Stephen Walli

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Top Stories by Stephen Walli

Software is surprisingly dynamic.  All software evolves.  Bugs are found and fixed.  Enhancements added.  New requirements are discovered in using the software.  New uses are found for it and it is shaped to those new uses.  Software solutions that are useful and used must by their very existence evolve.   Well organized open source software communities create the right conditions to make this dynamism successful. The world continues to embrace and adopt free and open source licensed software across the board.  Vendors and OEMs, their IT customers, governments and academics are all using, buying and making open source software, and often all three at once. Using and buying liberally licensed open source software, i.e., consuming such software, are relatively straight forward affairs. You buy a product based on open source licensed software pretty much the way you bu... (more)

Making Commercial Open Source Software

I recently blogged about making open source software, and the high level steps for how to think about the process. We started with the need for software to seed the discussion, the need for clear motivation as to why to publish as open source software, and then the structural requirements to build a community (license choice, collaboration platform or forge, and governance considerations). Contributions are the life blood of any community, so lastly we talked about the need to build an onramp to encourage users that will hopefully become contributors, and the additional onramp ... (more)

Which Open Source Software License Should I Use?

I've recently been involved in several discussions that are variations on, "Which open source or free software license should I choose for my project?" Here is my way of looking at the large and growing collection of licenses in the wild. First let's make sure we all understand that I Am Not A Lawyer. This is not legal advice. Depending upon your needs and your comfort with risk around your software, you'll want to confirm your legal choices with counsel in your jurisdiction. The first and obvious consideration is whether or not the license is approved as an open source license ... (more)

Everything You Need to Know About Software Copyright & Licensing-to-Share

Software is protected by copyright law in the U.S. and many other countries. Anyone that wrote the software, owns the copyright and can say how it is used.  [NOT saying how it can be used does NOT remove your responsibility as the owner, even if you don't care.] People sometimes give up their copyright ownership to the software they write in their employment agreements.  [If you didn't read your employment agreement, you're probably not a professional software developer.] If you want to liberally share your software with others so they can use it for anything, there are a few wel... (more)

The Math of FOSS Freeloaders

Concerns are raised every once in a while in the broader free and open source software community about freeloaders. The attitude expressed is that if you're getting the benefit of FOSS, you should contribute. Building a business on a FOSS project you don't own, whether you're providing a service or product around a FOSS project should in return garner some sort of quid pro quo. In reality, freeloaders are desirable. I think we need to look through the other end of the telescope. The people most often concerned about freeloaders and the free ride are actually the ones with the mo... (more)