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Software GNU is Not Unix Open Source Programming Technology

Open Source Project Licenses Trending Toward Open Rather than Free 369

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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  • black duck (Score:5, Informative)

    by neonsignal ( 890658 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:37AM (#39761753)

    Surprise, surprise, yet another anti-GPL study from Black Duck software.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:38AM (#39761757)

    It's also a misleading summary and article.

    The proportion of open source projects using the GPL, LGPL and AGPL is declining, not the absolute number of projects.

    *GPL may not actually be in decline at all, the article doesn't say, it just says that it's falling as a proportion. This information is pretty worthless on its own.

  • by msclrhd ( 1211086 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:38AM (#39761759)

    If you look at the work that Apple supports (clang, etc.), they are using non-GPL licenses. Same goes for code on CodePlex (the Microsoft site for C#/.NET open source projects). If you look at any of the ruby, python, javascript projects on GitHub, they tend to use a non-GPL license.

    C/C++ projects make up 11% of the projects on github and these tend to be the languages that use GPL.

    I personally use GPL for my projects because I am happy with that license, and use other projects that are GPL. Others may not, so they are free to choose a different language.

    And we have heard repeatedly from Brian Proffitt that the GPL is dying/dead, but is still being used for new projects. Oh and this is article dated December 16, 2011, so why is this news now?

    Welcome to the FUD machine.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:43AM (#39761785)
    Permissive licenses are universally chosen by companies (Android) while the GPL is chosen by community projects (Linux, gcc).

    MS-PL? Who on earth has ever heard of that license? Perhaps the fact that the only source of the data is a company that is connected to Microsoft [techrights.org] has something to do with its mention? The fact that the same company has been emitting anti-GPL propaganda since 2008 is also interesting.

    Slashdot, please don't propagate astroturfing.

  • Re:black duck (Score:5, Informative)

    by ilguido ( 1704434 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:44AM (#39761789)
    No it's the same one. The article is tagged "December 16, 2011". It's just the usual MS shill that re-posts this shit ad nauseam.
  • Re:My reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:44AM (#39761791)


    The only time 'users' get involved in legal action is when those 'users' are releasing GPL software as part of a product, and not releasing the source.

    If you don't want to get sued over redistributing a piece of software then closed source software must make you piss yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @08:56AM (#39761839)

    Even by the FSF's definition, "copyleft" and "free" are distinct terms. Every license in the summary is considered free by the FSF: BSD [gnu.org] MIT [gnu.org] ASL [gnu.org]

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:00AM (#39761861)
    It's possible, but to make a concrete example, as a user, the only reason I could upgrade my phone firmware after its manufacturer stopped supporting it is that Android's kernel is under the GPL. Users should always prefer GPL-licensed software as it only brings advantages for them. Instead, the trend today is to mark GPL as an extremist's license, because "software is a tool" and whatnot. Effectively cutting the branch on which we, as open source consumers, are sitting.
  • Bull. Shit. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:02AM (#39761871)

    Only copyleft licenses ensure that the development stays open and advances are returned to the community, by giving recipients of derived works access to the source and with it the freedom to change their software as they see fit. The only "freedom" that BSD style licenses add over copyleft licenses is to take all the freedom away from further recipients. The only people who benefit from that are people who value their own freedom over yours.

  • by djmurdoch ( 306849 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:21AM (#39761993)

    If you're speaking "technically", you're wrong. If I release a project under GPL, I can release it under any other license I like later.

    The only time I am tied to GPL is if I choose to incorporate someone else's work into my project, and they don't want to change licenses.

    So on a big project with lots of copyright holders, it is nearly impossible to switch to a more permissive license, but that's because it's so hard to get a big group of people to agree, not because the GPL doesn't allow it.

  • by miknix ( 1047580 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:29AM (#39762041) Homepage

    From TFA:

    That was the conclusion of Matthew Aslett's analysis of recent data from Black Duck Software

    Do we even need to say anything else?

    http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Black_Duck [techrights.org]

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

    by Ynot_82 ( 1023749 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:42AM (#39762129)

    Ooh, just off the top of my head
    The Linux kernel

    Build process?

    # make
    # make modules
    # make modules_install
    # make install

    Sounds like you got duped by some devious vendor who wanted to ensure years of future support needs from you

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @09:48AM (#39762169)

    If I release a project under GPL, I can create a non-GPL license fork later.


    You can choose to change your license on new code. However the code that is already release will remain GPL and can continue under someone else's leadership.

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:17AM (#39762345)

    The difference is that any works derived or using GPL type licenses also have to be released on the same license.

    Correction: may only be distributed under the same license. Please don't accidentally be Steve Ballmer's mouthpiece by spreading subtly misleading information about the GPL.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:30AM (#39762423) Homepage Journal

    A lot of newer projects are more concerned with getting their source adopted and in use than with making sure users contribute back. And the best way to get better adoption is to use a license that doesn't scare people (and lawyers).

    Licenses which aren't the GPL scare me, because I always assume that eventually the critical people will end up working for some company that manages a closed fork.

  • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <shentino@gmail.com> on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:02AM (#39762699)

    If you're telling the end user that they'll be raped by the DMCA if they try to tweak your proprietary product which was based on my open source project, don't you think I'd be kinda pissed?

    This is exactly the sort of thing that the GPL prevents. It keeps you from using my code to be a dick.

    My open soruce GPL code is mine just as arguably as your proprietary product is yours.

    So how is your freedom to lock out your users and competitors any different from my freedom to not let you use my code to do it?

    What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you want the freedom to be proprietary, I should also have the freedom not to cooperate.

  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:22AM (#39762807)

    The proportion of GPL is "declining" fast -- from 71% in 2005 to 93% in 2011 (source [itwire.com]). That's if you disregard fart apps and look only at software good enough for someone to package it for Debian. This does discriminate against some Mac/iOS-only stuff, but not by much as anything useful enough and freely licensed will probably have someone port it.

    Also, this is the same Apple shill posting the very same data on Slashdot for the third time.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:31AM (#39762875) Journal

    If someone can monetize your code better than you, that's your problem.

    GPL is for people who don't mind if their code is monetized, in fact they may even encourage it, as long as the code (and derivative code) remains open. It isn't about monetizing, it's about staying open.

  • Goodness me, your post is almost totally devoid of facts.

    BSD is still open source, the original developers still have full access to it.

    Apple's modifications are also open and available, also to those developers.

    The original developers received no compensation because they chose to release the code under a very permissive licence. They did this on purpose and required no compensation. You're trying to make it look like Apple "stole" something, which is a totally nonsensical position.

    The BSD licence was specifically created for this purpose; it's deliberately very permissive. However, taking that code and forking it does *nothing* to "close off the code from the original developers".

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner