I’m at my Ph.D. student retreat, following the Open Core Summit, a commercial conference on the use of open source strategies by product vendors, on Twitter. From afar, it appears that the attack on the definition of open source has made it to the conference. This is regrettable, but possible because of a root problem with the open source definition as defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI): It is about the licenses only. Only on the side, in the open source initiative’s mission statement does it say something about process:Continue reading “The Missed Opportunity in Defining Open Source #OpenCoreSummit”
Self-enlightened contributions to open source projects are (code) contributions that come about because a company chooses to contribute. The opposite is forced open sourcing, which typically happens when a reciprocal license like the GPLv2 forces a company to lay open some source code.
Self-enlightened contribution is hard!Continue reading “Why Self-Enlightened Contribution to Open Source Projects is Difficult”
I’m happy to report that the third article in the new Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.
|Title||Open Source License Compliance–Why and How?|
|Keywords||Open Source Software, Licenses, Software Packages|
|Authors||Hendrik Schoettle, Osborne Clarke, Munich, Germany|
|Publication||Computer vol. 52 (August 2019), pp. 63-67|
Abstract: Compliance with open source software (OSS) license requirements is necessary but often overlooked. This article explains how OSS license compliance differs from compliance with commercial software licenses, why it is necessary even though OSS is generally free, and what requirements have to be met with OSS.
Also, check out the full list of articles.
I thought I’d illustrate how I’d solve the current licensing conundrum of single-vendor open source firms like MongoDB and Elastic using some graphics. In short: While open source application vendors can still dual-license, open source component vendors (like the companies just mentioned) need to triple-license to get the benefits of open source yet keep their competitors at bay.Continue reading “Triple-Licensing Single-Vendor Open Source Components (Illustrated)”
As you may have noticed, the move away from approved open source licenses to commercial almost-like-open-source licenses by single-vendor-owned open source projects has created a lot of bad press for the vendors behind such software. I don’t really understand this, because for all that I can tell, a triple-licensing rather than just a dual-licensing approach could have solved their problems. Let me explain.Continue reading “Solving the Commercial Open Source Licensing Dilemma With Triple-Licensing”
I’m happy to report that the second article in the new Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.
|Title||Free and Open Source Software Licenses Explained|
|Keywords||Open Source Software, Licenses, Computer Security|
|Authors||Miriam Ballhausen, Bird & Bird, LLP, Hamburg, Germany|
|Publication||Computer vol. 52 (June 2019), pp. 82-86|
Abstract: This installment of Computer’s series exploring free and open source software confronts a pressing issue, free and open source software licenses: what they are, the rights they convey, and the restrictions they impose.
Also, check out the full list of articles.
I’m pretty frustrated by some of the discussion around the recent relicensing decisions by commercial open source companies. A fair bit of it seems confused to me, and I think this is mostly due to commentators not understanding the purpose of community for the vendor. So I decided to write a hypothetical pledge for venture-capital backed companies that those can adopt to be clear about their intentions. Then, future behavior doesn’t come as a surprise. Non VC-backed companies may want to tone down the return-on-investment verbiage. With that:Continue reading “The Commercial Open Source Pledge”
Life is exciting in commercial open source land. On Tuesday this week, another commercial open source vendor relicensed its product while at the same time disavowing the open core model, which they call a tiered approach to their business. This disavowel piqued my interest, not because the open core model is good or bad, but because the argument seemed confused to me and illustrates how important it is to understand your users and the resulting market segmentation.Continue reading “Market Segmentation in the Open Core Model”
On a recent trip to Montreal, I reconnected with Marc Laporte, leader of the WikiSuite project and an old friend and fellow wiki enthusiast. Naturally, we talked about open source business strategies and he pointed me to one way of how commercial open source companies make money: They don’t provide you with a free upgrade path from one version to the next; you only get an upgrade if you pay.Continue reading “From the Bag of Commercial Open Source Tricks: Paying for the Upgrade”
Here is the simplest eye-opener that I have found in my consulting practice to convince management of the need for an open source program office:
Ask your manager to look at the open source license section under legal notices on their mobile phone. Ask them to scroll down to the end (they’ll never finish). Then point out that your product needs the same but doesn’t have it yet (if it doesn’t).
The reasoning behind this recommendation is that many managers simply don’t understand the extent to which open source is in their products. There is no better demonstration than to show them using a device they use frequently.