, but anyone who feels like it can revoke it. GPL doesn't restrict freedom, it enforces freedom.

              Yeah, except a company which decides to use and modify open source software without giving back does not revoke anyone else' right to the code... so, in other words, it's not like that at all.

              • by Squiddie (1942230) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:27PM (#38410278)
                I think the purpose of the GPL is to ensure that those that profit from your work also give back. Everyone needs to be paid, some of us just want to be paid in code. For that reason I use GPL, but BSD, MIT, Apache are all good, free, licenses, so I really don't see an issue here.
                • by Darinbob (1142669) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @05:05PM (#38411132)

                  What is "profit from" also? If I borrow some internationalization code as part of a huge project, this saves the company money from having to buy a propriety product perhaps. More likely though it means we don't implement it ourselves and have less bugs down the road than if we rolled our own. Now does that mean we profited and the original author now gets access to every single line of our code as the GPL would imply? Even if the code is proprietary and our competitors are anxious to get a peek at it? Even if various government agencies disallow giving away the code or allowing end user customization of the machines?

                  With GPL the return payment is that you must also be GPL in absolutely everything you do. With BSD the return payment is that you give recognition to the author and keep the copyright notices intact. The first type of payment is too high for most companies unless they've got a software model that fits (ie, dynamic libraries, separately loaded programs, kernel modules, multiple cpus). The second payment is much easier but many companies don't know of it and they associate all free or open source software as GPL tainted. So the result is many smaller companies reinvent small pieces of code or libraries all the time, not the result desired if the author wanted to share code.

                  • by Squiddie (1942230)
                    As long as you do not redistribute the code, then there is no problem. I like the BSD license, and for certain projects it just works better. I don't think that one should just use one or the other, but so far, I have only needed to use the GPL license. I don't believe either one is more "free." If companies want to be misinformed, then let them be misinformed.
                • I think the purpose of the GPL is to ensure that those that profit from your work also give back.

                  Its purpose is economic warfare [gnu.org] against all non-copyleft software, with the ultimate goal of world domination [kde.org] (eliminating non-free software).

                  • No, that's RMS goal. I personally like the gpl and have nothing against proprietary software, if it delivers enough value, it will always be there. Integration, vertical markets, efficient algorithms, and so on.

                    Proprietary stuff must have alternatives or we get back to the best win/office days. Bloated stuff, incompatibilities, forced obsolescence... that's what free software saved you from, even if you don't use it.

                • Noooo...RMS has said repeatedly the ultimate goal of GPL is to kill proprietary software. You can look up his "GPL VS LGPL" for just one example, but there are several others out there.

                  We're all adults here right? so lets cut to brass tacks gentlemen, RMS is a militant and seems to get more militant as he gets older. compare GPL V1 - V3 to see how he tries his damnedest to make sure there is NO way you can use GPL unless YOUR PROGRAM is likewise GPL. He also says this in his GPL VS LGPL essay.

                  You have to remember folks that old RMS doesn't see this as a software thing, he sees it as some "good VS evil" battle where you are either FOR him or AGAINST him, there is no shades of grey, no compromises. Now while he is perfectly within his right to hold that view i think the numbers show that most developers don't see the world that way, otherwise the change to GPL V3 would have saw an uptick not a nosedive.

                  While the rational thing to do would be to sit down with developers from all walks of life, talk to them to find out what they don't like about the current GPL, and then fix it, sadly the problem with zealotry is there isn't any room for compromises like that and honestly from reading the man's writings I doubt it'd bother him in the least if he was the only one using GPL as long as it remained 'pure'. Remember we are talking about a guy who got rid of his OLPC because the BIOS wasn't GPL and is now using some rare loongson netbook simply because that was the ONLY device he could find that met his definition of GPL compliance.

                  So the fact that the GPL is going down the shitter as far as usage is concerned really doesn't surprise me and frankly i expect that trend to get worse not better. Life simply isn't black and white and when even Torvalds won't use GPL V3 because its too restrictive that should let you know RMS simply went too far. While i like the idea of FOSS and use it quite often i also know that companies have to make money and developers need to eat But it seems that RMS doesn't feel the same. Of course he is a self proclaimed "squatter at MIT" so he doesn't really have to worry about kids, a car, house payments, etc so its probably easier for him to live in a black and white world than it is for the rest of us.

