[License-discuss] objective criteria for license evaluation

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Tue Nov 13 16:46:42 UTC 2012

Tzeng, Nigel H. scripsit:

> Unless you do open source using Perl or C#.  Two widely used languages
> with strong communities backing them.

AFAIK most Perl work is done using a GPL/Artistic disjunction.
I know there is a lot of C# in the world as a whole; how heavily is
it used for open-source work, and how much of that is under the MS-PL?
(These questions are not rhetorical.)

> Since it is a distinction without a difference in your opinion then
> may we assume that you should have absolutely no problems with adopting
> such a metrics driven list?

Personally I would have no problem with it, excluding of course any
licenses that are not OSI certified.

The problem of course is when to stop.  I would be content to chop off
all licenses with less than 5% market share at Blackduck, which would
give a short and sweet list:  GPL (43%), Apache (13%), MIT (11%), LGPL
(9%), BSD (7%), Artistic (6%).  I think all further concerns would be
satisfied by a strong recommendation that if you are working within
a particular community, to use the standard license of that community
whatever it is.  To meet the objection that some of these licenses are
legacy, it would be interesting to see a crosstab of number of projects
started in a given year vs. their licenses, assuming that relicensing
events are rare enough to ignore.

(Note: I got the ordering wrong in my last post through failing to add
LGPL 2.1 and LGPL 3.0 numbers.)

John Cowan    cowan at ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
        Sound change operates regularly to produce irregularities;
        analogy operates irregularly to produce regularities.
                --E.H. Sturtevant, ca. 1945, probably at Yale

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