Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why Open-Source software?

The 6 April 2006 program presentation on open source ("Another Technology Wrinkle in M&A Practice: Open Source and Free Software") was very interesting and timely. Almost every acquisition these days somehow involves software, and increasingly "open-source" software has inflitrated business operations. Steve Gold talked about the viral effect of much open-source code (when it's integrated with other proprietary code, it can taint the entire corpus with an "open-source" character, and make the larger program also subject to the original code license terms. Karen Copenhaver makes the important point that there's so much open-source code for a very simple reason: it's very well written.

The Free Software Foundation has useful resources: e.g., pointers to the various flavors of open-source licenses, together with their (current) language and commentary. Karen Covenhaver's program materials provide a good first-checklist for preparing (and executing) necessary open-source due-diligence activities. (Business Law Section members can find copies of all Spring Meeting programs at http://www.abanet.org/buslaw/home.shtml -- click on the "Tampa" icon under "Program Library" (top-left), and then click to page number "4").

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