License compliance is not a problem for open source users

“License compliance is a major and costly issue for proprietary
software, but the license involved in that case is an End User
License Agreement (EULA), not a source license delivering extensive
liberties. When we compare like-for-like, we discover open source
software has no such issues. End-users do not need to have a
license management server, do not need to hold audits, do not need
to fear BSA raids. Open source is so much easier!

“But it’s easy to forget that. The New York Times recently
featured the activities of the GPL enforcement community. While
there’s a part of me that’s pleased there are people doing this,
I’m concerned that their well-intentioned actions – and those
elsewhere, such as the Linux Foundation’s compliance programme –
are the focus of public understanding about open source software.
Of the many attributes of software freedom that could move to
front-of-mind, it strikes me that the minimal license compliance
burdens for open source software are actually a comparative
strength and having them presented as a feature applies a “frame”
that serves only the detractors of software freedom.”

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