Apache or GPL?

Apache or GPL?

Summary: If your company wants to release its own code, and control that code, if open source is mainly a marketing concept to you, then a BSD license such as Apache or Eclipse makes perfect sense. On the other hand, if you're looking for a community to extend your code, to build your code, and to defend your code with their bug fixes and forum support, then the GPL works best.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Matt Asay today switched his license alliegiance, to Apache from the GPL.

Before anyone starts in with the Arlen Specter jokes, let me say that based on the criteria he sets out, adoption, his argument makes sense. (I also think Matt is better-looking than Specter, at right, from his own Web site, no matter what party you belong to.)

Once an open source product is released into the market, users don't really care what license it uses.

If you are looking to businesses to fund further development, a good argument can be made for Apache or even the Eclipse license. Google likes Apache, IBM Eclipse, and your user-in-the-street could probably care less.

What counts on this question for me is not adoption but development.

If your company wants to release its own code, and control that code, if open source is mainly a marketing concept to you, then a BSD license such as Apache or Eclipse makes perfect sense.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a community to extend your code, to build your code, and to defend your code with their bug fixes and forum support, then the GPL works best.

Communities develop best where rights and responsibilities are equal. But business and democracy are two different things. Business exists to exploit code for profit. Communities seek to exploit code for the shared benefit of all.

I think it's possible that, over the last few years, many companies confused corporate projects with community projects. They made noises about community support, and supporting the community, but they were really in it for themselves, this was obvious to everyone, and besides their code wasn't terribly exciting to anyone other than business allies.

On the other hand many companies have proven you can make a lot of money from the GPL. If you're willing to really embrace the community you create, to nurture that community, and to take no more from the community than the community feels is your due.

Some are finding that a rather big if. It is this if that caused the open source movement to break away from Stallman and his FOSS advocates a decade ago. And that basic, ideological divide remains.

To my way of thinking Matt just figured out which side he was on all along.

Topic: Open Source

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  • Are pigs flying.

    This was an unbiased article and an excellent read.
    zzz1234567890
  • Name me one company that makes a LOT of money

    using GPL'd code.

    Hint: $25 million a YEAR (Red Hat earnings) is NOT a lot of
    money.

    $9.74 billion a QUARTER (Apple) IS a lot of money.
    frgough
    • Exactly!

      To continue with the "Exploit" concept.

      IBM does make money indirectly by exploiting OSS. Google to a lesser extent. You could argue Apple (BSD), Sun went belly up trying to become a OSS software company. Oracle maybe sorta.

      But very very few make much money at all directly from OSS. And I agree 25 million is not a lot. Symantec wouldn't even look at creating software that made only 25 million.

      Also the whole "community" thing has to be viewed properly. Is the community large or small? Are there really _many_ contributors (a community) to the various OSS projects or are their just a few key contributors (a group) on any given project. Are the contributions new code and new features or are they ports of existing?
      DevGuy_z
      • That would make sense....

        seeing as most times the point is to make money off support or usage of GPL projects while you can pretty much mod and sell BSD style projects. Google seems to make quite bit of money using GPL code. So does Amazon, Ebay, Walmart and many other companies. Unlike some of the anti-FOSS fools they understand more than one business model. You don't have to sell software to make money...you may just need to use it. Oh yea...I forgot about the GPL Linux running in my flat screen LG at home. I guess they're making chump change too.

        Now I don't know about you but 25 million in my pocket would be pretty nice right about now. I really don't care what Symantec would look at.

        Now I guess you'll want to claim that this is somehow "exploiting" FOSS but if you read the GPL this is perfectly in bounds. Maybe your exploitation argument could be taken up with Stallman or one of those that back the AGPL. Not everyone that uses or supports FOSS think along those extremes.
        storm14k
        • For an individual

          You are right. 25 million for a person is sweet indeed! For a big company, it's chump change and you know it.
          None of the companies you mentioned actually make a lot of money exclusively due to FOSS, so your point is invalid.
          Joeman57
          • But most of the companies....

            ...that I mentioned would not make any money without FOSS so my point stands. That 25 million to an individual is how these big companies get started. You do realize that most of them started as something small right? Dell didn't just build a plant one day in Austin and open up shop.

