Six months of GPLv3: a chat with Ernest Park of Palamida

Six months ago Free Software Foundation released the third version of the most widely adopted free software license, the GNU GPL version 3. To track adoption of the new license, Palamida started a project with the aim

to build a unified view of the status of GPLv3 and LGPLv3 adoption and usage across the community.

I have exchanged a few questions with Ernest Park, VP, R&D GRoup of Palamida.

Stefano Maffulli: Why did you start tracking GPLv3 adoption?

gpl3.palamida.com: We started tracking GPL v3 adoption because is was one of the top questions we kept getting from customers and prospects. We found that customers were coming to us with “We’ve heard this….One of our attorneys heard at a conference that….” And the feedback literally ranged from 0% to 100% adoption. Since we track 884,000 (and growing daily) open source project versions on an ongoing basis, we thought who best to know what projects are doing en masse and when? There seemed to be enough FUD on both the pro and con side of the license, that we thought it would be valuable to publish data that tried to be as neutral as possible – no judgment about the license, no axe to grind on the merits of copyleft, etc. We wanted to let the market speak for itself – by showing GPL 3 adoption rate.

SM: Did FSF ask you to do it?

gpl3.palamida.com: FSF did not ask us to do this. At this point, I would be flattered if they recognized the efforts of our team to provide objective an unbiased, reliable information regarding adoption of specific open source licenses over time. This research project was internally originated and sponsored.

SM: What results do you expect from gplv3.palamida.com?

gpl3.palamida.com: We didn’t know what to expect from the site. Palamida is a proprietary software company who uses open source products in our software (see the IP Ingredients list for our IP Amplifier product on our web site). This was the first time we shared information from our database to companies outside of our customer base. We know that our customers find the information incredibly valuable, and we’ve been extremely happy to hear from others that they find the information useful. Palamida is constantly trying to figure out ways to give back to the broader community is this seemed like a no-brainer for us.We enjoy being participants in the open source community through projects like this, so even this is an educational experience for us – to be on the side of the originator of licensed works.

SM: Will youtrack Affero GPLv3 adoption too, besides GPL and LGPL?

gpl3.palamida.com: The honest answer is that we don’t know. We would only do it if we got a lot of interest from both our customers and the broader community. If it seems like valuable information to a broad spectrum of people, we wouldn’t hesitate. But to be honest, I cannot recall one request for it. But will look into it to see what kind of interest there is. We do track a significant amount of information beyond what is listed on the site. Our goal is to keep our site topical and relevant to what people are interested in regarding OSS and its licensing. Let me know what you think.

Ernest maintains a blog where comments, advice and opinions are always welcome.

UPDATE: read Ernest’s post GPLv3 – The Year in Review