Author Archives: Dirk Riehle

License clearance in software product governance

I recently participated in an NII Shonan workshop on open source ecosystems. As a follow-up, we are preparing a book of articles. I’m contributing a chapter on “license clearance in software product governance”. Obviously, open source plays an important role. Please find abstract and paper below.

Abstract: Almost all software products today include open source components. However, the obligations that open source licenses put on their users can be difficult or undesirable to comply with [25] [14] [20]. As a consequence, software vendors and related companies need to govern the process by which open source components are included in their products [21] [7]. A key process of such open source governance is license clearance, that is, the process by which a company decides whether a particular component’s license is acceptable for use in its products [19] [4] [15]. In this article, we discuss this process, review the challenges it poses to software vendors and provide unanswered research questions that result from it.

Read the full paper as HTML or as a PDF. The final reference will be announced once the book has been published.

Tech troubles of @Seagate Backup Plus Slim

About two years back, I bought a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB external 2.5 inch harddrive. I love it! So much so, that I tried buying a second one a couple of months ago. From the get go, that second copy behaved weirdly, The disk was slow and seemed to operate in intermittent sprints only. I finally got out a benchmarking tool and the the tests bore out that something was wrong, when compared with my original (older) copy. The original one is displayed to the left, the new one to the right.

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Costs of no or poor open source governance

When talking with companies about the use of open source, sooner or later we end up discussing the problem of license compliance. This is perhaps the most prominent aspect of open source governance for companies getting started with using open source. It can be surprisingly difficult to coherently explain the cause and effect chains that create the potentially high costs of not properly governing your open source engagement!

So here then is my take at teasing it apart.

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Register now for Forum Open Source 2017

On June 20th, the the 2017 Bitkom Open Source Forum will take place in Berlin. In my opinion, this is the best vendor-neutral opportunity in Germany to meet and listen to open source experts and how open source is shaping the German and international software industry. I will present my main blockbuster talk on

why software vendors, large and small, “give away their intellectual property” by contributing to an open source project.

Essentially, I will be talking about the business models and industry strategies underlying contribution to and leadership of open source projects, platforms, and foundations. Participation is free, even for non-members, and I recommend you register early (by email) to make sure you get a seat at the table.

Open data is moving, slowly but surely

I’ve been participating in various workshops and working groups on open data now. It is hard scrabble, but things are moving. Today I participated in a workshop of the open data task force of Bitkom which I am a member of. The highlight of the day was the participation of Saskia Esken who explained some and handled questions and answers on the new open data for government law that is coming up in Germany.

In related news, the task force finished its open data manifest, a collection of quality attributes of what good open data are and what to ask of providers and the government. A small handbook is in work as well.

From a Student Business Plan

In PROD, my course on software product management, students can choose to develop a business plan for a software product. Not all of my students seem to take this as serious as I wished. Here is the opening sentence of the exec summary from one of the teams:

With a total loss of 388,987.50 Euros in the period of 2017 to 2019, we will increase profit by 2,123,121 Euros and the customer base by 1392% […] Break even will be reached by mid 2018.

Reminds me off the bubble days: “We will make 80 cents for one dollar spent and will be profitable in no time!”