Managing Open Source Agreements and Licenses

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Managing Open Source Agreements and Licenses

Teddy Chen, Director of IP and Assoc. General Counsel , EMC Corporation, USA

Open Source Software (OSS) is generally software wherein the source code is available, downloadable without cost, can be modified, and the modifications are distributable. Thus, OSS provides an alternative and viable, but different business model that can complement or replace the proprietary software model. The OSS software paradigm, like that of proprietary software, comes with a specific bundle of costs; however, these bundles of costs are very different. This article seeks to examine the OSS costs to enable a business to make an educated decision about using open source software. Generally, OSS is not free in the classical sense; rather, OSS licenses present a myriad of restrictions and implicit costs. For example, in addition to OSS license compliance costs, other costs of OSS may include maintenance, education, risk-management programs, and real and opportunity costs, all of which are discussed below. Consequently, the benefits of open source such as speeding software development and deployment should be weighed against the costs of its use.

EMC Corporation provides products and services to help people and organizations around the world bring the power of their information to life through the creation of information infrastructure and virtual infrastructure. Many of EMC's offerings in areas such as networked storage, data backup and recovery, backup management, data archiving, data protection, data deduplication, data consolidation, data replication, content management, and information security enable customers to transition to the next-generation of information management in their journey to private cloud computing.

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