Final Thesis: Open Source Licenses and Project Growth

Abstract: What license to choose or change? That’s a question many open source projects will face at least once. Besides philosophical reasons to favor one type of license over another there is the concern whether the chosen license has an impact on the project’s success. But does the license really matter that much regarding the latter? This thesis provides a two-bin model of open source licenses (permissive vs. restrictive) and analyses whether there is any impact on the growth of open source projects. The analysis is based on a sample of roughly 30% of all open source projects from the time period 1995-2007. Growth is determined by absolute growth of all projects, growth in number of active projects and average growth per project. Correlation is done by license type. It can be shown that for a period from 1995 to roughly 2000/2002 there is a significant difference in the total growth in SLoC with the restrictive set growing faster. This changes for the time period from roughly 2000/2002 to 2007.

PDFs: Diplomarbeit (thesis), Work Description

Reference: Gottfried Hofmann. Open Source Licenses and Project Growth. Diplomarbeit, Friedrich Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.