Can a license be too ethical?

The Gnu General Public License (GPL) holds an amazing position as the premier free and open source software license but this position may be slipping since its move to version 3 in 2007. In an article entitled Does GPL still matter? Yahoo Tech News reports:

A June study conducted by Black Duck Software, an open source development tools vendor, shows that the Free Software Foundation‘s GPL — although far and away still the dominant open source licensing platform — could be starting to slide. The survey found that despite strong growth in GPLv3 adoption, the percentage of open source projects using GPL variants dropped from 70 to 65 percent from the previous year.

This is interesting. But the question is what does this decrease (if it should be seen as a decrease) mean? The GPL has been in controversies before during its history (Wikipedia historical background) – in fact it’s monunmental position in free and open source software is built upon its unflinching ideological stance which has often been the root of controversy.

The question is whether the GPL has gone too far and is losing its position or if this should be seen as the GPL taking a new moral stance and waiting for the rest of the world to realise the wisdom of its position?

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