A Dual Model of Open Source License Growth

Abstract: Every open source project needs to decide on an open source license. This deci­sion is of high eco­nom­ic rel­e­vance: Just which license is the best one to help the project grow and attract a com­mu­ni­ty? The most com­mon ques­tion is: Should the project choose a restric­tive (rec­i­p­ro­cal) license or a more per­mis­sive one? As an impor­tant step towards answer­ing this ques­tion, this paper analy­ses actu­al license choice and cor­re­lat­ed project growth from ten years of open source projects. It pro­vides closed ana­lyt­i­cal mod­els and finds that around 2001 a rever­sal in license choice occurred from restric­tive towards per­mis­sive licens­es.

Key­words: Open source; open source license; soft­ware license; open source project growth

Ref­er­ence: Got­tfried Hof­mann, Dirk Riehle, Carsten Kolas­sa, Wolf­gang Mauer­er. “A Dual Mod­el of Open Source License Growth.” In Pro­ceed­ings of the 9th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Open Source Sys­tems (OSS 2013). Springer Ver­lag, 2013.

The paper is avail­able as a PDF file.

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