                • by unixisc (2429386)

                  I think the purpose of the GPL is to ensure that those that profit from your work also give back. Everyone needs to be paid, some of us just want to be paid in code. For that reason I use GPL, but BSD, MIT, Apache are all good, free, licenses, so I really don't see an issue here.

                  No, that's the purpose of OSI and Eric Raymond's group (used to be his, but he no longer runs it - has moved on to other things, unlike RMS). Those people are about the things you describe. People who are interested in open source due to practical agreements about the best development models ought to support the OSI. Those people are the ones working w/ companies to make the case of how open source can work for them.

                  But the FSF and the GPL is all purely about Stallman's ego, as Hairyfeet pointed out a

              • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @12:38AM (#38413754) Homepage

                It's more like a total crock of shit.

                It's the old percentages game people. When GPL came out there was bugger all open source software and as GPL become more popular closed source proprietary software companies started launching various kinds of open source public relations licences.

                Low and behold there are now a whole bunch of other types of open source licences and with proprietary closed source software companies companies playing silly buggers with public relations, breaking down programmes into modules and open sourcing the modules to ramp up the numbers, just so they can crap on about how good they are at sharing.

                Just another lame arsed pathetic attack piece. Of course when you want to charge thousands of dollars for a report https://store.the451group.com/index.php?cPath=3&osCsid=gttqeg90f1go39789fobdf4nf2 [the451group.com], you have to be pretty inflammatory to pull the mugs in.

            • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:24PM (#38410226)

              it enforces freedom

              You're gonna be free wether you like it or not!

              The freedoms are rivalrous -- you're free to distribute a piece of software however you please, or you're free to extend a piece of software however you please. The first one is a commerce right, the second one is a moral right. Both of these can't always be satisfied.

              • by Pi1grim (1956208) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:39PM (#38410394)

                What? How come every single time GPL comes up everyone automatically assumes that there is a clause that forbids you to profit from GPL-ed projects? I personally modified quite a number of GPL software and, sticking to the license provided the source code along with the binaries AND received a payment.
                Tell RedHat that you cannot profit from GPL software.
                And to repeat once again — BSD is about freedom of the coder, GPL is about freedom of the code.

              • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:27PM (#38410830)

                The freedom the GPL guarantees is the customer's freedom.

                It means if you use something you also get to see what it is and to be able to modify it.

                Programmers are not an ends in themselves.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                You're gonna be free wether you like it or not!

                This would be a great view of things if you could just compare BSD/MIT to GPL. Unfortunately, you have to take into account that there's also copyright and other laws which do also impose a "whether you like it or not!" situation that many people -in particular those having to deal with software development- end up very much not liking.

                The GPL licenses are trying to work around various un-sane defaults in copyright. And the BSD/MIT licenses are really only deferral of all rights to the next party, which the

            • by Winckle (870180)

              Can I have this in the form of a car analogy please?

              • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:34PM (#38410330) Homepage Journal
                Sure. GPL (well, GPLv2) software is a car that can be copied an infinite number of times. Its original manufacturer says that anyone can use it, modify it, and repair it, as long as they let others copy it under the same terms. BSD software, on the other hand, says anyone can do anything with their car copies, since the original will always still exist—even people who want to prevent others from modifying, using, or repair their modified versions (i.e. pine-scented air fresheners, fuzzy dice, truck nuts, giant spoilers, neon lights underneath, racing stripes...)
            • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:17PM (#38410748)

              I hate to disagree but it forces not enforces. MIT and BSD licenses are completely free and require nothing of someone using or contributing. GPL requires that anything one creates using GPL code must be open as well. I prefer GPL. There is nothing more annoying then say a company that makes an OS which uses an MIT licensed graphics library or a BSD licensed network stack but at the same time fights aggressively against free and open source software.

        • by heypete (60671)

          Red Hat seems to have no problem profiting while selling mostly-GPL'ed code...

        • by Microlith (54737) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:52PM (#38409888)

          I can profit while using GPL code. I simply can't take and not give back.

