The Need for F/LOSS (Governance) Operations

Andrew Back
2008 Technology Innovation Management Review  
The case for the effective operation of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (F/LOSS) in the enterprise has never been stronger. Yet in some quarters, the chasm between senior management's perception of the penetration of F/LOSS within their organization, and the reality, has never been wider. And when you consider that Gartner predicts that "by 2012 more than 90% of enterprises will use open source in direct or embedded form", this suggests that the development of an effective F/LOSS policy
more » ... e F/LOSS policy will become increasingly necessary for business operations. Many enterprises, for now, are sourcing the majority of their F/LOSS solutions via a vendor. This does not remove the need for governance. Even with commercial arrangements in place, it is crucial that business have an understanding of F/LOSS communities: what drives them, how to interact with them, and what obligations they may have to them. The game has changed and innovation is no longer the reserve of software vendors with large development budgets. Software development is now enabled by open licenses that afford great freedoms and, in doing so, facilitate widespread collaboration. With this unprecedented pace of innovation, comes new obligations. We argue that the need for education around F/LOSS communities and licensing is clear.
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