Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Open source software requires governance, Burton warns

Uncontrolled use of software components can affect IT operations as well as development. - Joe Niski Senior Analyst for Application Platform Strategies, Burton Group

Open source software (OSS) frequently flies under the radar in IT organizations, and if governance is not in place to identify it and manage legal licensing implications, it may crash and burn, Burton Group Inc. warns.

Developers working on SOA and other software projects are making use of OSS components, and IT, QA and legal departments are ignoring the licensing ramifications at their peril, according to a new Burton report.

The growing popularity of the Java Development Kit from Sun Microsystems Inc., and the Eclipse IDE are resulting in a proliferation of OSS components in applications that organizations consider proprietary, according to the report's author, Joe Niski, senior analyst for application platform strategies for Burton. Legal problems arise because, while open source licenses are more liberal than traditional vendor licenses, they are still licenses. Terms and conditions that must be observed, the analyst explains in a 27-page report, "Open Source Management: Who Owns That Software?"

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