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With open source software on the rise in the enterprise, more projects are looking beyond the ubiquitous GNU General Public License.

The number of projects licensed under GPLv3 - completed a year ago - have increased fourfold, though GPL's overall share of open source enterprise licenses dropped from 70 per cent to 65 per cent, according to license and code watcher Black Duck Software.

The firm arrives at its statistics by spidering the internet for open source code.

It seems that with more revenue-based businesses turning to open source, folks are getting wiser to how licensing has an impact on how their software is used. GPL may still be the time-tested standby, but there's plenty of alternatives out there and nowhere for GPL to go but down. It is a strange new world, indeed, when Microsoft's open source license is the rising star of the community.

Black Duck reckons there are about 9,500 GPLv3 licensed applications now. That's compared to 2,345 applications in 2008. Version three of the license now makes up 5.10 per cent of open source licenses currently in use.

GPLv3 is ranked number four on Black Duck's top 10 open source licenses in use. Version three is just behind BSD 2.0 with 6.32 per cent of total projects. Artistic License is a very distant second with 8.68 per cent total.

Meanwhile, GPLv2 accounts for 50.06 per cent of open source projects. Certainly, nothing to sneeze at even if its use dropped five per cent from last year. And with the Linux kernel staying true to GPLv2, it's unlikely the license will stop being of major consequence any time soon. ®

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