Is adoption of copyleft licenses really declining? Blackduck Sotware with its own secret recipe says so, as Matt Aslett reports. Whether or not this is true we can’t tell because BlackDuck doesn’t publish their method to collect and analyze its data. In any case, I think that if you look at this debate from a different angle, these numbers don’t count at all.

Twentyfive years ago there was no free/libre open source business and the GNU L/GPL licenses constituted the main corpus of free software available for use. The FSF used the strong copyleft mainly because of an ethical choice and also for practical reason to defend its code from appropriation by third party. Remember that at the time there was no ‘ecosystem’ and the notion of copyright to software was brand new.

Now free software is developed mainly by companies for business purposes: their choice is not only to defend code from appropriation but also to allow building thriving ecosystem for Open Innovation. The other reason I see for the large popularity of permissive licenses is the quantity of software developed by Apache Foundation. It’s amazing how far their code has gone from the original idea of a web server.

Whether BlackDuck has reliable numbers or somebody else does it’s irrelevant: numbers don’t count. I believe that if FSF wants to see more copyleft code out there, it needs to go back to its origin and get back to developing software that matters. The FSF needs to go beyond the GNU operating system and expand into the new areas of ‘cloud’, ‘social’ and ‘mobile’.Β  Projects like MediaGoblin and GNU.FM are the first steps in the right direction but more is needed.

451 CAOS Theory Β» The trend towards permissive licensing.

Oracle has done what Sun should have done a long time ago: put OO.org code into the hand of an independent foundation. The good news is that now a wider participation from corporations and individuals is possible. Hell, even Microsoft can now participate into OO.org development. I hope that soon the fork can be reconciled, too.

My first thoughts is that Apache Foundation is a good home for Open Document Format, ODF. If the license will also change to Apache there will be more opportunities to create an ecosystem on top of the standardized format.The free software movement needs a thriving ecosystem around ODF so that we can edit and exchange office documents between computers, mobile and other devices without sacrifices. So far this ecosystem has failed to materialize and OpenOffice.org as a tool has many flaws (bad/old GUI, heavy and in areas like presentation is just bad).

I personally welcome the change as I never believed that The Document Foundation had enough steam in its engine to radically improve the product. But I believe it can still maintain and improve LibreOffice until Apache’s community will start rolling the next generation of desktop productivity tools.

Oracle ‘donates’ OpenOffice.org to Apache foundation | ZDNet UK.

Comments from Rob Weir and Novell’s Michael Meeks.