The Open Source Alternative: Understanding Risks and Leveraging Opportunities

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (February 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470194952

Almost every engineer developing technical products wants to use open source software. It’s free, reliable, and can cut product development cycles. But convincing management to jump on board may be a challenge. Open source can have legal strings attached. How does a company use open source intelligently, without stepping on a lawsuit land mine? Based on the author’s ten years of broad experience in the trenches of intellectual property licensing, The Open Source Alternative is a practical guide for anyone who needs to find out more about the legal intricacies, risks, and rewards of open source.

Written in plain English for both lawyers and professionals, The Open Source Alternative shows you how to implement open source intelligently, without compromising the value of your intellectual property. Coverage includes:

  • What is open source?
  • Philosophy of free software
  • The vocabulary of free software and open source
  • Common open source licenses and their structure
  • Due diligence and license housekeeping
  • Audits and compliance initiatives
  • Patents and open source
  • Trademarks and open source
  • GPL version 2 compliance and the “derivative works” controversy
  • Developing a corporate open source policy
  • Enforcement of open source licenses
  • Open source in acquisition and licensing transactions
  • GPL version 3.0 update

The Open Source Alternative fills the need for a practical, objective book on the implications of open source in business. Author Heather Meeker provides background on both legal and technical principles, complemented by a wealth of references for follow-up. The book also includes a glossary, index, and a collection of documents and forms to help you in your business.

Open source and proprietary software are likely to coexist for decades to come. The Open Source Alternative will help you better understand the legal principles at work in the heterogeneous software landscape of today.