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10 July 2009, 11:26

SFLC challenges Black Duck to open source code

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A recent report from Black Duck Software suggests there has been a five per cent decline in the use of GPL licences since 2008. The Software Freedom Law Center's Aaron Williamson has called the figure "meaningless" pointing out that the methodology and mechanisms behind Black Duck's statistics are not available for scrutiny.

In a posting on the SFLC's blog, Williamson explains that there are inherent difficulties in analysing free software licensing. He goes on to note that Black Duck doesn't give any information on how the three hundred new sites added to the company's KnowledgeBase in the last year have affected the underlying data that they are comparing.

Because of these issues, Williamson calls on Black Duck to release its analysis software under an open source licence saying "I encourage Black Duck Software to release its own software under a free software license - whether by joining the alleged groundswell and using a permissive license, or by resort to a retrograde copyleft license – so that its methods can be evaluated by the community (not to mention its customers) and its reports can be rendered meaningful."

Black Duck's Peter Vescuso rejected the call in a forum posting on saying "While Black Duck, like Red Hat and many other participants in the open source community, does not make all its products available under an open source license, we believe we provide significant contributions to the community by providing the means by which customers can more easily comply with authors' desires and obligations, and providing free resources and code search to the community (via, which many believe to be the most significant value of all."


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