          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:00PM (#38409980) Journal

            The problem with that claim is that it's not even remotely true. For example, consider Google. They have their own private fork of Linux (GPLv2) which includes things like their own filesystem. Some changes are contributed back to the community because maintaining them in a private fork costs more than the loss of competitive advantage from sharing them. Some are kept private, because the scales tip the other way.

            In contrast, Yahoo uses a private fork of FreeBSD on a lot of their systems. They employ several FreeBSD developers and contribute a lot of changes back if doing so won't give away a serious competitive advantage, but they keep some things private.

            One project has a permissive license, the other has a strong copyleft license, but the behaviour of downstream users is identical in both cases. The GPL doesn't stop you using, modifying, or profiting from the code without giving anything back, it only prevents you from refusing to share the source for your modifications with anyone who receives a binary.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Billly Gates (198444)

          What about the freedom to profit? It is a right for people to want to make money and why is that bad? Student loans, kids, retirement, and a car are considered basic rights and responsibilities. Aint got no money? Then you cant have any of it? Cry all you want but the grocery store doesnt care that you do great things for humanity when your kids are hungry. They just want your money.

          So your rights if you own the code are important too. Thats life

          Yes I advocate the BSD license.

          • by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:26PM (#38410250) Homepage

            GPL doesn't prevent profit. It just forces people to "pay forward" to their users the same favor they received from upstream.

          • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:26PM (#38410256)

            It is a right for people to want to make money and why is that bad?

            I'll give you that, but it is just as much a right to want to sleep with supermodels. However, don't confuse the right to want to with the right to have.

            Student loans, kids, retirement, and a car are considered basic rights and responsibilities.

            Those are basic responsibilities, but you don't have a basic right to them.

            So your rights if you own the code are important too. Thats life

            Okay, about the code itself. If you are the original developer and sole copyright holder, you aren't restricted by the license. The GPL could possibly be a greater way of making money because you can sell exceptions, and competitors can't distribute a proprietary version based upon the work you've done. If you licensed that same project under the BSDL, your competitors could make a proprietary version. They could keep using your beneficial changes, but you wouldn't have access to theirs. I don't see how that's beneficial to the original developer. I see how it's beneficial to the competitor that builds a proprietary version upon yours, but I don't see why we should be working to benefit those parties.

        • by Filter (6719) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:05PM (#38410034)

          gpl first freedom (0):
          "the freedom to use the software for any purpose"

          "we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can."
          from http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

          The cost of distributing someone else's gpl work is licensing your derivative work under the same license. The face up fairness of this deal is what appeals to so many developers. Every license has rules.

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          Heh, but I don't want to, which is why I write GPL3 code.

          The GPL lets me ensure payment in some form. Either I get source, or I can possibly get money in exchange for a different license.

          If you're not happy with that, then of course I don't get anything, but since there's nothing in it for me if I let you use my code without benefitting from it, it doesn't really make a difference.

      • For personal use, not everyone is in it for the money. <shrug>

        And as far as the political aspects, to most companies GPL == toxic, and they don't care about the details.

        • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:55PM (#38409934)

          In my previous job I had customers who were deathly afraid of GPL to the point where they would not allow me as their supplier to use any open source code in the products I supplied regardless of what the license was or if it saved money.

          For these people anyway GPL was a real impediment to the acceptance of open source.

          • Yes, I've heard similar stories many times in recent years. You see small companies that don't want anything to do with it because they're afraid of risks they don't fully understand. And you see large companies that don't want anything to do with it because their legal departments are well aware of the risks and issue company-wide bans, and you don't argue with company-wide bans from Legal.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:04PM (#38410030) Journal

          to most companies GPL == toxic

          In my experience, it's a little bit more complex than that. To most companies, the GPL is complicated. They can almost certainly use GPL'd code without violating the license, but their lawyers aren't 100% certain. Their lawyers are certain that they can use BSD licensed code without violating the license. Their lawyers are also certain that they can use proprietary code without violating the license, because they get a license that explicitly permits them to do what they want.

