Open Source 201

Luis Villa —

Director and Chair of the Licensing Committee — Open Source Initiative

Deputy General Counsel — Wikimedia Foundation


Introducing OSI

OSI, historically

OSI, going forward


What is an Open Source license?

Complies with the Open Source Definition

Grants permissions

  • operation
  • modification
  • redistribution


Key Licenses

Permissive family

  • Apache
  • BSD
  • MIT

Mild copylefts

  • Eclipse Public License
  • Mozilla Public License
  • LGPL

GPL family

  • General Public License (GPL)
  • Affero GPL (AGPL)

Other Licenses

NASA “Open Source Agreement”

“Public Domain”

Other Licenses


Developing and Deploying Software

Ideal World Dev and Deploy?

  • Use packaged software
  • Use automated tools

Real World Dev and Deploy?

  • Train employees
  • Require contractor disclosure


Making Software Public

Check Ownership

Publish with Purpose

  • Consider audience
  • Consider tooling
  • No magic here


Risks: Myths and Realities

Myth: Compliance is Difficult

Reality: Compliance is (Usually) Straightforward

Myth: Patents are a Big Risk

Reality: Patents are Same as Other Software

Reality: Non-Legal Risks Often Dominate

Reality: Slight Increase in Enforcement

Other Opens?

Open Data

  • Creative Commons
  • Open Database License
  • Public Access Rules for Research

Open Standards

Further Reading

For Lawyers

For Non-Lawyers


Questions later:

Slides later: