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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Different licensing situations in software development - Part 5

In previous posts (License conditions), I have been writing about the need for having the proper software licenses when you are developing a software product and you are using some external software components inside your software.
There are a large number of software components apparently available free for you to start using. Suppose you want to have a database inside your software and don't want to pay the large amounts needed for MS SQL Server, or Oracle Database. Or you could need a XML parser, or some software for running regular expressions, or many other such needs, and when you search for these software, you will find plenty of such software available in the market. When you are starting a software product, there is plenty of temptation to pick up a component that meets your needs, and just start using it. I hope that some of the previous posts have explained that there are a number of problems with going ahead with such an approach.
So, if you do want to pick up an open source component to use in your own software, you need to understand the terms under which the software has been released, and if you don't have a legal person to help you, then you can be in some problem. At the very least, you should be able to look at the type of license with the software component, and then be able to say whether the license meets your needs. Here is an explanation of what open source software is, and what are some of the common types of software licenses used in open source software:
Open source software means software that is available in the form of source code; also the license available with the software gives users the permission to modify / change / compile / and in some cases, distribute the software source code.
Using open source software (either in the form of the application, or using the source code inside your application) has resulted in a huge amount of savings for consumers, but there are some legal implications of using this code.
Some of the open source software in use are:
Apache License,
MIT License,
BSD license,
GNU Lesser General Public License,
GNU General Public License,
Eclipse Public License and
Mozilla Public License

I will continue on this subject in the next set of posts ..

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