[Continued from Part 2]
Right now, pretty much every Internet company gets to enjoy the benefits of GPL software without any real concern about IP issues. And as long as major Open Source Software (OSS) projects stay away from GPL v3, it'll continue that way and won't force a choice for any commerical Internet venture (AOL included): whether to continue directly with the trunk or pick up a GPL 2 branch (also, there is no real notion that the licensing changes are retroactive).
Short term, it probably doesn't matter much, but it is interesting to track this increasing (potential) fracturing: more OSS licenses, more applications, more content sources, more devices, more browsers, more IP backbones(?) - more diversity, and not just at the infrastructure layer. It is, after all, what the Internet promised early on: many-to-many, microtargeted communications and expressions, of content, applications, tools, etc.
For a (short) while, with Internet Explorer dominating and the Bubble popping, things were going the other way.
The wierd part seems to be that no one is making any money except the big few. Everybody else's business model seems to be: get eyeballs (or better yet, even easier - just get buzz), and get bought. There may be a Long Tail (I'll explain this term a bit more in my very next post) usage-wise for the Internet, but the dollars seem to still follow the good old Pareto principle...
But I digress... (and am done on this topic already - yeesh).