[License-discuss] objective criteria for license evaluation

Luis Villa luis at tieguy.org
Tue Nov 13 17:58:00 UTC 2012

At least some of these slightly unusual/surprising results are
probably a result of methodology; e.g., many CPOL "projects" are just
a code snippet, and most are just a file or two, so treating each of
them the same as other projects probably doesn't reflect the real
scope of license usage there.

As a general matter, I'd be hesitant to rely on any one source for
popularity numbers without a fair amount of transparency around the
data gathering methodology.

On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM, Tzeng, Nigel H. <Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu> wrote:
> Top 10 seems reasonable. If you collapse GPL into 1 category and LGPL into
> one then that leaves:
> GPL 44%
> Apache 13%
> MIT 11%
> LGPL 9%
> BSD 7%
> Artistic 6%
> EPL 2%
> MS-PL 1%
> MPL 1%
> CDDL <1%
> You could do top 9 with a 1% threshold but 10 is a rounder number and
> there still are some significant projects/technologies using CDDL
> (NetBeans, etc).  To not include MPL in the list would also strike me as
> odd given the significance of some of the projects under MPL and the
> (IMHO) importance of that license to Open Source in general.
> As for C# these days I only loosely follow MonoMac and MonoTouch (mostly
> from a lack of desire to learn ObjC) so I'm not the right one to ask.
> That MS-PL is used more often than MPL surprises me.  I would not have
> guessed that.
> On 11/13/12 11:46 AM, "John Cowan" <cowan at mercury.ccil.org> wrote:
>>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
>>License-discuss mailing list
>>License-discuss at opensource.org
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