Open source license smackdown debate

Industry leaders defend and debate the GPL, EPL, and BSD licenses

We've all seen the news about the waning use of the GPL open source license. It's also becoming clear that a handful of OSI-approved licenses are going to win out over the 60-plus OSI-approved open source licenses.

Which licenses are winning, why, and which license should you use for your open source project? Great questions. Go ahead and ask them. They'll get answered by three open source luminaries on Aug. 31.

[ Related: Does GPL still matter? and Why do vendors select the GPL license? | Stay up to speed with the open source community via InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter.]

The Free and Open Source Software Learning Centre (FOSSLC) has arranged a live debate (in Ottawa and on free Webcast) to discuss the GPL, the Eclipse Public License (EPL), and the BSD license.

Alfresco's Matt Asay will be defending the GPL. The Eclipse Foundation's executive director and Mike Milinkovich will be backing the EPL. Finally, Coverity's open source strategist and BSD board of director will be representing the BSD.

Go ahead and submit your questions before the event; attend virtually or in person if you’re in Ottawa, Canada.

My pragmatic nature says the smackdown will end in a three-way tie. Deciding between the GPL, EPL, BSD, or other open source license should be a result of which license best helps attain your business goals. It's also important to consider the ecosystem around your product. For instance, it's no coincidence that the latest incarnation of the JBoss messaging project uses the Apache license, not the LGPL like most other JBoss projects. The project team felt that the Apache license would ensure that the project's code could be more easily included into products from the ecosystem. Being pragmatic -- it's not just for Canadians anymore.

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p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

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