On Licensing and Other Conditions for Contributing to Widely Used Open Source Projects: An Exploratory Analysis

Title: On Licensing and Other Conditions for Contributing to Widely Used Open Source Projects: An Exploratory Analysis

Authors: Jonas Gamalielsson:University of Skovde; Bjorn Lundell:University of Skovde

Abstract: Open source software (OSS) projects are provided under different open source licenses and some projects use other conditions (in addition to licensing terms) for contributors to adhere to. Licensing terms and conditions may affect community involvement and contributions, and are perceived differently by different stakeholders in different OSS projects. The study reports from an exploratory analysis of licensing terms and other conditions for 200 widely used OSS projects, and an investigation of the relationship between licensing terms and other conditions for contributing. We find that strong copyleft licenses are most common and are used in the majority of the projects. Further, a clear majority of the OSS projects use no specific other condition for contributing in addition to the license terms. However, a clear majority of the OSS projects supported by foundations use other conditions for contributing in addition to the license terms. Finally, use of no specific other conditions in addition to the license terms is more common for projects using strong copyleft licensing compared to projects using non-copyleft licensing.

Download: This contribution is part of the OpenSym 2017 proceedings and is available as a PDF file.

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