Perhaps it seems like open source has stopped being relevant in the GitHub era? People just “do” open source without needing to get involved with all that messing around with licenses? Certainly that’s the view Matt Asay put forward in his recent InfoWorld blog, closing his thoughts with the following summary:
we find ourselves today… in the midst of the post-open source revolution, a revolution in which software matters more than ever, but its licensing matters less and less.
Nothing could be further from the truth; open source’s predominance today shows us that it is in fact enjoying a golden age of success. If it seems like much of the furore and debate around software freedom has gone quiet of late, it’s not because the issue of licensing has become irrelevant, but because the solutions we’ve decided on and used have proven to be effective.
To the extent that GitHub gets used as a storage space for code, its likely that it will continue to have a high number of unlicensed projects kept there. In actual fact, failure to specify a license carries its own legal consequences, open to abuse when entered in to out of ignorance. For effective developer collaboration for commercial purposes however, choosing the right license creates a low-friction environment where permission to innovate is given in advance. Read Simon’s full response to Asay’s post in his latest Infoworld Article.