Posted by: commonsresource | May 18, 2010

Don’t Panic? – Odence’s Guide to the galaxy of the weirdest open source software licenses

One of my many favourite passages from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” is the scene in The Restaurant at the End of Universe where we meet Hotblack Desiato, the Disaster Area rock group keyboard player, who is “spending a year dead for tax reasons”. I was reminded of this scene as I read Phil Odence’s humorous post entitled I could license you to use this software, but then I’d have to kill you on his Look to the Source blog on Network World”s Open Source Subnet.

Phil’s post points out that there are “Just shy of 2000 different licenses cover the 230,000+ projects in the Black Duck Knowledgebase” although “It’s important to note that the top 10 licenses cover 93% of all projects and the top 20 almost 97%.” He then takes us on a fun guided tour of a number of “The weirdest open source software licenses” in the remaining 3%. While Phil’s post is definitely entertaining, it also does an excellent job of highlighting the deadly serious challenge of license compliance!

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