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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