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Monday, 03 April 2017 09:07

Linux Foundation blocks access to open source risks article

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The Linux Foundation has blocked access to an article on its website about what are claimed to be the legal risks posed by open source software after its publication came in for criticism by members of the FOSS community.

The article, written by one Greg Olson, listed the supposed legal issues that companies using open source software could confront.

The Free Software Foundation's John Sullivan was one of the first to criticise the article, pointing out on Twitter, "There are many sites where I'd expect to see this article but not the Linux Foundation."

In reference to a claim in the article, he wrote, "Copyleft is not 'riskier'. Permissive licenses allow proprietary reuse, and *proprietary* licensing is far more complicated and risky."

And he added, "Copyleft is also not 'restrictive'. See above. Proprietary licensing is restrictive. Copyleft guarantees absence of restrictions."

Responding to this, another well-known FOSS community member Simon Phipps created an annotated version of the article which was titled, "5 Legal Risks For Companies Involved in Open Source Software Development."

The article listed the licences created by the FSF, namely the GNU GPL, as among the more restrictive of open source licences.

Later, Stefano Zacchiroli, a Debian developer, noticed that access to the article had been blocked.

Linux Foundation chief executive Jim Zemlin has been contacted for comment.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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