[Baypiggies] Marginally Relevant: Open Source Value to Companies

Rick Kwan kenobi at gmail.com
Mon Dec 21 22:11:56 CET 2009

I would agree there are no surprises in the article for people doing
open source work.  What did surprise me was that there are specific
court decisions showing the enforceability of open source licenses.

In recently years, I've had the opportunity to: (1) work with lawyers
on some open source prep, and (2) talk with people studying
acquisition issues in COTS ("commercial off-the-shelf" in military or
government parlance) software.  I've come to the conclusion that there
is very little difference between incorporating open source vs other
third-party proprietary code into a product.  You need to establish
ownership, and understand the terms of the license and what it
obligates you to do.  How much due diligence is applied to this seems
to vary widely from one firm to the next.

How different is incorporating open source vs purchasing proprietary
DLLs off of Programmer's Paradise?  If some lawyers think certain
questions magically go away because the latter code is proprietary,
then I think they are overlooking something.

--Rick Kwan

On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:52 PM, K. Richard Pixley <rich at noir.com> wrote:
> The info in the article is only scary to people who are ignorant of the
> issues.  The rules for regular corporate intellectual property are no less
> complicated - more so, rather.  All they're really saying is that if you've
> never used open source software commercially, then you may have a learning
> curve because you may actually have to read a few licenses.

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