The Fall of GPL and the Rise of Permissive Open-Source Licenses

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by | December 19, 2014

I know very few open-source programmers, no matter how skilled they may with the intricacies of C++, who relish learning about the ins and outs of open-source licenses. I can’t blame them. Like it or not, though, picking an open-source license is a necessity.

The Open Source Initiative has long provided vital open-source licensing reference information, but it still left programmers more puzzled than informed. Lately, OSI-related sites, such as Choose a License and the open-source license FAQ on GitHub, have made it easier, but some programmers haven’t been bothering with any license at all.


Things have improved a little. In July 2013 when Black Duck Software found that 77 percent of projects on GitHub have no declared license. Earlier that year Aaron Williamson, senior staff counsel at the Software Freedom Law Center, discovered that 85.1 percent of GitHub programs had no license.

In 2014, many GitHub programmers, using arguably the most popular code hosting system in the world, still don’t use any license at all.



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