09.11.10

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The Cost of Free/Open Source Licensing FUD

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protecode for fear

Summary: Another player in the licence FUD market steps in for a round of self promotion

THE business of selling a solution to a problem this business itself creates or exaggerates — how about that? Well, several companies have capitalised on perceived threat/fear of the GPL and turned it into money, earned essentially by selling proprietary software. Black Duck has been doing this, to a lesser extent OpenLogic too [1, 2, 3], and few others that are known to fewer people arrive at the scene. One of them is Protecode, whose Director of R&D and Product Management has just published self-promotional talking points. It’s titled “The Cost of Open Source Licensing Compliance” and it’s actually not as FUD-filled as their previous ‘plugs’ in the media. Towards the end it says:

Proper licensing and copyright compliance, implemented as part of the normal QA process, can yield savings of between and 40% and 65%, relative to the potential costs of non-compliance. Combining QA testing with preventive tools for software license management at the developer’s workstation can raise the level of savings to over 85%.

Those who are needing proprietary software to obey Free software licences may simply overlook the fact that proper education and creation of Free software obviates many if not all the issues, bringing the so-called “Cost of Open Source Licensing Compliance” down to about zero.

The writer of the piece above, Kamal Hassin, does not mean to cause harm, but he promotes proprietary software which he monetises using fear of Free software licences. He describes himself as “a thought-leader in the area of open source licensing and is the author or co-author of a number of papers on Software Intellectual Property management.” Why not encourage businesses to make their software free (as in freedom) and then evade this whole issue called Intellectual Property [sic]? It would be both productive and safer, and it would help foster an industry which creates more code and employs fewer lawyers/enforcers (or none).

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