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Open Source Is Old School, Says The GitHub Generation

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OSS

For years, the software industry has been trending away from so-called 'copyleft' licenses like the GNU General Public License (GPL) and toward permissive, Apache-style licensing. Given the rising importance of developers, this isn't surprising: developers just want to get work done without being bogged down by license requirements. It's perhaps not surprising, therefore, that permissive Apache licensing may simply be a way station on the road to no licensing at all.

That's what GitHub seems to be telling us, anyway.

A Trend Toward Extreme Permissiveness

Early in the life of free and open-source software, copyleft licensing reigned supreme. But for years, permissive licenses like BSD and MIT have been climbing, as Redmonk analyst Donnie Berkholz nicely pictures:

rest here




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Imagine your company just acquired its competitor for $100 million. Now imagine the company’s most important asset – its proprietary software – is subject to third-party license conditions that require the proprietary software to be distributed free of charge or in source code form. Or, imagine these license conditions are discovered late in the diligence process, and the cost to replace the offending third-party software will costs tens of thousands of dollars and take months to remediate. Both scenarios exemplify the acute, distinct and often overlooked risks inherent to the commercial use of open source software. An effective tech M&A attorney must appreciate these risks and be prepared to take the steps necessary to mitigate or eliminate them. Over the past decade, open source software has become a mainstay in the technology community. Since its beginnings, open source software has always been viewed as a way to save money and jumpstart development projects, but it is increasingly being looked to for its quality solutions and operational advantages. Today, only a fraction of technology companies do not use open source software in any way. For most of the rest, it is mission critical. Read more

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