If you want to go by numbers, I imagine that "no license" and "Pay me and get no source at all" trounce all the open source licenses combined.
There's also the wee issue of some lawsuit by AT&T that kept BSD rather occupied for a number of years.
Still shows out of all the open source licenses, GPL is far more popular.
The GPL is probably most popular with Universities and non-profits who cannot afford proprietary software.
When was that lawsuit?
Conversely, BSD benefits those who don't like overly restrictive copyrights and just want the code to be out there. Some of us have better things to do with our time than treat users of our code as criminals from the get-go by forcing them to do the right thing.
BSD is probably better for those that want to make money on software, but for those that sell services and support, the GPL might be better. After all you still need people to write the code. Like what RedHat does with its distribution. Linux is more rapidly
developed than FreeBSD, so developers do write more GPL code than BSD, just not developers for major software development companies.
RedHat may spend months on developing it and then it gets released and people create alternatives based on it for free. It appreciates that it may lost some customers due to this, but someone may come along and add features that are benefitial to everyone.
That may end up with gaining them more customers as they would want support and far more prompt updates (with derivitives updates may be a day or two later).
The ones that may actually add the new features may be some that would not use there software otherwise.
There's nothing in the GPL that guarantees faster development. If it did, HURD would be more than Richard Stallman's attempt to have done something useful in the last decade or so that didn't involve political arguing and turning software into a moral
battleground. I'd say that Apple has done some pretty good stuff with BSD licensed software and at a pretty good clip too. They couldn't have done most of it if BSD was 100% GPL'd.
No license can guarantee fast development. But if Linux was not released under the GPL (i.e. under a BSD license instead), it would not be where it is today. Didn't BSD get released before Linux? Yet there are only three major distributions I know of (FreeBSD,
NetBSD and OpenBSD). I'm sure there are more, but nowhere near as many as those based on Linux.
Surely there are more Linux users than Apple MacOSX users? They have done a good job, but I suspect RedHat or SuSE have greater market share.
Ah, the infamous "GPL Condom". Yeah...that's a great idea....create multiple barriers so that your work isn't infected by the GPL. By doing that, you do show, however that the GPL isn't the great guarantee of "WE WILL MAKE YOU GIVE US YOUR SOURCE" that
you think it is. In the end, for a business, the BSD license is simpler, and gives the people writing the code a choice in what to do with it. Last I heard, choice is good, and forcing someone to do something isn't choice at all.
Yes you do need choice. BSD is good for some, GPL is good for others.
Anyone who wants to write an application either has to write it from scratch, use BSD code or use GPL code or another license. The difference with GPL software is that it can only really get better - as if you add improvements, other people have to have them
as well. People shouldn't complain about the GPL - the only reason to do so is if there is similar software to what they do, only yours is not free. You do not have to use GPL code - it just means you may need to do more work.
What will customers choose? Often the free alternative. Unless you can offer better value through services and support.
MySQL and RedHat have proved that you can build a business on open source. The major powers on the internet use open source (not just GPL licensed, but BSD and others) - Google, Yahoo, Amazon. ASP.NET and Coldfusion seem to be the only platforms that compete
with the open source alternatives (PHP, Perl).
Back on topic. I don't feel that any license that Microsoft comes out will appease GPL developers. Perhaps when the next version of the GPL is out it might be possible.
At the moment, the only real alternative to Microsoft Office (Open Office) is under the GPL license so I don't see it supporting this new format, unless the filters used are not governed by it. I could imagine users requiring Star Office to open these formats
though as Sun is the main one behind OpenOffice.