licensing

The participatory nature of the Internet strengthens fan communities

media remix

Whether the big media producers like it or not, digital technologies have made it easier than ever for popular culture fans to create remixes or derivative works from their favorite movies, TV shows, books, and other media. And the participatory nature of the Internet has arguably helped broaden the popular definition of a "fan community" from something exclusive to comic and sci-fi fans to being inclusive of many genres and people. This includes giving wider exposure to a vast and yet often overlooked demographic in pop fandom—women—and their influence on mainstream media stories. » Read more

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Should I use a permissive license? Copyleft? Or something in the middle?

copyleft

The open source license you choose for your project, or for the projects you choose to contribute to, can have significant effects on how what you contribute is used. One question that has garnered quite a bit of interest recently is the fall in popularity of copyleft licenses in favor of permissive licenses. An article last year looked at the issue of large number of projects on GitHub that have no explicit license and posited the question about whether we live in a 'post open source software' world, where seemingly open source software has no license. After some time, GitHub agreed that licensing is important and worked to improve the situation with a license chooser. » Read more

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Prepare students for a rapidly changing world by teaching with open source

open source software for education

At the school district where I am the director of information technology, over 90% of our information systems have been transitioned to open source software. Ubuntu is the server operating systems at the district office and schools, while the Ubuntu desktop is deployed for students, teachers, and administration through the use of diskless clients.

As a result, students and teachers use primarily open source programs which include LibreOffice, Scribus, the Gimp, and Inkscape, to name a very few. We are able to centrally control over 2300 workstations at 16 schools and keep software much more current than many districts attempting to maintain commercial software packages. We have achieved significant energy savings, over 70% on our clients, and greatly reduced licensing costs.

» Read more

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Post open source software, licensing and GitHub

SHARE

Few would deny that the rise of GitHub as a popular hosting service for software projects is one of the most significant developments to affect open source during the past five years. GitHub's extraordinary success is necessary context for understanding the criticism leveled at it during the past year from some within or close to the open source world. This criticism has focused on licensing, or rather the lack of it: it is claimed that GitHub hosts an enormous amount of code with no explicit software license. Some critics have suggested that this situation results from a combination of the ignorance of younger developers about legal matters and willful inaction by GitHub's management. In a followup article I will discuss the measures recently taken by GitHub to address these concerns; this article explores aspects of the complaint itself. » Read more

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The selling of Open Educational Resources (OER)

open education resources

As a self-professed metadata geek, I’ve recently been participating in an online discussion about metadata and the Learning Registry. I have to say, it feels as if I’m on a merry-go-round that won’t stop, because for the past 10 years I’ve engaged in dozens if not hundreds of conversations about the use of OER (open education resources) metadata concerning these same issues: Do we need it? How should it be licensed? Who owns it?

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Everything you need to know about licensing in 2 minutes

open source and copyright law
  • 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.
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Open source code and business models: More than just a license

Open source strategy and business models

As an organization or even individual there always seem to be questions when considering whether or not to make your project or code snippet open source. Many times, it starts with trying to figure out which license to use. But there are many other things to consider. We derived a list for you the next time you ask yourself: Should I open source my code? » Read more

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The EFF covers Google's open patent non-assertion pledge

patents for open innovation

The flood of software patents has created an environment where companies are afraid that innovation leads to being hit by patent lawsuits. Every dollar spent fighting patent trolls and or waging patent wars is a dollar not spent researching, developing, and creating jobs. The situation is so bad that, in 2011, Apple and Google spent more on patent litigation and buying patents than they did on research. So it’s no surprise that some companies are looking for new ways to navigate the patent system while promoting openness and innovation.

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Open source economic model: Sell the license or charge a consulting fee?

open for business

On two recent occasions I've been asked to share why the open source economic model is sound. The first was on the elevator with an academic researcher while attending a recent meeting. We talked about open source, and he asked me:

"If the software is open source,
how are developers suppossed to make a living?".

» Read more

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The entrepreneur's dilemma: Justifying contributor agreements in open source

The entrepreneur's dilemma: Justifying contributor agreements in open source

At the start of the summer, you may recall Project Harmony causing a certain amount of controversy on the subject of contributor agreements in open source communities. My position on them was and is that they are a rarely needed and exceptional tool that should be avoided unless essential, because of their negative effects on the dynamics of open source communities.
» Read more

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