GPL Project Watch List for Week of 10/03: Financial Crisis and Open Source

U.S. President George W. Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 in the Oval Office after the House passed the $700 billion financial rescue legislation in Washington, October 3, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Theiler (UNITED STATES)

The GPL v3 Watch List is intended to give you a snapshot of the GPLv3/LGPLv3 adoption for September 26th to October 3rd 2008.

October 3, 2008 – The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for the U.S. financial system is signed by President George W. Bush.

This Week:

  • Week Summary
  • New Projects
  • Financial Crisis: How will it affect Free and Open Source software?
  • User Contributions

AGPL v3 Momentum

We have noticed an increase in AGPL v3 numbers this week, which shows that the interest in the AGPL v3 is still growing. It is a relatively small license compared to the GPL v3, but is finding its niche in the market. Recently we were also contacted by a user of our site about our AGPL v3 information, who is looking to developer psychology related services using AGPL v3 software. It just goes to show that the AGPL has caught the interest of a select group of people and can be used in a wide range of fields.

This week our GPL v3 count is at 3215 GPL v3 projects, an increase of 31 GPL v3 projects. The AGPL v3 count is at 181 AGPL v3 projects, up 51 projects. The LGPL v3 number is at 294 LGPL v3 projects.


New project conversions this week include:

    • C/C++ Libraries: Collection of C and C++ libraries, and C++ classes under the GNU Lesser General Public License. This collection includes all versions that are under the GNU LGPL, even if a newer version is available.


    • PeerSE: This is a Java based xBase engine to read write and update dbf files. Using the package’s classes and methods programmers can process dBase III and IV files and some clones (e.g. Clipper/FoxPro) along with index and tag files and the individual fields.


  • Zimplit CMS: Zimplit is the easiest Content Management System (CMS) ever made. It is extremely lightweight, simple and customizable. Zimplit consists only one file. No database needed. With Zimplit you can edit any HTML/CSS page.


Financial Crisis: How will it affect Free and Open Source software?

The current financial and credit crisis on Wall Street has had a global affect on the economy that we have not seen since the Great Depression. The economic downturn has hurt nearly all sectors of the economy, the tech industry being no exception. So in these times of uncertainty, it is obvious that IT companies of all sizes will be looking for anyway to reduce costs, one of them being the implementation of open source software. Will this economic crisis be somewhat positive by accelerating the use of open source?

According to Matt Asay from CNET the answer is yes across the board. In an informal poll he performed, he asked various open source companies how the failing economy has been affecting their sales. Some might think that with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 4000 points over the past year, these open source companies would have headed in the same direction with everyone else. However, every company that Matt Asay polled is recording record sales. It is not surprising to us or to Matt that companies are shifting from expensive proprietary software to cost efficient open source software, but it did take us back that every single company that Matt polled is doing so well. It solidifies the fact that open source companies are in a different market and a different business.

Open source has always been the underdog when competing for commercial business. There might have been too much fear or misinformation about what open source is and how it works, and before the economy began to fall, there was no reason to fix that which was not broken. But hard times call for drastic measures and for these companies to reevaluate their business models and spending. Companies can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by switching over to open source software and lose little to none functionality, perhaps even gaining in functionality. In an article entitled Five programs you can afford in a financial meltdown, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols lists open source alternatives to popular proprietary software programs. Almost every piece of software has an open source counterpart these days and it is becoming more costly to ignore them. Perhaps one of the biggest myths about open source software is that it is a lesser product when in actuality it is just a different product built a cheaper way. The largest costs to implementing open source software, and what I suspect has held the conversion back for so long, is relearning, retraining, and readjusting the business model for the new open source software. But these costs are more time and effort than actually cash spending, and with the economy in the state that it is in, this is no time to be lazy.

The times are changing and are changing fast with what is going on in politics, the world, and the economy. The opportunity for open source to go mainstream is drawing near due to factors such as the falling economy and advancements in online technology such as Web 2.0 and cloud computing, mentioned in last weeks article. This may be a bit cynical, but it seems fitting that as capitalism is failing, open source is benefiting. Open source, which came out of the free software movement, was anti-capitalism and sought to free developers and users from the grips of proprietary software. It really is no surprise that open source is doing well during this financial crisis.

-Antony Tran
-Edwin Pahk


We appreciate all the contributions that have been made, either through our form on our web page or by email, and we also like to hear why you are changing your project’s license as in the email above. It gives us more insight into which direction license trends are moving. We will continue to post up user contributions to our blog each week, and we may quote parts of your emails. If you wish the email to remain private, just mention so and we will not disclose any part of it.

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Antony Tran
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