Article: Open Source Software Isn’t As Above Board As You May Think

Open Source, Software

Open Source Software Isn’t As Above Board As You May Think

As a person who uses open source, and almost all of us do, this brings up some questions beyond just today’s software features and benefits. As a consumer of open source, how can I minimize risk and maximize the predictability and stability of an open source project into the future? How can I prevent having the license change out from under me in some future release?

First of all, as much as possible, use open source software from gold-standard foundations like ASF and LF. They have an established history of independence and open governance. The software license is not going to change tomorrow. These foundations allow you to be a software consumer, contributor and even participate in its governance and future direction.

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Article: Open-source software: freedom from ethics?

Open Source, Software

Open-source software: freedom from ethics?

Open-source software is distributed with a licence that generally allows anyone to use, study, change, or share its source code, without restrictions on how the software is used or by whom. The Open Source Initiative, which governs the most widely used open-source licences, even goes so far as to say that this means “giving evil people freedom, too.” Supporters of the Hippocratic Licence and other ethical licences like it believe it is time for programmers to take a less passive approach.

“It’s time for open-source to grow up and start taking responsibility for how it’s being used. We can’t stick to these […] libertarian ideals of ultimate freedom, when we exist in a society where the work that we do impacts others, sometimes in devastating ways,” said Ehmke. “I love the way open-source has transformed the world, and I think it has potential to continue. But we have to get our house in order.”

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