Amdahl's law and non-proliferation

Forrest J. Cavalier III mibsoft at
Wed Apr 13 06:18:51 UTC 2005

1. According to sourfeforge statistics at

    The GPL, LGPL, BSD, and MIT licenses already cover 89% of the
    sourceforge projects with OSI-approved licenses.  The OSI has already
    clearly stated that no one intends to deprecate or list any
    of those 4 licenses as "not recommended".

    That leaves just 11% of licensing decisions to be influenced.

2. I think it is safe to assume that those ratios hold for
    non-hosted projects, and license choices for future projects
    too.  (Feel free to adjust the statistics; they aren't going
    to need major adjustments.)

3. By Amdahl's law... (if you are not familiar with it see

    )...the effect of any OSI policy change will be AT MOST some
    FRACTION of the 11%.

4. I hold that the fraction of the 11% which is "easily influenced" is small
    because....most authors have some good reasons for choosing outside the
    "big 4".  "Good reasons" are not easily countered.

5. That leaves some small fraction of the 11%: those who did not have a
    good reason. Perhaps they can be easily influenced, maybe they might
    even become aware of the OSI's new policies.

    Unfortunately, if an author hasn't thought enough about licensing
    to form a solid opinion on licensing based on "good reasons", they probably
    don't release much software anyway.  They aren't relevant.

It bothers me that ESR is far better than most at these kinds of analysis,
yet no-one authoritative has come to license-discuss to explain how to
arrive at a different conclusion.

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