Open Source Legal Resource

Blane Warrene

The buzz is at a peak today as news outlets continue to cover yesterday’s oepning of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Funded in part by the Open Source Development Labs, home to Linux creator Linus Torvalds, the New York-based organization hopes to bring legal and services support to users and advocates of open source technology.

Most interesting may be the goal of training new lawyers to understand the nuances of the world of open source licensing, including the GNU General Public License (getting a rewrite this year as well).

The group will also help developers looking to build solutions with home grown and existing open source code, as well as assist in better license selection. Board members include industry heavyweights Eben Moglen (General Counsel, Free Software Foundation), Lawrence Lessig (Creative Commons) and Diane Peters (Open Source Development Labs).

Some purists have voiced regret over free and open source software working in the same channels as commercial software — often utilizing the same business tactics. However, the commercialization of open source through services such as code review, legal assistance and corporate adoption is opening new doors for business selling open source solutions.

Open source has shown it can keep pace with the big guns of the proprietary sphere, now it will have the critical validation for executives holding budget purse strings through organizations like this one.