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24 June 2008, 10:25

GPLv3 on the advance

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One year after its publication, the third edition of the GNU General Public License has been adopted by around two and a half thousand open source projects. The GNU Lesser General Public License Version 3 (LGPLv3) released at the same time as GPLv3 has chalked up some 250 projects. Two compliance management specialists, Black Duck and Palamida have been tracking the acceptance of GPLv3 since its introduction. Palamida runs the GPL Watch List web site, where the spread of GPLv3 is followed in detail.

Among the most widely known projects that moved over to the new version of the Free Software Foundation's licence last year are Samba, the free CIFS implementation, and SugarCRM. Trolltech, too – now a part of Nokia – has been offering its Qt Developer Framework since the start of the year under Version 3 of the GNU General Public License. The new version 3 of the free office suite OpenOffice will also adopt LGPLv3.

According to Palamida, there are now 109 projects under the Affero General Public License (AGPL). This extends the concept of software distribution to Software as a Service (SaaS). Applications released under the Affero GPL which are then provided as a services are also subject to an obligation to release their source code. The Funambol mobile synchronisation service is one of the most prominent examples of this.

Black Duck estimates the number of open source projects using GPLv3 has grown by 20 per cent per month in the last six months, but is predicting a decline in growth to around 10 per cent in the near future – 58 per cent of all open source projects rely on version 2 of the licence, which dates from 1991. Black Duck also points out a trend towards dual licensing, in which producers market their software either under an open source licence, or as a proprietary product.


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