The Future Resurgence of Copyleft

In 2009, half of open source code was licensed under the GPLv2 license, the canonical copyleft license. Every other license had less than 10% market share. Over the years, the MIT license and other permissive licenses kept climbing at the expense of the GPLv2. As of today, the MIT license is the leading license with more than 32% market share in absolute numbers, with the GPLv2 license having fallen below 20%.

Continue reading “The Future Resurgence of Copyleft”

Open Source Project Licensing

In a well-working community open source project, many people contribute. In particular, software developers will submit code contributions. As a consequence, without further measures, the copyright in the project’s code will be widely shared among its contributors. 

To ensure that a project can be used without fear of violating someone’s intellectual property rights, all project artifacts, in particular the code, need to have a clear open source license, and ideally only one. 

Continue reading “Open Source Project Licensing”

Open Source Explained (in German, without Jargon, in 1500 Words)

Open-Source-Software, im engeren Sinne, ist Computer-Software (Programme), die kostenfrei genutzt, modifiziert, und weitergegeben werden können. Bekannte Beispiele für Open-Source-Software sind das Linux Betriebssystem und der Firefox Web-Browser. Open Source im weiteren Sinne ist ein von Menschen getragenes Phänomen, das uns ungeahnte Möglichkeiten der weltweiten Zusammenarbeit sowie neue Geschäftsmodelle gegeben hat.

Continue reading “Open Source Explained (in German, without Jargon, in 1500 Words)”

Company Support for Open Source Stable for 15 Years Now?!

I just read Nagle et al.’s Report on the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey. They find that about 50% of contributors are paid by their employers to work on open source software. This confirms a 2013 paper on paid vs. volunteer work in open source of ours, which also suggested that about half of all development takes place on company time. The rub: Our paper used rather old, pre-Github times data from 2007 (culled from Ohloh, now OpenHub).

Does this mean that in the last 15 years or so corporate engagement in open source has remained stable?

Continue reading “Company Support for Open Source Stable for 15 Years Now?!”

Open Sourcing Research Software

In this 15min. primer I’ll take you through the basic steps of open sourcing your research software. It covers purpose of open sourcing, the rights situation, license choice, and the actual step of open sourcing.

The slides and video are also available for download.

Open Source in Business on Labor Economics

Dave Neary and colleagues recently started a podcast on open source in business. There are already two episodes out, the first one on product management in commercial open source, and the second one on open source and the cloud. Check them out!

Even better yet, yours truly will be on the podcast for the third episode, talking about the labor economics of open source. I first thought we’d be discussing our article on the open source software developer career. However, Dave has much more in store, so don’t miss it and register right away! It will air on September 29th, 2020, at 4pm CEST/11am EDT/8am PDT with a Europe friendly timezone! The episode is live so you can ask questions.

Continue reading “Open Source in Business on Labor Economics”

Where is Open Source in Factory Automation?

An important benefit of an open source project is that it is long-lived and can’t go out of business. Unlike a closed source supplier, which can go bankrupt, your usage and update rights to an open source software can’t suddenly disappear.

From working with customers I know very well that the manufacturers of (comparatively) expensive machines like cars, trains, and planes have long warmed up to open source and appreciate that open source projects will stick around when (some) closed source suppliers are long gone or killed their products.

Continue reading “Where is Open Source in Factory Automation?”