Seventhman Blog

  1. Which Open Source Software License is Best for You?

    "open source license"Software development is a mystery for many.  You don’t simply need coding skills to build a working application, but you also need to choose the best license for your code.  If you’re doing an open source software project, the more mind-boggling the task can be.  Depending on your needs, the best option is for you to find legal counsel.  I’m not a lawyer; maybe you’re not too.. and this post is not a legal advice either.  While compliance with these licenses look easy, the toughest challenge is choosing which OSS (Open Source Software) license fits your software project – especially when you want to invite collaboration or public involvement.

    Open Source Software in a Nutshell

    The Open Source Initiative is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 who are actively involved in promoting community, education and awareness of the importance of non-proprietary software.  They have defined the way open-source software is distributed in accordance with a set of criteria. In simple words, an OSS license allows the original author of the work to grant collaborators the right to copy, modify and redistribute the source code of the software project.  The original author retains the ownership of copyrights while allowing others to use those rights, so long as it’s within the conditions of the license.  The software IP law is constantly evolving as people and for-profit organizations become involved.

    Open Source Licensing: Knowing the Facts

    If there’s one thing you need to know about Open source, licensing is a key part and there are many types of licenses available as you can see on this list. If people are calling this as ‘free software‘ – know that it means the same thing, as in software released under a specific set of freedoms.  The term is older though, coined by the Free Software Foundation or FSF.  They may have different set of guidelines where the difference is only a matter of context and target audience.  For this reason, you may hear some people use both terms: ‘free and open source software’.  Since the list is long, I will introduce these licenses to you in two types:

    Copyleft – by the word itself, this is the opposite of copyright.  This type of license allows the source code to be shared, used, modified, copied or redistributed so long as you use the same license as the original work.  For example, if you write the software and release it under GNU General Public License – and someone modifies and distributes it, the modified version must be under the same license.

    Permissive – as the name implies, this type allows users to do more with the code.  You are giving people the freedom to use, modify and redistribute but this time, you allow them to add their own proprietary features to the code. A good example of this is the MIT License with applications like jQuery and Rails.  The drawback?  Some people may not want to contribute to help without compensation.

    I barely scratched the surface here but no matter, please don’t call your program open source if you don’t have an approved license to go with it.  You will only confuse people.  You may get in touch with these licensing organizations to get more tips on how to get started.

    Open source is great for those who want to take advantage of talents locally and globally to contribute value to the table.. and learn from them as well.  If done right, this can be a transparent and cost-effective way for you to make money.

  2. 5 Questions to Ask Before Adopting Open Source Software for Your Project

    "open source"Businesses have been adopting open source software solutions rapidly and you start to wonder if you should do the same.  Is it really a safer, better option for your organization?  If you’re working with designing and developing websites, and web-based applications, you may have at one point  consider going open source for your project.  Though many may have thought that open means free – it is not entirely so, but it costs lesser than commercially-licensed solutions out there.  Surely, there are benefits to be had if you clearly understand just how ‘open’ these technologies are and if you ask these vendors the right questions.  The last thing you want is getting pitched for something disappointing.  More likely, it’s what people call as open washing.  Think of it this way: just because you bought your favorite snack with “natural” claims doesn’t really mean it’s healthy for you.  So, how do you sort out the confusion when it comes to dealing with your vendor?

    Questions You Should Be Asking Before Adopting Open Source Technologies

    1. Who are Using It Right Now?

    The easiest way for you to know if the product is of top-notch quality is to evaluate testimonials and reviews of people or businesses who are using it right now.  Are they raving about it? No one may want to be the first to try out something new, so if many are committed to working with this open source software, it’s a surefire sign that it’s out to stay for the long haul.

    2.  Will the Software Meet My Needs?

    You need to assess the compatibility of this open source software with your current OS.  Do you need to install applications to make it all work?  Does the solution meet your pressing needs?  Have you tried testing the application first before you go on a full scale roll out?  Can your hardware meet the specifications of these new technologies?

    3.  Are People Talking About This Software?

    It’s easy to check the Web when it comes to searching for online conversations about a certain open source software.  You can even type in the name on Google Search box and click on discussions to see what people have been talking about.  Normally, creators of these open-source software run their own forums and having lots of active users is a good sign that these developers are committed to helping their community of users.

    4.  Who is Funding the Project?

    A lot of open source technologies are on beta mode and it gives you some peace of mind knowing that the developers have financial resources to ensure that they won’t run out of business anytime soon.  There are open source applications that are backed and used by big companies, and this means that they are committed in the success of this project.

    5.  How Involved are Users with Developing the Process?

    When people want to contribute to make a positive code change to the project, or when they are promoting by word-of-mouth – it’s something worth watching.  We know that passion is the key ingredient to success and the same thing applies with the creation and maintenance of open source software.  It’s a work of love and people share this love.

    Because you buy only what you need, you’re not held hostage by complex software bundles that can run your business dry.  And when you do choose running this option for your project, make sure that you can try before you buy, that you can look into the code and that you can apply changes on the code.

    In short, make sure that you get what you paid for.

    *** Here’s more on the topic:  Debunking the Open-Source Myth