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.

Some of the things that Mike Tienman said in this interview with I could have said myself.

I have come to believe that a license alone is neither a secret to success nor an absolution of sin.

Exactly: choosing a free license is a moral choice but that alone won’t secure neither commercial success nor any other success of the project.

“It’s a lot easier to bring tools to the community than it is to bring community to the tools,” Tiemann said. “I think that the importance of community cannot be overestimated.”

How can I agree more? My job as community manager is to facilitate the community on the path to such tools.

“I do believe that licensing is a key component that underpins a successful community effort,” Tiemann said. “The license, in a sense, dictates how the community can or should be expected to behave.”

Basically, you need to choose a free software license and to manage the community in order to enable success.Β  Do you see why I could have said all this myself?

via LinuxPlanet – Interviews – What Matters to Open Source: Licensing or Community? – More to FOSS Than Licenses.