Use the Source Code

Understand the workflow of a project integrating open-source software with a proprietary product in light of the legal grounds.

Open-source software

Open-source software is an essential building block of modern systems. We learned to program using open-source development tools. Our cell phone is probably built using an open-source kernel. Start-ups are building their businesses around open-source, and even the old-guard technology companies like IBM are investing heavily in open-source projects.

Other companies won’t touch it. Open source presents a minefield of legal issues, most of which are never tested in court.

If our company is probably somewhere in the middle that wants to use a mix of open-source and proprietary software, each to their best advantage. This will give an individual programmer, several ways to build credibility and value within the company:

  • With an awareness of the open-source legal issues, we can give management all the license information they need to make educated decisions and reduce their legal risk.
  • At the same time, we can build their confidence that we won’t get the company into legal trouble, nor give away the company proprietary code on accident.
  • By contributing improvements to open-source projects, we can reduce the company’s ongoing code maintenance burden and build credibility in the community.
  • Many open-source projects have quality standards that rival the best proprietary code. We’ll learn a lot by playing at that level.

The focus of this lesson is twofold. First, we need to ground the legal side, so we don’t get into trouble. Then we’ll discuss workflow for a project that integrates open-source software with a proprietary product.

Get hands-on with 1200+ tech skills courses.