Dealing with Open Source Licenses

Steve Winslow

Track: Project & Business Management; might also fit into DevOps Virtually all software written today is built upon the shared community ecosystem of free and open source software (FOSS). If you write software that you want others to use -- whether it's an open source project or a proprietary product -- you'll want to think about open source licenses for the FOSS you're using. These licenses spell out your rights, and your obligations, that apply when you're using or distributing someone else's software. The first half of this talk will provide a short, high-level overview of open source license types, and will discuss general categories of license rights and obligations. (Although I'm a lawyer, please keep in mind that this is not meant as legal advice!) The second half will address the technical side of managing open source licenses, in light of the scale of modern development and production processes. When your software is built on top of hundreds or thousands of open source components, how can you even start to identify which licenses you need to think about? I'll discuss some approaches and tools to help you move towards managing FOSS licenses more easily.