You may have read some of the reports over the past year about organizations trying out new open source licensing strategies that aren’t actually all that open (in fact, I covered this subject in depth in a previous post). These efforts have been met—at best—with a mixed reception, and some have already begun a hasty retreat.
An open license should give everyone the right to use, modify, and distribute software under an agreed upon set of terms. Those basic rights created the low friction that has made open source so central to the modern software industry. These new licenses break that bargain and increase friction, by attempting to limit who can and can not use the software.
So what is behind this new movement toward not-so-open open licenses? What would force rational, well-meaning companies to pursue these strategies? Why does it hurt open source? And what might be a better solution?
I share my thoughts in this short video.
If you find this video helpful, consider going deeper by watching this introductory video, or downloading the Tidelift guide to working with open source licenses and our best practices for working with open source licenses checklist.