          I've seen several cases of the GPL driving companies to buy proprietary solutions: given the choice between buying a proprietary license and using free GPL'd code, they'll pick the proprietary solution and limit their (perceived) liability. If there's a BSD licensed alternative, they'll use that and quite often contribute changes back (after all, it's usually cheaper than maintaining a private fork).

      • by Balial (39889)

        Some developers are very happy to have their work included in something and used widely. BSD makes companies include an acknowledgement of the use of your work, so you can know you made that project happen. Presumably, if a lot of money is being made by some company that includes your free software, you've helped build something cool that people want. I think a lot of developers see GPL as a "taking my toys and going home" license which discourages free use. If you weren't going to make a million dollar ide

      • by l00sr (266426) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:58PM (#38409954)

        Agreed. I think the shift has occurred because of increasing corporate interest in open source. BSD is seen as more corporate-friendly than GPL, when in fact it should be the other way around--BSD allows your competitors to reap the fruit of your labor without giving you anything in return. Start-ups, however, are lured by the idea of being able to close-source everything once their product becomes a smash hit, while established companies face genuine legal issues preventing them from linking GPL'ed code with closed-source code from vendors.

        So, start-ups really need to ditch the bait-and-switch fantasy that's driving them towards the BSD. Back in the real world, most such start-ups will fail long before they ever create a popular enough product to pull this trick, and it will partially be due to the fact that they brilliantly gave away all their work to their closed-source competitors for absolutely nothing in return.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by syzler (748241)
        I need to make a living and am currently doing that by writing iPhone apps. GPL is fine in an idealistic world, however people are not idealistic and do not give you money for being a nice guy. When I release software as open source (https://github.com/bindle/BindleKit), I do it to be helpful to others. The GPL greatly restricts the ability of some one to use my software. Just because one developer uses my library in a proprietary application does not exclude another developer for using my library as we
      • Why create something, give it out for free, and then allow businesses to take your work, profit from it, and give nothing back?

        If you love something, let it go free.

        If it does not return to you, it was never yours...

        If I am truly being charitable, why NOT let someone profit from something I have made? I would like them to return something if possible but why would I wish to place that burden as a legal demand instead of a request that they can choose to honor?

        A lot of times you create something for others

      • by hardaker (32597)

        As the maintainer of Net-SNMP [net-snmp.org] I've received a huge number of patches that would never have been given to us if Net-SNMP used a GPL license (though in this case, the code predates the GPL). Companies that have worked on the Net-SNMP code and have given back to it do so because they want to use their cool new feature they've developed for the code base in their proprietary software or hardware. IE, the Net-SNMP libraries and applications are the base upon which they build. It's important to them to contrib

    • GPL caused too many problems for companies

      [citation needed]

      What are these problems? What companies are saying "we won't go for GPL again because of problems in the past"? Does this actually have a significant impact on GPL usage?

      It is easy to assume that companies wouldn't be happy with the GPL because it restricts what they can do, but that doesn't mean that this is actually how it works out in practice.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When companies realized that if they ship GPL v3 code in any way, shape, or form, a customer could demand any trade secrets from them, the legal bean counters went nuts.

    An example would be a machine that skins oranges. Any GPL v3 code used in the machine would force the maker to hand over to customers on request the CAD blueprints for the mechanisms, the timing involved, down to the color of the engineer farts when the thing is put together.

    I personally have seen companies who had to re-engineer a whole em

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mossholderm (570035)
      "I personally have seen companies who had to re-engineer a whole embedded controller from Linux to Windows CE just so they did not bump into GPL v3 issues."

      Too bad for them, since most of Linux isn't GPL v3. The kernel certainly isn't and huge portions of userspace aren't either... ESPECIALLY in the embedded space, where people use slimmer versions of things like libc.
    • by arose (644256) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:47PM (#38411016)

      Any GPL v3 code used in the machine would force the maker to hand over to customers on request the CAD blueprints for the mechanisms, the timing involved, down to the color of the engineer farts when the thing is put together.

      FUD with modpoints is still FUD. If the user can replace the software you're green, now go troll somewhere else.

