Copyleft Confusion

‘Strong copyleft’, ‘weak copyleft’, and ‘permissive’ are all terms that can cause confusion when discussing open source licensing. Simon’s been using some different language to help work round the confusion and keep the different licensing options clear for his clients. In his current InfoWorld article he explores some of this terminology and explains why it’s better suited to the task.

To begin with, ‘reciprocal licensing’ is proposed as an alternative way of talking about ‘copyleft’. As clever as the phrase ‘copyleft’ is, the newly suggested terminology better enables the uninitiated to grasp the concept quickly and fully, as it acknowledges the use of ‘copyleft’ to express the community expectation of reciprocal behaviour by participants.

For more examples of clear language for talking about open source licensing, check out the full article.

Illegal Lock-In

Public ITC procurement tenders in Europe are subject to a number of laws and procedures designed to avoid discriminatory behaviour favouring specific vendors. A recent OpenForum Europe report shows that in spite of these laws, many tenders do name specific vendors. The naming of vendors in procurement tenders is indicative of vendor lock-in, especially where the same vendor crops up many times across different tenders.

Lock-in is a serious problem. As well as costing governments up to €30 Billion in unnecessary expenditure, the freedom to leave those locked in systems in favour of more open solutions is often ruled out by the high exit costs. Read more analysis of EU procurement lock-in and the OpenForum Europe report in Simon’s ComputerWorldUK article.