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InfoWorld: Open Source Citizenship

Oct 27, 2003, 23:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon Udell)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"Recently I moderated a panel discussion on software reuse in which we all agreed that open source projects are major providers of reusable software. But one of the panelists, Flashline's CEO Charles Stack, said something that surprised the rest of us: This reuse is often a one-way street. Flashline sells a repository-based software asset management system. He told us that his customers indeed manage lots of open source assets in that repository. What they don't do, though, is share their modifications to the code. Almost without exception, he said, they fork the code to jumpstart internal development, never joining or participating in the projects whose code they've taken.

"In the age of Web services, licenses such as the GPL (GNU General Public License) find themselves poorly equipped to address this issue, for a reason that Tim O'Reilly pointed out several years ago. These licenses tie the sharing of modifications to the distribution of code, but services change the rules of the game..."

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