OSI Fights Free Software License Proliferation

OSI's License Proliferation Committee has published a first draft report which categorizes Free Software (or Open Source, if you want) licenses.

The categories are

  • Licenses that are popular and widely used or with strong communities: GPL, LGPL, BSD, MPL, MIT license, Apache license, Common Development and Distribution License, Common Public License, and Eclipse Public License. I'd really urge anyone who has to decide on a license to choose one of these (preferrably one of the first three, IMHO)!
  • Special purpose licenses
  • Licenses that are redundant with more popular licenses. Don't use one of these, choose one from the first category!
  • Non-reusable licenses
  • Other/Miscellaneous licenses
  • Superseded licenses
  • Licenses that have been voluntarily retired

The charter of the committee states "[t]he purpose of the Committee is to identify and lessen or remove issues caused by license proliferation", which is a good thing, IMHO. I'm fed up with the recent trend that every company or organization invents their own "open source" license (often I would not even consider such licenses remotely open of free, but that's another issue).

In total, the report categorizes 59 licenses into the above categories. I'm sure most people would agree that such a huge amount of licenses is totally useless and only creates confusion and problems. Please, if you have to decide on a Free Software license one of these days, choose a major, well-known one. Or even better, if you currently use a non-standard license in one of your projects, please consider switching to a more streamline license which fits your needs. Thanks!

(via Heise)