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Collaboration in open source license enforcement — a community movement is happening

Collaboration in open source license enforcement — a community movement is happening

[We are reposting on the Red Hat Developers blog this article from the Red Hat blog, which was written by David Levine, assistant general counsel at Red Hat.]

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.”

This was Abraham Lincoln speaking in the mid-1800s but his advice is still relevant today. Litigation is almost always a poor tool for fostering collaboration, whether among neighbors or software developers.

In approaching the topic of open source license enforcement, it is important to consider Lincoln’s advice. Collaboration during open source license enforcement is a key to successful compliance just as it is an important element to success in the software development process. In assessing license enforcement tactics, you need to ask whether they will foster greater collaboration in open source software development. If the ultimate result of excessive or abusive enforcement is that developers and enterprises are turned off from participating in upstream open source communities, the ecosystems will wither and we all suffer as a result.

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