☝ License Compliance: Not An Open Source Problem

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The New York Times featured the activities of the GPL enforcement community recently. While there’s a part of me that’s pleased there are people doing this, I’m concerned that their actions – and those elsewhere, such as the Linux Foundation‘s compliance programme – are the focus of public understanding about open source software. Of the many attributes of software freedom that could move to front-of-mind, it strikes me that the minimal license compliance burdens for open source software are actually a comparative strength and having them presented as a feature applies a “frame” that serves only the detractors of software freedom.

License compliance is a major and costly issue for proprietary software, but the license involved in that case is an End User License Agreement (EULA), not a source license delivering extensive liberties. When we compare like-for-like, we discover open source software has no such issues. End-users do not need to have a license management server, do not need to hold audits, do not need to fear BSA raids. No wonder proprietary vendors want to divert our attention! Open source is so much easier!

Read on over at ComputerWorldUK

☞ Gaming The System

  • “When a company says which of these conditions it will accept, that will show you how far it plans to depart from the principles of free software.”

    An interesting discussion by Richard Stallman that indicates he is still willing to tolerate copyright aggregation by corporations. The fact is no corporation will accept these extra clauses he has written, so unless they include them in their standard agreements by default, he might just as well say (as I did) “avoid copyright aggregation.”

  • “lobbyists have attempted to put the focus on “mixed solutions with open and proprietary code” and have FRAND licenses declared compatible with open software”

    The people involved definitely should know better than this. While it is possible to build specific cases of FRAND licensing that can be considered compatible with open source licensing, the class in general never can be and the voices saying otherwise should be ashamed of themselves as they attempt to sell everyone’s freedoms in exchange for corporate marketing dollars.


  • ForgeRock’s training group is now ready for business and pumping out courses on OpenAM and OpenDJ. This page is the new training calendar.
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