GPLv3 hits 50 percent adoption

In July 2007, version 3 of the GNU General Public License barely accounted for 164 projects. A year later, the number had climbed past 2,000 total projects. Today, as announced by Google open-source programs office manager Chris DiBona, the number of open-source projects licensed under GPLv3 is at least 56,000.

And that's just counting the projects hosted at Google Code.

In a hallway conversation with DiBona at OSCON, he told me roughly half of all projects on Google Code use the GPL and, of those, roughly half have moved to GPLv3, or 25 percent of all Google … Read more

The license wars are over

If the license wars aren't over, they've certainly muted.

The adoption of the new version of the General Public License, used by Linux and many other open-source projects, was a long, loud, and contentious process. But after all the sturm und drang, it's not clear to me what real impact GPL 3 will have.

Depending on whom you ask, clauses concerning ideological sticking points such as digital rights management were either narrowed in scope or defanged almost completely. And it seems entirely possible that Linux, perhaps the best-known open-source project licensed under the GPL, may never moveRead more

Richard Stallman is warning *us* about cloud computing?!?

I read Richard Stallman's commentary on cloud computing in the UK's Guardian. Stallman is full of warnings about cloud computing:

One reason you should not use Web applications to do your computing is that you lose control. It's just as bad as using a proprietary program.

But he completely neglects to mention that he had a chance to seed the cloud, which is largely built using open-source software, with an upgraded GNU General Public License (Version 3), and he demurred. Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation failed to protect the cloud when they had the chance, … Read more

Q&A: Google's open-source balancing act

Chris DiBona's job--manager of Google's open-source programs--is a balancing act.

Google consumes a lot of open-source software for its own highly profitable business. But as he oversees the search powerhouse's open-source work, DiBona has to ensure that the company reciprocates. It can't be all take and no give.

Free and open-source software advocates can be powerful allies--but also vocal critics. For example, some have critized Google for its lack of support for the Affero GPL license, which can require those using software for a publicly available network service to share modifications they've made to an … Read more

The ExtJS debacle: What should its licensing strategy be?

ExtJS is a cool JavaScript framework for writing web applications. It is, quite possibly, the best of its kind. My own engineers were salivating at the chance to use it.

Unfortunately, ExtJS is of many minds when it comes to licensing its product. It pretended that the software was LGPL, but only insofar as that meant many people using it...and many people paying to use it. (Hint to the ExtJS business team: LGPL and Apache licenses are impotent to compel payment.)

The company took the hint, re-releasing the code under GPLv3, causing consternation in some quarters. Why the concern? Well, because it meant that freeriders would now clearly have to pay, or distribute their own software under the GPL. Many don't like having to pay for value, particularly if it's GPL'd.

All of which has caused some to fork the ExtJS project. Given the dubious open-source provenance of ExtJS, this is not as easy (or advisable) as it might appear. If ExtJS were never truly LGPL, as the messed-up licensing would seem to suggest, then forking a proprietary product is called...copyright infringement.

It didn't have to be this way.… Read more

2,000 GPLv3 projects and counting, finds Palamida

In my estimation, the GPL is by far the world's best open-source license for business. If Palamida's recent count of GPLv3-licensed projects is any indication, business in open source is very, very good:

Our database now contains over 2,000 projects that are using the GPL v3. At this rate the GPL v3 is being adopted by 1,000 projects every 4-5 months, and if the trend continues, the license will be used by 5,000 projects by the end of the year.

It will take time for GPLv3 to achieve the same level of trust that GPLv2 … Read more

It takes a community (to service mobile devices)

Volantis just released its Mobility Server under the GPLv3 license, which should go a long way toward helping to grow Volantis' community further. As I wrote recently about Funambol and open-source mobile projects, it's hard to conceive how any proprietary software company can compete with open source in mobile.

It's not a question of software. Anyone can write that. Rather, it's a question of keeping pace with device proliferation, as OStatic suggests:

Volantis had already made its Mobility Server available as a free download in late 2007. By open sourcing it, the company is looking to the broad development community to help deliver web sites and applications aimed at mobile users for delivery on an ever-increasing range of mobile devices.… Read more

Nokia acquires open-source firm Trolltech

Finnish mobile-phone giant Nokia has acquired Norway's Trolltech for about $150 million, the companies said Monday.

The Nordic merger significantly expands the possibilities of Nokia's Linux-based phone efforts. Trolltech makes open-source software and programming tools that can be used to build software on mobile phones, and Nokia has been working for years on mobile Linux devices.

In the open-source programming realm, Trolltech is known well for its Qt library of user interface components such as buttons and drop-down menus. While Qt is governed by the General Public License (GPL), the elements also may be used in proprietary programming … Read more

SimCity goes open source under GPLv3

Whatever the proprietary Neanderthals may think, it's becoming clearer by the day that open source is, or will become, the natural state of software. "Nature" exerted her will yet again with the announcement that Electronic Art's SimCity has been released as open source under the GPLv3 license. The game was written back in 1983 (actually, before then) and so much of the code is too old to be useful except for research purposes.

But there's a lot of value in that, as Bill Simser notes:

There's still a lot of craptastic code in there, … Read more

SugarCRM, GPLv3, and the all-importance of brand in open source

Roberto Galoppini has declared the end to the "badgeware" debate but also potentially stirred it up again by noting that SugarCRM is using GPLv3 to insist that its logo be displayed by its SugarCRM Community users. SugarCRM is clearly within the bounds of GPLv3 by following its allowance for:

b) Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing it;

In response, Roberto suggests:

...[I]t is now clear that SugarCRM and SugarCRM?s VCs do still care a lot about brand protection.… Read more