License To Kill…Your Code...
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One Line Summary
Just as the lack of software discipline can lead to bad code and poor usability, the lack of license understanding and execution can cripple the legitimate usability of open source software.
There is just one technical criterion that makes software, “open source” software. The license. It is necessary and sufficient. Of course the Open Source movement is much much larger than that, but without the license there is no movement.
Many open source projects neglect or trivialize licensing matters such that it negatively affects commercial viability of their Open Source Software (OSS). Many projects are licensed under a dozen or more licenses, yet many believe just one license applies. Often, licensing terms are poorly implemented within a project which leads to end users not being granted the necessary permissions to use and share the software. Just as the lack of software discipline can lead to bad code and poor usability, the lack of license understanding and execution can cripple the legitimate usability of open source software.
We provide 7 important rules of thumb for managing source code licensing terms. These guidelines, if followed, would enable open source projects to avoid common pitfalls that prevent millions of end users from being grant the required permissions to use and share the code.
You will never look at open source licensing the same way again.
License, Licensing, Compliance, copyright, infringement, intellectual property, GPL, LGPL, BSD, GPLv2, legal, General Public License, open source
Wind River / Intel
Sven Dummer is the Product Line Manager for embedded Linux and Open Source at Wind River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel. He had his first Linux contact in 1994, and since then never got away from it. He joined Wind River coming from Novell, where he was Product Manager for the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server product.
Wind River Systems, Inc.
Mark Gisi is Senior Manager of Intellectual Property at Wind River Systems where he is responsible for managing IP policies, processes and IP compliance. His responsibilities include conducting due diligence IP reviews, IP training and managing the company’s open source contribution program. Mark currently oversees the IP compliance of thousands of open source packages used in dozens of product releases consisting of over 60 million lines of code (including Wind River’s embedded Linux offering). Mark served on the Eclipse IP advisory committee and currently serves on Wind River’s Corporate Open Source Review Board. Prior to Wind River, Mark founded Quality Instincts, an Intellectual Property business consulting firm and served as a Member of Technical Staff at HP Labs in the Software Technology lab. Mark holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the State University of New York.