Just How 'Free' Are Open Source Licensing Models?
Confusion and controversy about Open Source licensing did not start with current Free Software Foundation efforts to revise the GNU General Public License (GPL). Nor will emergence of an acceptable GPL V3 – or of a revised Lesser GPL or Affero GPL (thanks Dana Blankenhorn) – make OS licensing much less problematical for enterprise users. Concerns are both alleviated and complicated by a profusion of options that range from GPL's communitarianism to the Common Public License's collaborative focus to BSD's laissez-faire liberality. The variety of schemes in use creates opportunity: witness, for instance, Apache's magnificent munificence. But one must also take care to avoid bait-and-switch, pretend Open Source licenses that promise freedom in both common senses, liberty and price, but ultimately deliver neither.