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Fulfillment center aims to protect companies from GPL lawsuits

Dec 17, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

On the heels of a recent lawsuit over GPLv2 violations filed against 14 companies by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), open source software service provider OpenLogic has launched a service that helps companies ensure compliance with GPL licenses. The Open Source Fulfillment Center offers services including consulting, application audits, license analysis, and fulfillment support.

The announcement of the new service arrives after a series of lawsuits by the SFLC over the last two years on behalf of the developers of the open source BusyBox utilities, capped off by this week's suit against 14 consumer electronics companies for violating GPLv2 licensing requirements on Linux-based products. To date, all the previous suits, including those against Verizon and Cisco, have resulted in favorable settlements for the SFLC's clients.

The new lawsuit, which alleges that companies failed to publish source code for BusyBox, among other issues, covers almost 20 Linux-based products, from companies including Best Buy, Samsung, Westinghouse, and JVC.

OpenLogic, which provides enterprise support solutions for hundreds of certified open source packages (see farther below), is offering the following services as part of its new Open Source Fulfillment Center:

  • Advisory and planning — OpenLogic provides advice on the development of the processes and procedures needed to comply with open source licenses, including distribution of source code. This is said to include a review of proposed processes by outside legal counsel with expertise on open source licensing.
  • Application audit and license analysis — A variety of tools are used to scan and analyze software and identify any embedded open source code. The service validates the customer's compile, build and upgrade instructions to ensure they are accurate and meet the requirements of all licenses, including the GPL. OpenLogic then provides customers with a warranted and indemnified report of open source software and licenses, the relevant license obligations, potential license conflicts and a "compliance checklist," says the company.
  • Fulfillment — A web site created and hosted by OpenLogic enables customers to download the appropriate open source code that needs to be published on their own sites to fulfill GPL and other open source license agreements. A physical fulfillment service option is also said to be available.

Earlier this month, OpenLogic announced support for CentOS Linux, a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The CentOS offering is the first of several low-cost support packages OpenLogic will offer for community distributions of Linux, says the company.

OpenLogic's customers can search through its free OpenLogic Exchange (OLEX) website to locate, research, and download software, says the company. OpenLogic services are said to include indemnification, updates, technical support, open source governance, and automated integration and deployment of open source components.

Stated Steve Grandchamp, CEO of OpenLogic, "Our Open Source Fulfillment Center helps companies to be confident they are in compliance with the GPL and other open source licenses, allowing our customers to focus on their core businesses."

Availability

The Open Source Fulfillment Center appears to be available now. More information may be found at OpenLogic's web-site, here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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