Linux promises end to licensing headaches

10 Aug 2010 View Comments
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The Linux Foundation has released software to enable corporate legal compliance

The Linux Foundation, a group dedicated to supporting and promoting open source operating system Linux, has released software which aims to help businesses avoid violating open source licensing law.

The Open Compliance Program includes tools to check for potential code violations, self-assessment checklists and training from Linux Foundation legal experts on open source licensing.

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Eben Moglen, founder and chairman of the Software Freedom Lawcenter, said: " Participation in this programme, along with necessary legal advice and training, should allow any organisation to meet its FOSS [Free and Open Source Software] licence compliance responsibilities completely, at very low cost."

The developers hope that companies using the programme will incur lower legal fees as they no longer have to concern themselves with potential licensing disputes over any open source software they employ.

The programme has been released as Linux and other open-source software is increasingly used in the operation of consumer devices, leaving manufacturers free to alter the code, and make greater profits free from licensing costs.

The result is that increasing numbers of organisations are using open source software and potentially violating licensing law, often unknowingly.

Jime Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said: “As Linux has proliferated up and down the product supply chain, so has the complexity of managing compliance. Our mission is to enable the expansion of free and open source software, so we created this programme to give companies the information, tools and processes they need to get the most out of their investment, while maintaining compliance with the licences governing the software.”

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