    • by caseih (160668) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:54PM (#38411050)

      Sounds like you needed more competent lawyers then. Linux itself is GPLv2 only, and unlikely to ever change (unless you can simultaneously convince several thousand copyright holders). And any part of userspace that is GPLv3 can easily be replaced with BSD or even proprietary counterparts if you really wanted to.

      If you're going to make a statement like "Any GPL v3 code used in the machine would force the maker to hand over to customers on request the CAD blueprints for the mechanisms, the timing involved, down to the color of the engineer farts when the thing is put together," you need to give us evidence. I've read the GPLv3 and I can't think of any clause that would support your statement. I am curious to know what parts fo the GPLv3 you are referring to.

      On the other hand, the company stood to benefit from someone else's work without any monetary payment. Now they are paying for what they are using (Windows CE). In some ways the situation with Windows CE is now much more honest. Instead of trying to use linux and get away with it without complying with the license, they are now paying Microsoft for each and every unit shipped (essentially).

      Hearing stories like this makes me very grateful that Torvalds had the foresight to use the GPL. Things aren't all well (tivoization), but they could be much much worse. I firmly believe that Linux is what it is because of the GPL. If not for the GPL IBM would never have invested so heavily in it. The GPL ensures that IBM's contributions cannot be used against it, while at the same time mutually benefiting the whole project. Apple chose a different way by blending parts of the BSD kernel with Mach. Has that helped BSD much? Only in exposure. I don't know of any Apple subsystems that have made their way back into BSD.

  • the creation of the GPLv3 and the sometimes contentious discussion that led up to it' may be partly responsible for the move away from the GPL.

    I'm in business to make money. I also love OSS and have spent literally hundreds of hours personally contributing back in many different ways. The problem with GPLv3 is that I can't use it in an application I develop unless I release any changes/mods I make to the source code.

    That's my secret sauce. If I'm a startup and trying to form a niche in an industry, why would I want to give my recipe away?

    • by Microlith (54737) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:51PM (#38409876)

      The problem with GPLv3 is that I can't use it in an application I develop unless I release any changes/mods I make to the source code.

      That was true with the GPLv2 as well.

      That's my secret sauce. If I'm a startup and trying to form a niche in an industry, why would I want to give my recipe away?

      Boo hoo, so write it yourself. Why is it every complaint against the GPL seems to come from those who want to mooch and not contribute?

      • That is why GPL is declining. GPL is too restrictive for most to make money from it. So they don't use it.
        • by Microlith (54737)

          Proof? Any?

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:13PM (#38410100) Journal

          It's not that. The reason GPL is problematic is that it's all too easy to copy and paste a couple of lines of code out of some open source project into something you're working on. If it's under a BSD license, no problem. If it's under a GPL license, you're screwed. For this reason, the safest default policy for big corporations is to deny all use of GPLed software to remove the temptation.

          The result of this is that folks working for those companies are less likely to spend time working on GPLed projects. More importantly, because those companies are not bringing in GPLed source from the outside, they are no longer forced to use that license for their own code. The net effect is that less GPLed code gets produced.

      • by Guy Harris (3803)

        That's my secret sauce. If I'm a startup and trying to form a niche in an industry, why would I want to give my recipe away?

        Boo hoo, so write it yourself.

        Precisely. "The problem with GPLv3 is that I can't use it in an application I develop unless I release any changes/mods I make to the source code." - which presumably means "The problem with code licensed under the GPLv3 or v2 is..." - really means "the problem with code licensed under the GPLv3 or v2 is that I can't control it the way I want rather than the way the person who wrote the code wants."

        That's only a "problem with the GPL" in that the GPL exists, meaning it's avai

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Umm, that is entirely the whole point of the GPL. Why should you be distributing other people's code without abiding by the conditions they did?
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:49PM (#38409850)
    ... of Richard Stallman shedding a tear with text below: Forever alone.
  • From the article, it isn't clear to me what criteria they used to include projects in their survey. It would be interesting to know the numbers based on impact of the project -- a zillion little drivers released under BSD could skew the results.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:52PM (#38409896)

    Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure you will), but wasn't the point of the GPL to enforce the rules of open-source while it was still emerging? The idea was that open-source projects would be more vulnerable when the open-source movement was new, and it would be more likely that some company would take BSD-licensed code and not just release it as their own, but be able to effectively relegate the open-source one to a small niche of irrelevancy. Now that pretty much every company takes open source seriously, it's not as necessary - if someone were to take Firefox, tweak the branding, and release it as their own commercial product, they wouldn't be able to take all the marketshare Firefox has simply by virtue of being a "real" company, not "a bunch of open-source basement-dwelling commie nerds".

