Top Open Source License by Usage
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OpenLogic recently released a survey on the usage of open source licenses at the Open Source Business Conference held during the second week of May, 2011, which reveals statistics about the use of open source licenses. Not surprisingly, close to 69 percent of the total open source projects use General Public License (GPL) and GPL is the most highly adopted license. Apache and other licenses follow GPL with respect to adoption. However, if the usage of licenses is reviewed based on downloads, the results are totally different and GPL stands at third place. Apache license based on software downloads is the most popular license amounting to 33 percent of the total downloads followed by Lesser General Public License (LGPL) with 21 percent of downloads.
In one of our earlier posts, we categorized open source licenses into flexible, restrictive and viral and pointed out that flexible licenses are most suited for business usage. Apache License as explained in the post is a flexible license and is therefore the best license for businesses. In the context of flexibility of a license, it is logical for companies to adopt softwares governed by Apache, BSD and other flexible licenses rather than viral licenses such as GPL because viral licenses in most cases require source code disclosure of proprietary software and distribution of integrated software under GPL.
Considering the business advantages of making software available as an open source software, many companies such as Microsoft, which were earlier based on proprietary models are now adopting open source models. Today, many companies make portions of their software available as open source software and Apache License is generally preferred when business value is sought to be derived through wide spread usage and adoption.
Authored by Dr. Kalyan Kankanala C.
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