I want to talk about licenses. The topic I’d normally prefer to avoid. Deelip Menezes made a good post about Sales and Licensing of software. However, I want to talk about specific part of licenses – Open Source and Free Licenses. I don’t understand the subtle differences about various types of Open Source Licenses. The discussion about licenses usually lead to long conversations with legal eagles and I feel myself very unsafe in these conversations. The following article cough my attention – Google Code accepts all OSI licenses. I recommend you to have a read an interview with Chris DiBona.
Google has announced its Google Code developer site will now host open-source projects using any license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Previously, as part of its longstanding protest against "license proliferation," the web giant only allowed projects using a small subset of OSI licenses. Google still doesn’t like license proliferation, but it’s embracing more licenses, nonetheless. "We think we’ve made our point [about license proliferation] and that this new way of doing things is a better fit to our goal of supporting open source software developers," reads a blog post from Google open-source guru Chris DiBona.
Few years ago, Open Source was absolutely not an option for enterprise organizations. However, life changed these days. Open source is discussed and many people are trying to innovate in this space in order to find the right answers from various standpoints – technical, product, portfolio and legal. So, I decide to spend some time talking with you about what could be an appropriate open source licensing option for PLM world.
Free and Open Source Licenses
This is a good read about the history and background about the comparison between various available Free Software Licenses and Open Source Licenses. There are two organizations related to this matter – Open Source Initiative (OSI) and Free Software Foundation (FSF). There is some overlap between them. You may take a look on the comparison of Free Software licenses by navigating on the link.
Open Source Initiatives
Navigate your browser on the following link. You can see available open source licenses approved by Open Source Initiative. What was interesting to me is to see categories of licenses such as Popular, Redundant and non-Categorized. The last contains quite many licenses. Also, there is also a category for non-reusable license. Website contains information about OSI license review process. I recommend you to spend some time on this site.
Free and Open in PLM World
Aras is the only one company I know in PLM world promoting the ideas of Open Source and Free licenses. Aras introducing their way for Open Source – Aras Enterprise Open Source. This is the explanation I found on Aras’ website.
…Our [Aras] approach was to combine multiple software formats, OSI-compliant open source, community sourceand commercial platforms, in a mixed source structure to provide the assurance necessary for business-critical solutions while delivering the flexibility for collaborative innovation. We [Aras] call it enterprise open source.
It is interesting that I didn’t find any reference to Aras on the Enterprise Open Source directory website. According to the information provided here, the website contains about 140’000 references on enterprise open source projects.
What is my conclusion? The Open Sournce licensing story is damn complicated. However, with a growing interest and influence, understanding of available open source and fee software licenses will be crucial. I’d be interested to hear about your experience and to know your opinion about that.