Open Source Licensing Trends: 2017 vs. 2016

Looking back at 2017, the year succeeded in serving us a healthy bit of open source licensing drama. How much drama, you ask?

The Facebook patenting clause, for example, swept many developers into endless message-board musings and assertions about the ins and outs of patent law. In the Linux community, Patrick McHardy, infamous Netfilter contributor, went rogue and decided to take GPL enforcement activities up a notch, taking quite a few companies to court over alleged GPL licensing violations — much to the dismay of Linux community leaders, who have always favored settling licensing issues outside of the courts.

Most developers don’t typically spend much time thinking about their project’s open source licensing, but when the legal issues start making headlines or spur extra long threads on reddit, we know that open source licensing and the threat of copyright or patent trolls are on our minds and not just behind the closed doors of our organization’s legal department’s meeting room.


Open Source Licenses in 2017: What’s Hot and What’s Not

To take a closer look at the ins and outs of open source licenses over the past year, our research team analyzed our database of over 3M open source components and 70M source files, covering over 20 programming languages, to see which open source licenses were most popular in 2017, in comparison to 2016. We found that results show a few very interesting trends in open source licenses. Here is our rundown of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of open source licenses.


“Anything Goes”: The Rise of Permissive Open Source Licenses

The first trend that we can see in the data is the continued rise of components with permissive open source licenses, with the permissive MIT and Apache 2.0 licenses leading the pack.

“Anything (Read more...)

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