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Increasingly permissive or increasingly dismissive: Is GPL use declining?

In free software circles, a disturbing number of conversations treat it as given that fewer new projects are choosing copyleft licenses, and more are going the route of lax permissive. Though this has been repeated in news articles and blog posts, when we look deeper for evidence of the claim, we find either anecdotes (often from the field of corporate-backed project license choices), or highly questionable and unscientific data sets. In this talk, John Sullivan from the FSF evaluates these claims: assumptions and bits of conventional wisdom need to be audited just like code, to ensure that the business plans and movement-organizing decisions which flow from them aren’t based on rotten foundations.


1 year, 10 months ago

Tagged with

staff-board · DebConf17 · video

Collected in

DebConf 2017 (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.

LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.

We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.

Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.

In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.

The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.