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October 13 - 15



How to Navigate the New World of Open Source Licensing

Diana Hsieh   

Open-source software lies at the foundation of how software is built and deployed today. It is community-driven, transparent, and produces higher-quality code. Many OSS projects start from within and are nurtured by much larger corporations, or develop as community projects relying on external sponsors or foundations for financial support. However, there are two larger tensions evolving today: (1) how to balance openness with sustainability and (2) how to manage the transition to the cloud.

If you work in the world of open source, you know that there has been a recent flood of new licensing models. Regardless of the model, the companies who introduce these licenses all have the same goal: to build a sustainable business while protecting themselves from the imminent threat of large cloud providers.

During this talk, I’ll first discuss why it’s important to recognize the motivation behind these licenses. Then I’ll cover different types of open-source business models including support, hosting, restrictive licensing, open-core, and hybrid licensing. Finally, I’ll discuss the qualities to look for in a license and potential red flags that you should avoid.