Open Source / Free Software : Beware the Black Duck
Recently someone pointed out the Black Duck list of popular licenses as a “more recent” reference list.
After some reviewing, I would strongly recommend against that Black Duck list, for several reasons:
Lack of neutrality
Open Source Initiative (OSI) is the foundation that first officially defined the term “Open Source”, as a non-profit, vendor neutral organization, free from any commercial goals.
The licenses that Black Duck added relative to the OSI popular licenses list, include several unpopular, problematic licenses with less than 1% market share, like for example:
- Artistic License (1.0), very controversial within the FLOSS community
- Academic Free License, declared redundant by OSI
- Open Software License, like LGPL, GPL incompatible, untested in court
Black Duck has managed to be granted patents on trivial “software methods for detecting and resolving open source software licensing conflicts”. This not only contradicts the spirit of sharing and software freedom by most definitions of common sense but also illustrates the aggressive for-profit focus of the company.
Professor Bradley Kuhn from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) went so far as to say: “Black Duck again shows itself as a company whose primary goal is to prey on people’s fear of software freedom.” (quoting from an article on arstechnica.com)