Open Source Legal Debt

Open source legal debt is unwanted open-source code in your products and projects.

Code may be unwanted, if it does not fit your (a company’s) business model. An example is code that has been copied from StackOverflow into your code base. That’s because code from StackOverflow has a copyleft license, which means that as you distribute your software, you can only use the license StackOverflow uses, not your own. According to this license, those who receive your software are free to pass it on, for free, and you can’t do anything about it.

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Non-Software-Industry User-Led Open-Source Consortia

tl;dr We observe sustained growth in what we call non-software-industry user-led open-source consortia. These are open-source consortia (non-profit organizations) created by companies from outside the software industry with the goal of developing the applications these companies need to run their business. Their behaviors are different from other open-source consortia and we can see this expressed in their governance rules.

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Two Issue Break of IEEE Computer Column Open Source Expanded

Thanks to this editor’s inability to wield their whip effectively, the IEEE Computer magazine’s column Open Source Expanded is taking a two issue break: There wasn’t an August 2022 article and there won’t be an October 2022 article in IEEE Computer magazine. We will resume our regular bi-monthly schedule in December 2022. Until then you may enjoy rereading some of the old articles. Thank you for your patience and continued support.

Problems, Solutions, and Success Factors in the openMDM User-Led Open Source Consortium [CAIS Journal]

Abstract: Open-source software (OSS) development offers organizations an alternative to purchasing proprietary software or commissioning custom software. In one form of OSS development, organizations develop the software they need in collaboration with other organizations. If the software is used by the organizations to operate their business, such collaborations can lead to what we call “user-led open-source consortia” or “user-led OSS consortia”. Although this concept is not new, there have been few studies of user-led OSS consortia. The studies that examined user-led OSS consortia did so through the lens of OSS, but not from the inter-company collaboration perspective. User-led OSS consortia are a distinct phenomenon that share elements of inter-company collaboration, outsourcing software development, and vendor-led OSS development and cannot be understood by using only a single lens. To close this gap, we present problems and solutions in inter-company collaboration, outsourcing, and OSS literature, and present the results of a single-case study. We focus on problems in the early phases of a user-led open-source consortium, the openMDM consortium, and the solutions applied to these problems. Furthermore, we present the factors which lead this consortium to sustained growth.  

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The Four Opens: Open Source Beyond the Code (Ildikó Vancsa, IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 21th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleThe Four Opens: Open Source Beyond the Code
Keywords
AuthorsIldikó Vancsa, Open Infrastructure Foundation
PublicationComputer vol. 55, no. 6 (June 2022), pp. 81-84

Abstract: This article describes a set of guiding principles that open infrastructure communities, such as OpenStack, use to create and maintain balanced ecosystems around projects and navigate the challenges and intricacies of open collaboration.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Call for Article Proposals for Open Source Expanded Column in IEEE Computer Magazine

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I manage a regular (bi-monthly) column on open source for the IEEE Computer magazine (about 60K print subscribers and many more online readers). Article topics are broadly about open source. I’m calling for proposals for new articles in the series. You can read past Open Source Expanded articles on this blog and on the Computer magazine site (all articles are freely accessible).

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Software Development Metrics With a Purpose (Gonzalez-Barahona et al., IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 20th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleSoftware Development Metrics With a Purpose
Keywords
AuthorsJesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, Daniel Izquierdo-Cortázar, Gregorio Robles
PublicationComputer vol. 55, no. 4 (April 2022), pp. 66-73

Abstract: A new generation of toolsets that are flexible enough to adapt to the data analytics needs of a given scenario is emerging to analyze free, open source software (FOSS). GrimoireLab is one such toolset that meets many of the needs of foundations, developers, and companies.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Manufacturing Independence in the Age of the Cloud

Intel just announced a US$ 33B investment in creating chip manufacturing plants in Europe, about half of which will go to the (otherwise rather quaint) town of Magdeburg in Germany. In almost any respect this is good news. It creates jobs in Europe and Germany. It will instigate a local ecosystem of suppliers and entrepreneurs. Knowledge will diffuse and spread, creating more innovation, companies, and jobs.

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Commercial Participation in OpenStack (Zhang et al., IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 19th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleCommercial Participation in OpenStack
KeywordsOpenStack, Open Source Software
AuthorsYuxia Zhang, Hao He, Minghui Zhou
PublicationComputer vol. 55, no. 2 (February 2022), pp. 78-84

Abstract: This article provides a overview of commercial participation in OpenStack, a large-scale open source software (OSS) ecosystem. We discuss how to achieve a balance between maximizing business profit and ensuring the long-term sustainability of OSS ecosystems.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.