Open Source: An Open Sore?

Open Source has been an open sore when it comes to software licensing.  Forget about the well-established software procurement process the IT department has worked so hard on.  Instead, people are just downloading free and available open source codes off the web.  The result is that IT managers don’t know about these downloads and what software license is covered or not covered.

So, Hewlett-Packard launched an enterprise software licensing tool for implementing open source governance and consulting services.  They are calling it FOSSology and I’m told the FOSS stands for free and open source software.  So, FOSSology will include the ability to analyze an enterprise’s software infrastructure and extract open source software licensing governing codes being used.  There will even be a website – Foss Bazaar –where info on open source governance will be collected, catalogued and accessible for anyone who needs it.

Some things to know about HP’s new governance services:

·         A total cost of ownership analysis is available. 

·         It will sniff out compliant and non-compliant open source software licensing.

·         An analysis is done on how open source codes are managed benchmarked against industry best practices.

·         FOSSology not only looks for known open source licensing codes, but it also looks for key phrases in the language of the downloaded program that may affect licensing.  If the text reads “XYZ is licensed under….” 

·         Watch those software license audits!  Because here they come.

The issue of open source software licensing is so complex, HP put together a video on the FOSSology site.   HP has made the statement that the software will provide information from the license audit, but (ultimately) it’s people who have to make decisions.

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