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Open Source Project Licenses Trending Toward Open Rather than Free 369

Posted by timothy
from the for-some-values-of-open-or-free dept.
bonch writes "An analysis of software licenses shows usage of GPL and other copyleft licenses declining at an accelerating rate. In their place, developers are choosing permissive licenses such as BSD, MIT, and ASL. One theory for the decline is that GPL usage was primarily driven by vendor-led projects, and with the shift to community-led projects, permissive licenses are becoming more common."
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Open Source Project Licenses Trending Toward Open Rather than Free

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  • Re:My reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:32AM (#39762063) Homepage

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    With GPL, it appears that all you have to do is submit a change to get your name on the list of copyright holders, and you can apparently then sue on behalf of the entire software package. The original authors don't seem to have to be consulted.

    I can't see this working as a matter of copyright law, but I don't know the US way of doing things. To my mind, you'd only have grounds to sue for an infringement in respect of the copyright of which you are the owner — if your change does not amount to a copyright work, I'd be surprised if a court would find you had standing to sue for anything, as your copyright has not been infringed. Making a minor (but still sufficient for copyright protection) change might be the way forward for that, though.

    The US also allows transfer of copyrights (which I consider illogical - the creator doesn't change because money or paperwork changes hands)

    The creator does not change but, when you buy a house from someone, you (or the bank...) owns the property in that house, not the creator — since copyright is a property right, the same rules apply. (You might prefer to be an author in jurisdictions where moral / authorial rights are regarded more strongly, where it is indeed impossible to assign ownership, as ownership is tied so closely to authorship.)

    I prefer to use a more liberal license if I can

    It sounds as if, in reality, you're more inclined towards a licence being a statement of intent / request — that you'd like someone who uses your code to do so in a particular manner, but that you are not going to chase after them with a legal stick if they refuse. However, since this would be difficult, if not impossible, to construct as a form of licence, you use a permissive licence to achieve the same ends?

    This biggest disappointment to me is that, as with property generally, I cannot choose to disclaim ownership — for most of what I write, I'd rather simply disclaim it to the public domain. Whilst those using my work in an academic context will be bound by academic rules in terms of citation and the like, if someone else can benefit, great — since copyright was neither a driver not an enabler to the creation of the work, I'm unconvinced that copyright should exist over that work, but, since it does as a matter of law, I'd like to refuse to accept it. Which I can't...

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:11AM (#39762297) Journal
    Apple isn't the only company. The patent clauses and termination clauses in GPLv3 make a lot of companies nervous. There is a lot of FUD in the classic sense surrounding the GPLv3, but the most important is the U: uncertainty. When legal says 'we're 80% sure that there will be no problems with distributing this code in our products,' management hears 'there is a 20% chance that this will be really expensive' and opts for a more permissively license alternative.
  • Re:Shenanigans. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:22AM (#39762379) Journal

    The truth is that projects aren't jumping ships. No GPL projects are trying to change their license.

    Projects aren't relicensing (it's really hard!), but GPL'd projects are seeing competition from more permissively licensed alternatives. It looks like in FreeBSD 10 we'll be able to replace all of the GPL'd components of the base system with permissively licensed alternatives. Doing that five years ago would have been impossible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:27AM (#39762405)

    Not necessarily true. The case law with respect to this is highly lacking. Your stance is what the FSF wants to believe, not necessarily what would be the case if this had more firm case law rulings.

  • Re:My reason (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ofni.hsifcitsalp>> on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:15AM (#39762771)

    This has been used to pressure companies or individuals to give up proprietary build processes...

    You say this like it's a bad thing.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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