Is there data on the frequency of Open Source License type by software industry type (eg. video editing, malware scanning, word processing, cryptocurrency, VPN, file encryption, etc)?

Data for any and all types of Open Source Licenses would interest me, but the following common license types are most relevant:

  • Apache License 2.0
  • BSD 3-Clause "New" or "Revised" license
  • BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" or "FreeBSD" license
  • GNU General Public License (GPL)
  • GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License (LGPL)
  • MIT license
  • Mozilla Public License 2.0
  • Common Development and Distribution License
  • Eclipse Public License

Source: https://opensource.org/licenses

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    Neat question. When you say industry, could you elaborate? Do you mean projects on GitHub and BitBucket, or everywhere? There are a few issues with collecting data on this, but I'm thinking of starting a project to collect data on this. This is somewhat related to that.
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 18, 2016 at 14:23
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    What do you mean by Industry? can you be specific? And what do you mean by frequency? For instance would you count the 7M line Linux Kernel as +1 for the GPL and a 10-line JS library as +1 for the MIT? Jun 19, 2016 at 9:50
  • @PhilippeOmbredanne perhaps "industry" was the wrong word since "software" is an industry all by itself. With what frequency are the various open source license types chosen in the video editing software compared to the malware scanning software industry for example. The answer to your second question is yes. +1 for GPL and +1 for MIT regardless of the amount of code covered by the license.
    – Smart Kid
    Jun 19, 2016 at 14:41
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    So there is no such stats available to the best of my knowledge. We could build it though ;) Jun 19, 2016 at 19:50
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    My personal experience from companies (large and small) is some time ago: we take everything that helps currently: we take everything except GPL2/3 near future: we take only libs with a understandable open license. which means all above but with clear version number and docs necessary for the licenses and checks that licenses work together. there a companies that use GPL2/3 and open their source, but I never met one
    – openCage
    Jul 6, 2017 at 7:54

1 Answer 1


There is data, but it is not available publicly or for free.

Blackduck, for example, maintains a knowledge base of this kind of information, but you have to be a customer to access it. I would be surprised if FOSSA and other licensing consultants didn't have similar information.

You could also probably get this kind of data from industry analysts as well (Gartner, Forester), but that would be less accurate for your purposes as it would focus only on the kinds of enterprise customers that employ them, not all software projects.

Github has the raw data for their users as well, since they classify projects by license. However, the full raw data isn't public and I don't know what's required to gain access to it. Also, I don't know that GH classifies projects by your definition of "industry", so you would need to find a way to apply that classification yourself.

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