Monday, January 7, 2008

v3 Check-in: First of the Year

One of the high points of the last year in technology was the introduction of GPLv3 and LGPLv3 back on July 28th, 2007. I thought it was so important I wrote up a v3 status reports on adoption in August, September and October. By my last count in late October, there were 605 GPLv3 and 74 LGPLv3 projects.

The current status of GPL and LGPL v3 adoptions according to Black Duck is 1,191 GPLv3 and 171 LGPLv3 projects. This represents 97% and 131% growth respectively since that late October check-in posting. The current project-license adoption count also shows that GPL represents 87% of the v3 licenses; LGPL represents 13%. Thus, there has not been a discernible shift to LGPL. (Note: For a period of time the LGPL adoption rate superseded GPLv3 adoption. As I explained at the time this did not turn out to be a sustained trend.)

In my 2008 trends blog posting on 12/31/07, I indicated that “GPLv2 will continue to dominate, GPLv3 will grow steadily and the Affero license will be newsworthy”.

If one drills deeper in the data, it turns out that the v3 adoptions growth rate on a month-to-month basis has sharply fallen off. This is probably due to three reasons: (1) The novelty of v3 has worn off, (2) the GNU/Free Software zealots, as early adopters, have run their course, and (3) there is a seasonal factor; like software product introductions, few open source projects are introduced in November and December. Products introductions usually ramp-up in the first quarter of each year – especially in January – and peak in April and May, and September and October, during prime trade show season. But the falloff in v3 adoptions is worth monitoring.

I stand firm in the belief that GPLv3 adoptions will ramp up this year. I think the falloff is a natural part of the software introduction and adoption cycle paralleling product introductions.

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