GPLv2 Less Popular

Sep 18, 2009

Latest statistics from Black Duck Software show version 2 of the General Public License (GPLv2) sliding in popularity. Just under half of all the open source projects contained in the September 2009 statistics used the GPLv2.

The software resource specialist Black Duck Software publishes daily updated data on the twenty most popular open source licenses on its homepage. Basis for the data is an in-house Knowledge Base with information on around 185.000 software projects. The latest version shows 49.5% GPLv2 users, which translates into about 100.000 projects. In June 2008, the classic license lay by 57.7%. Yet the GPLv2 remains undisputed leader, with the second place Lesser General Public License (LGPL) way behind on 9.5%. The Perl Artistic License takes third place and version 3 of the GPL with 5.3% comes fifth. LGPLv3 can be found at position 15.

The competiton between GPL versions 2 and 3 is especially poignant. Linus Torvalds has strongly objected to the stricter edition and has repeatedly emphasized that the Linux kernel will remain under GPLv2. The GPLv3 was released in June 2007, its forerunner has been around since 1991. The LGPL was created by the Free Software Foundation under the leadership of Richard Stallman, as was the network variation, AGPL.

In his commentary on the statistics, Black Duck Chairman, Eran Strod, praises the Foundation's achievements, regardless of the version clash. "As someone who is passionate about open source, I can't say enough about the FSF and the incredible contribution that they have made to the industry (and the world) in creating the GPL family of licenses." In total, Black Duck Software puts the number of current open source licenses at 1698.

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