Well, the Seventh Open Source Think Tank (OSTT) is in the books. And as usual, it was challenging, thought provoking and admittedly tiring. Thinking intensely for days is hard work. Catching up with others, meeting new attendees all make for long days. So many smart people in one place…
For me, however, there was one incredible takeaway from findings this year.
The GPL license is no longer the unchallengeable answer to every licensing question. It retains its significant standings but it know longer wins just because of its name.
Now, as you know, I’m not a fan of any single license. I like flexibility in my choices and because I like the choices to be mine, I tend to lean towards permissive-style licenses.
But OSTT traditionally has come down to GPL as the choice of choices, in nearly every report of every case study, the teams would default to GPL. At best, you’d hear a add-on of “or other license”, but GPL ruled.
This year, the OSTT attendees were split into 12 teams and then asked to focus on two cases studies. (See my earlier blog). Each team then presented its findings on Saturday.
Out of the 24 findings, a significant minority espoused GPL. I only recall one team pushing GPL. I heard more mention of the Apache Public License than I’ve ever heard before.
Now while GPL still is the dominant open source/free software license, it does seem that there is more acceptance and understanding of other licenses and of what they offer. We have seen some recent studies on the decline of GPL family use. The 451 Group has a great blog posting on this topic. And worth noting is that the decline in percentage is match by a real and significant increase in number of projects using GPL.
So while I try to absorb and process the information overload from the OSTT, ponder yourself on the significance of GPL in your own projects.