GitHub and Open Source Licenses

Are you at risk if you use code from GitHub? There’s a lot of code shared on GitHub. But surprisingly, much of it is “all rights reserved”, meaning despite being public you have no specific rights to use it. GitHub don’t require projects to apply a copyright license of any kind, let alone an open source license that would give you the right to use, study, improve and share the code. I dig in to the issue in today’s InfoWorld column.

Locked-In With Open Source?

You can be if it’s not really open source. While open source forms a part of many proprietary solutions, the term “open source” should only be used to describe software whose full source code is made available under an OSI-approved license, commercial or not. I discovered to my surprise at a recent conference that there are still vendors who want to deceive people into thinking proprietary solutions can be open source, so I’ve written about the issue in InfoWorld this week.

MyGOSSCon Slides

I gave a presentation yesterday in Malaysia on the forces driving change in open source; here are the slides.

Open Rights Group Maturing

In the space of a few weeks, the Open Rights Group (where I’m a volunteer director) has gone through a growth spurt, winning an award for campaigning work, launching an appeal for members to fund a legal advisor so it can engage in EFF-style direct interventions and winning the right to intervene in its first court case. I’ve written more today on ComputerWorldUK.

 

Cause and Effect

Why do people take actions that actually make things worse as they attempt to solve complex problems? I was interviewed Monday for an upcoming documentary called “Orwell Upgraded“. They decided to release one of my answers as a teaser for the documentary – it is the 2 minute summary of my essay Direct & Indirect Causality.

Open, Free and Commercial

Finessing Stallman’s Pragmatism

Not a title that you might expect to see, but Richard Stallman has indeed posted a pragmatic proposal for dealing with software patents – to limit enforceability of patents against software running on a general-purpose computer. Based on my experiences fighting the Software Patent Directive in Europe, I believe his proposal will face stiff opposition from the telecoms and consumer electronics industries, so I’ve a modified proposal – limit enforcement of patents on software only to cases where it’s implementing a standard which includes patents declared during standardisation.

The full discussion is on InfoWorld – take a look and tell me what I’m missing,

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