OpenLogic says "enterprises prefer Apache"
The results of a survey by OpenLogic, makers of scanning and governance tools and provider of open source support, show that while developers appear to prefer to license software under the GPL, enterprises prefer to use Apache-licensed software. The survey was based upon data from the company's Open Logic Exchange (OLEX) and two hundred of its enterprise customers.
OpenLogic first examined the licences applied to the 330,000 packages held in their OLEX repository. The GPL dominated this category with 68.9% of packages licensed under it; followed by the Apache (7.6%), LGPL (6.7%), BSD (5.3%) and MIT (4.1%) licences. They then moved to analyse download statistics for OLEX, and found that, in this case, Apache took the lead with 32.7%, followed by the LGPL (21.0%), GPL (14.4%), BSD (3.8%) and MIT (1.6%) licences. Regarding the download data, OpenLogic told The H that the figures also include downloads from the free olex.openlogic.com site and that it was therefore a broader sample than just the enterprises who had used OpenLogic's licence scanning tools or its support services.
Finally, OpenLogic examined the results from using their "Deep Discovery" scanner to analyse what packages were in use by "enterprise applications". Apache maintained its lead with 15.3%, but now it was followed by the MIT (10.8%), BSD (10.5%), GPL (9.5%) and LGPL (8.9%) licences. Those "enterprise applications" are, according to Kim Weins, OpenLogic's Senior VP of Marketing, created by their customers who are usually "distributing software or electronics products containing software" and who "often try to avoid using open source licences due to concerns about copyleft requirements and the impact on their own intellectual property". This would mean they are not a reflection of general enterprise use of open source, but more of how enterprise application makers make use of open source licensed software.
Weins also told The H that these results were not weighted, so a simple one function library and a full web application server would both count as one package. Concerning the application scanning Weins said "we count the number of applications where the licence appears, regardless of how many different open source packages that use the licence were found" – so an application with a dozen Apache-licensed libraries would only count as one application with Apache-licensed content.
OpenLogic's own conclusion is that just counting open source projects under particular licences does not reflect the actual adoption of those projects and associated licences by end users. Weins believes that there are useful messages in the statistics: "GPL advocates have more work to do to convince enterprises to embrace the GPL" and that "open source developers choosing more liberal licences will lower the barrier to enterprise adoption".