    • by tepples (727027)
      The GNU General Public License was intended to be used during the transition to the complete ineligibility of computer programs for copyright. I see no end to that transition.
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:02PM (#38410004) Homepage Journal

    One of my projects was released under the WTFPL: http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/ [zoy.org]
     
    I'm not exactly sure what this entails other than it releases me from liability if someone else uses it. There are so many hobbyist level projects these days that someone is probably replicating your project's purpose under a different codebase it doesn't really matter what you licence it under - you're lucky to get 2-3 people using your project's code. My other project got released under "the Berkeley licence" simply because my father went to school there years ago, and it was relatively short. Maybe I should make a "free licence roulette" website to help other hobbyist projects pick random licences.
     
    TL;DR most hobbyist developers only include a licence as a formality

  • Bad statistics (Score:4, Informative)

    by eexaa (1252378) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:05PM (#38410042) Homepage

    The statistic shows percenage of actual project count, and doesn't anyhow respect the overall usage or size ("importance/weight") of the software.

    I'm therefore afraid that the plot is biased by a large amount of tiny projects that are used by 10 people and choose some cc-by-sa alternative because it's simple enough and often a "default" choice.

  • MS-PL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markkezner (1209776) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:05PM (#38410052)

    I see that the Microsoft Public License is grouped in with the other permissive ones like Apache and BSD. Honest question though, is the MS-PL actually a popular choice for non-Microsoft projects? I've never really seen it much, and my intuition says that a decent set of open source devs would be allergic to a Microsoft license.

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:09PM (#38410070)
    Licenses are like programming languages - the right tool for the right job. Some projects - especially those authors want adopted in a business environment - are going to want to go with more permissive licenses. A trend like this says that more and more projects feel they need to be more permissive, not that people are abandoning the GPL. The question becomes why do they need to be more permissive? I'd wager a guess that it has a lot to do with the number of corporations involves in supporting, expanding, and creating open source applications. As for myself, my next two projects are going to be using GPL 2 - but then again corporate adoption of my software is not a goal.
  • by multimediavt (965608) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:13PM (#38410102)
    I would have to imagine that the more the economy goes into the toilet the more independent developers (that may now be unemployed) and corporations (that may be struggling financially) are choosing to profit from their work to stay alive. The GPL and LGPL license terms have been taking a beating recently, but the acceleration of their potential demise may also be due in part to the realities of our current, global economic condition.
  • by Akoman (559057) <medwards@walledcity.ca> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:49PM (#38410476) Homepage

    Not to invalidate the outcome of the report (though the hyperbole could do with some work) but this arbitrary 'percentage' assignment has me wondering. Could this not just reflect a new growth in say Rails projects or Javascript (the Ruby community is traditionally MIT/BSD, see too very common frameworks like jQuery). In the past code like this was rarely included, but this might just represent the true makeup of the community and fast LOC growth in one community doesn't mean the other community is jumping ship to a different license.

  • by horza (87255) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @05:59PM (#38411496) Homepage

    Just an off-the-cuff thought, but maybe we could categorise GPL as "want to be paid" and BSD/MIT as "already been paid". With the former, it tends to be coders writing pet projects in their spare time. They want to contribute to the world but resent being exploited for free. Hence the GPL means they will be paid in code or if corporate they need to pay cash for a commercial license. With BSD/MIT the work has been funded by academia/corporations hence has already been paid for, meaning less barrier to releasing it into the wild even if plagiarized for no return. The growing percentage of corporate contributions will of course be reflected in the percentage change in licensing terms.

    Phillip.

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Saturday December 17, 2011 @09:34PM (#38412818) Homepage

    Blogger Brian Proffitt

    A person well known for anti-open-source propaganda and nothing else.

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