Friday, October 24, 2008

Open source software in the courts

I've written before about the merits I see in open source software and the problems I see with certain EULAs. Tonight I stumbled across a court case that seems to give strong support to the ideas of open source licensing. Perhaps surprisingly, it's about JMRI: the Java Model Railroad Interface. See Bruce Perens: A Big Change for Open Source, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2008-1001, ROBERT JACOBSEN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. MATTHEW KATZER and KAMIND ASSOCIATES, INC. (doing business as KAM Industries), Defendants-Appellees, JMRI Defense: Keeping an Open-Source Project Alive, and Saving Open Source. Thanks to
Model railroad case settles Open Source licensing dispute for the lead.

That's not to say that I find all commercial software problematic. I regularly use commercial software in my work, and I suspect I will continue to do so. It is good to see that the courts are giving the respect to open source licenses that they do to other licenses.

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