Is your business compliant with open source licenses?

A free tool from the Linux Foundation helps businesses assess their open-source compliance & focus their efforts accordingly.

There are many ways that vendors of proprietary products try to scare business customers away from open source software, and one of the more commonly heard examples involves vague fears about compliance with open source licenses. There's nothing like the specter of a good lawsuit to scare a company back into a paid vendor's welcoming arms.

Open source software such as Linux does involve licenses, it's true, but complying with those licenses should not impose any significant burden on the company using such software. Nor should it be a reason to use proprietary products instead.

Aiming to help quash such fear, uncertainty and doubt, and to help companies focus their compliance efforts, the Linux Foundation this week unveiled a free self-assessment checklist designed to reduce the cost and complexity involved for the increasing number of companies using Linux.

Open Compliance Program

The Linux Foundation actually runs a full-fledged compliance program aimed at easing the adoption of open source software, and it includes a variety of free tools and education materials, comprehensive professional training, an online compliance community for exchanging compliance best practices, and more.

Founding participants of the program include Adobe, AMD, ARM Limited, Cisco Systems, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Novell, Samsung, the Software Freedom Law Center and Sony Electronics.

The new checklist, meanwhile, is designed to provide a confidential internal tool that companies can use to assess their progress with a rigorous compliance process, and to prioritize their improvement efforts.

A process failure modes effects analysis (FMEA) approach, for example, identifies the ways a compliance attempt can fail, as well as practices that can help prevent that from happening. More than 100 practices are identified in the checklist, all focusing on what needs to be done.

The checklist can help companies prioritize process improvement efforts in the areas of greatest payoff. Plus, it can be used to assess a supplier's compliance practices and gauge the likely reliability of its open source disclosures. Based on practices found in industry-leading compliance programs, the tool will improve the effectiveness of such programs and deliver tangible benefit relative to the cost of those practices, the Linux Foundation says.

A Free Download

While it's not a guarantee of compliance, nor does it provide specific guidance on interpreting the GNU General Public License (GPL)--there are companies for hire that offer such assistance--the checklist does help companies make sure that they have the necessary policies, tools, and resources in place to comply with open source licenses.

"Compliance is essential if companies are to gain the maximum benefit from use of free and open source software while respecting license obligations," as the foundation points out.

How does your company measure up? Find out by downloading the Self-Assessment Checklist (registration required) and trying it out for yourself.

Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceLinuxoperating systemsunixsoftwarelinux foundationtech supportnon-Windows

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?