Pentaho's BI Platform Released Under GPL

Pentaho, a maker of open business intelligence (BI) software, is moving away from the Mozilla Public License for its BI product. The company announced this month that Version 2 alpha, as well as subsequent versions of its Pentaho BI platform, will be released under the GNU GPL Version 2 license.

The licensing change was spurred by Pentaho's desire to move to a "reciprocal license format," where Pentaho developers can modify the codebase and pass on improvements to other users. That's one advantage of GPL licensing, since all third party code modifications fall under GPL licensing as well.

GPL is one of the most commonly used open source licenses, with lots of market, legal and community support. Over 60 percent of projects on Freshmeat fall under the GPL license.

Pentaho chose GPL2 over GPL3 because company officials thought that GPL2 was easier for Pentaho's client base to work with and repackage. Popular open source solutions -- such as the Linux operating system kernel, Java implementations and MySQL database -- also fall under GPL2, and that helped to set a precedent, according to Lance Walter, Pentaho's vice president of marketing.

"So far, the reaction we have seen has been positive, largely in the sense that people already understand the GPL; they have worked with projects in other companies that are GPL licensed, so it [Pentaho's relicensing] appears to be very well received in the community outside Pentaho," Walter said, in an interview.

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Will Kraft is a Web designer, technical consultant and freelance writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. Also, check out his blog at