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Juergen Haas

Fifty-Eight Open Source Licenses. Too Many?

By March 31, 2006

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Cast your vote below. "Do not make more open source licenses" has been a long-standing plea from Martin Fink, HP's vice president of Linux. He stressed it again this week at the Sydney Linux World Conference and Expo, as reported by ZDNet Australia.

Last year, ZDNet blogged Fink’s challenge to IBM and Sun to drop their open source licensing schemes and adopt the GPL. Back in 2004, TechWorld reported Fink saying "A lot of people don't realize that today there are dozens and dozens of open source licenses." At the time, there were a total of 52 open source licenses.

As many open source developers would concur on the concern over confusion and difficulties resulted from the large number of open source licenses, not everyone welcomes corporate influences on open source communities. Yet Another Linux Blog's Devnet wrote in April 2005: "Open source was made for the common good of everyone, not just those in I.T. nor in the enterprise environment. In this case, I feel that the call to remove licenses from the OSI model is just that...taking OSS for granted. These businesses are assuming that they can have the OSI sort through the licensing schemes and 'clean out the closet' in a sense." "The beauty of the OSS model we currently have is that it has many licenses to choose from," Devnet continued, "This allows software developers to choose what is right for them and to open source their software with a license that they are comfortable with and that their customers are comfortable with." More by Devnet.

Vote: Do you think there are too many open source licenses?

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