02.16.12

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Trusting Microsoft-friendly Companies When It Comes to GPL Trending (Updated)

Posted in FUD, GPL at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ducking Black Duck

Ducks

Summary: New scepticism about data from Black Duck and its implications

THE noise that’s coming from GPL-hostile parties will never stop.

The non-ending propaganda against the GPL is typically coming from Microsoft brainchildren and companies created by former Microsoft staff, including for example Black Duck. Someone famous from Red Hat responds with this bit of scepticism:

The impression gained from this is that the probability of you using one of the GPL licenses is influenced by the community that you’re part of. And it’s not a huge leap to believe that an increasing number of developers are targeting the web, and the web development community has never been especially attached to the GPL. It’s not hard to see why – the benefits of the GPL vanish pretty much entirely when you’re never actually obliged to distribute the code, and while Affero attempts to compensate from that it also constrains your UI and deployment model. No matter how strong a believer in Copyleft you are, the web makes it difficult for users to take any advantage of the freedoms you’d want to offer. It’s as easy not to bother.
So it’s pretty unsurprising that an increase in web development would be associated with a decrease in the proportion of projects licensed under the GPL.

This obviously isn’t a rigorous analysis. I have very little hard evidence to back up my assumptions. But nor does anyone who claims that the change is because the FSF alienated the community during GPLv3 development. I’d be fascinated to see someone spend some time comparing project type with license use and trying to come up with a more convincing argument.

For those who cannot recall it anymore, Black Duck made an agreement with Microsoft to funnel in Microsoft-associated projects, which helps Microsoft game the numbers a bit. That was in 2009 when a lot of death predictions for GPL started to rear their heads, almost always backed by Black Duck data.

The other day we saw Cade Metz from Wired flinging filth at open source. He does this again with an article titled “Open Sourcers Drop Software Religion for Common Sense” (perhaps Cade Metz thinks that Wired should adopt Register-style headlines, having come from there) and Захария Стургин remarks: “I wouldn’t attribute “fear of GPL” a prime reason for the rise in Apache/MIT licensing. Can you “infect” IP with freedom and call it bad?”

“Also,” he writes, “has Oracle actually built anything on open source software? All that they got from Sun and are working to close it up…”

As Will put it:

He also tries to give Olsen credit for doing GPL before GPL in his first, very misleading paragraph. Mostly the article is a long smear of the GPL.

Perhaps there’s a bigger story than meets the eye here. Is it that GPL projects are moving to business exploitation licenses like Apache or is it that non free software companies are moving that way? One thing is sure, we don’t see the emergence of non free software companies any more. All the growth has been in free software exploitation of one sort or another. Companies like Microsoft are stagnant or failing.

The war against the GPL is one that Microsoft fought for a long time. It’s testament to its effectiveness in weakening vicious monopolies.

Update: Here is another new article on this topic, one that says: “Since August of 2009, the GPL is down around 8%, according to data from Black Duck.”

Can one really just rely on data from a Microsoft partner, established by a former Microsoft manager whose expertise was marketing?

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6 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    February 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Gravatar

    People who opt to not use the GPL are not against is… they just are making a choice.

    Why are you so anti-choice?

  2. twitter said,

    February 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Gravatar

    John Sullivan at FOSDEM 2012 shows that GPL use in Debian has gone from 71% in 2005 (Sarge) and 93% in 2011 (Squeeze). The rise has been steady at 6 to 10% per year, before and after GPL3.

  3. twitter said,

    February 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Gravatar

    John Sullivan at FOSDEM 2012 shows that GPL use in Debian has gone from 71% in 2005 (Sarge) and 93% in 2011 (Squeeze). The rise has been steady at 6 to 10% per year, before and after GPL3.

  4. twitter said,

    February 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Gravatar

    John Sullivan at FOSDEM 2012 shows that GPL use in Debian has gone from 71% in 2005 (Sarge) and 93% in 2011 (Squeeze). The rise has been steady at 6 to 10% per year, before and after GPL3.

  5. twitter said,

    February 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Gravatar

    John Sullivan at FOSDEM 2012 shows that GPL use in Debian has gone from 71% in 2005 (Sarge) and 93% in 2011 (Squeeze). The rise has been steady at 6 to 10% per year, before and after GPL3.

  6. twitter said,

    February 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Gravatar

    Duplication of the above comment was unintentional.

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