The Challenge of Heterogeneously Licensed Systems in Open Architecture Software Ecosystems
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The role of software ecosystems in the development and evolution of open architecture systems has received insufficient consideration. Such systems are composed of heterogeneously licensed components, open source or proprietary or both, in an architecture in which evolution can occur by evolving existing components or by replacing them. But this may result in possible license conflicts and organizational liability for failure to fulfill license obligations. We have developed an approach for understanding and modeling software licenses, as well as for analyzing conflicts among groups of licenses in realistic system contexts and for guiding the acquisition, integration, or development of systems with open-source components in such an environment. This work is based on empirical analysis of representative software licenses and heterogeneously licensed systems, and collaboration with researchers in the legal world. Our approach provides guidance for achieving a ''best-of-breed'' component strategy while obtaining desired license rights in exchange for acceptable obligations.
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-10-046
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