            Thats the problem with this country. We are so in love with big corporations that we don't want to look at the small time operation that got them there. Sadly this is why most are doomed to be slaves to these same big corporations. Thats not what true American spirit is about.
            storm14k
          • Disagree with part of your point

            You are trying to tell me that "Amazon, Ebay, Walmart " would not make money without FOSS?? Boy, that's a stretch. Maybe you want to try again with different companies, because that's too farfetched to believe.
            25 million for redhat is chump change. That's all there is to it.
            I also reject your connection between one individual extrapolating that to a whole company of those sizes.
            I do agree with your second paragraph though.
            Joeman57
          • You really need to get out more....

            How do you think these companies are able to scale as they do? Look at Paypal..

            http://www.networkworld.com/techinsider/2007/032607-guide-linux-paypal.html

            Amazon is run totally on Linux. Their cloud computing service is all built on RHEL. Ebay's whole operation rests on their custom IDE built from Eclipse. Thats how these companies achieve their success. They take FOSS and build on it in house while the peons of the world try to buy everything from Microsoft and wonder why they can't reach that level. Maybe one day you'll learn how the big boys actually do it.
            storm14k
          • Sure Storm

            That's the whole reason for their success. I've got a bridge to sell you, it's built on FOSS! 25 million? Want it?
            Joeman57
      • RE: Apache or GPL?

        If youre willing to really embrace the community you create, to nurture that community, and to take no more from the community than the community feels is your due.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
        zakkiromi
    • how funny....

      $25 million is not a lot of money?????

      If you talk in Obama printing presses it is not, however if you look back at Red Hat and its beginnings it is AWESOME.

      Earning my RHCE was my biggest accomplishment as of yet and I am working on my next CERT right now.

      Comparing Apple to RedHat is foolish, they are not doing the same business model. Red Hat does consultation, support and offers software solutions based off entitlements NOT licenses.

      Entitlement & License are different animals and Red Hat is GROWING!

      We are a complete Open_Source shop and do NOT use any Windows MS software period.

      People are afraid of the truth and the truth is Open_Source is superior and it saves you money with its flexibility and the ability to cope with CHANGE that happens in IT as a constant variable.

      Regardless, I can tell you how much money 'Centos' generates for a business that keeps the bottomline tight and allows for purchasing of new hardware and other investments.

      ;)
      Christian_<><
      • Keep trying...but he's right, from

        a real business perspective ;-)
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • Red Hat Earnings

      This summary is based on the third quarter fiscal 2009 earnings call conducted by Red Hat Inc. (RHT) on December 22, 2008.

      Key Investors Issues

      - Net income was $24.3 million or 12 cents a share, up 20% from $20.3 million, or 10 cents a share in 2007.
      - Total revenue was $165 million, an increase of 22% from $135 million in the year ago quarter.
      - The firm repurchased 2 million of stock.

      Year to Date Highlights:

      - Revenues were up 27.6% to $486 million.
      - Net income came in at $63 million or 33 cents a share, up from $55 million or 28 cents a share in the prior year.

      Third Quarter Highlights

      Total revenue was $165 million, an increase of 22% from $135 million in the year ago quarter on 17% growth in subscription revenue to $135 million or 82% of total revenue.
      ron@...
    • u proved your own point... apple's osx is running on top

      of a BSD, come to think of it, i think that tho apple's bsd is open source, i'm not sure it's gpl. i think rather it's under the berkley bsd license.
      brokndodge@...
      • No... it's BSD...

        As in, the BSD license... dipshit.
        Spiritusindomit@...
        • Why so pathetic behavior?

          The "dipshit" you replied to said:

          "[i]i'm not sure it's gpl. i think rather it's under the berkley bsd license.[/i]"

          So who were you correcting, you slick polite genius?
          robsku
    • That's the point of GPL

      http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/compromise.html

      And you are damn right you should be mad about it. Those damn evil developers, wanting to eat and pay their bills! How DARE they!
      Spiritusindomit@...
  • GPL is superior to BSD

    GPL3 is the best license because greedy companies like M$ can not steal the code and sell it.
    Nor does it allow backroom deals like Novell-M$.
    Linux Geek
    • No back room deals?

      Looks to me like it happens all the time. Tom Tom managed to make a deal to incorporate MS IP in their product for three years and the open source crowd did nothing but suck it down.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
    • You can sell just not own.

      Red Hat sells Linux to make $$.

      And other companies sell GPL3 code. It isn't "free" in that sense but they can't own the source in such a way that no one else can use it.

      However, often in practice it is "free" both ways because many don't want to pay for what they can get for "free".

      That's why no-one is making much money off of OSS and why I think the GPL3 will eventually die out.
      DevGuy_z