Lets look at two of the most popular open source projects today, OpenStack and Hadoop. OpenStack was created by Rackspace and NASA under and Apache license and has spawned an ecosystem of over 140 companies including startups like Nebula, Piston, Cloudscaling, Stackops, and major players like Rackspace, HP, and Citrix. Hadoop, created by Yahoo and also offered under an Apache license, has a huge ecosystem including Cloudera, HortonWorks, Mapr, Datameer, Platfora, Karmasphere, Hadapt and has been adopted by virtually every large scale internet company. In the cases of both Hadoop and OpenStack, the existence of a high quality, flexibly licensed reference platform has spurred a tremendous amount of innovation.
Even beyond fostering a startup and vendor ecosystem, there is actually concrete data that enterprises prefer adopting Apache licensed projects. A survey by OpenLogic released in May 2011 found that 69% of open source applications are licensed under the GPL but GPL projects represent only 9.5% of open source applications used in the enterprise. Flexible licenses (Apache, MIT, BSD) on the other hand represent 36.6%. Kim Weins, senior vice president of marketing for OpenLogic, went on record saying that “open source developers choosing more liberal licenses will lower the barriers to enterprise adoption.”
While OpenFlow has achieved some great successes so far, it has the potential to fundamentally transform the networking industry just as Hadoop is tranforming data analytics and OpenStack is transforming cloud infrastructure. Realizing this potential will require openness in just about every dimension — open working groups, specifications, and high quality, flexibly licensed open source tools. This is why we are so happy to make Floodlight available under the Apache license.