New Study Reveals Anxious Trends in Open Source: Without License, Without Protection

A report for 2023 dedicated to the largest licenses to the largest Package managers, revealed the need to inform developers about the importance of licensing information. Despite the widespread use of open source software, the report data show that most of the software is distributed and used without a license.

Analysis carried out by an independent Swedish researcher Alexander Volodzhkins based on the data from Clearlydefined as of September 21, 2023, reveals the trends in the Open Source ecosystem. Clearlydefined is a joint project that provides complete and standardized metadata about the origin of the components of the software, as well as their licenses.

The most popular licenses were MIT and Apache 2.0, known for their simplicity and minimal restrictions. However, license preferences vary greatly depending on the programming language and package manager used.

Programming Language (Package Manager)Most Popular Licenses
JavaScript (NPM)MIT (53%), Apache 2.0 (14.76%), ISC (10.48%)
.net (nuget)MIT (21.55%), Apache 2.0 (13.37%), components without a license (26.76%), “NoSSERTION” (31.95%)
Java (Maven)Apache 2.0 (69.18%), MIT (7.4%), “NOASSERTION” (14.75%)
Python (pypi)MIT (29.14%), Apache 2.0 (23.98%), BSD 2-Clause (6.25%), GPL 3.
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