By  Matt Asay

Focusing on the wrong open source issues

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2024-04-22 11:00:04

By Matt Asay

Contributor, InfoWorld |

If you follow open source topics on X/Twitter, you can be forgiven for believing the biggest issue in open source today is companies relicensing their open source code under different licenses. Thierry Carrez, the vice chairperson of the OSI, for example, recently issued a dire warning: “single vendor is the new proprietary.” Sounds terrible, right? I mean, once you forget that the vast majority of software that you and I use every day on our phones, laptops, servers, etc., is proprietary. (Yes, with plenty of open source buried inside and effectively “relicensed.”)

Here’s just a tiny bit of data that makes these concerns seem silly: Of the 10,000-plus companies that participate in Linux Foundation projects (and open source more generally), there have been exactly 14 single-vendor relicensing events. Yes, 14. And of those 14, despite all the digital ink we spill talking about the critical need to fork to maintain freedom, only three have been forked. Again, that’s 14 projects/repositories out of the 162 million that GitHub reports.

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