JRC and FAO experts licensing assessment


Published on: 31/08/2022

Under the title TACKLING THE CHALLENGES OF SOFTWARE PROVISION, Peter Vogt (European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy, and Pierrick Rambaud (United Nations FAO, Rome, Italy) explore the full cycle of software provision and detail how choosing the appropriate license for a given software project requires a good deal of thought and rationale to ensure all legal aspects are addressed in an adequate way, and covered also for future software developments.

In their paper dated 22–28 August 2022, Florence, Italy, the authors focuses on the benefits, for individuals and organisations, to freely reuse software under an appropriate standardised open-source licence (out of the subset that is certified by the Open-Source Initiative - OSI):

  • avoiding the need for custom license negotiations,
  • enabling business innovation through rapid deployment of existing technology,
  • increasing sharing and popularity of software development methodologies,
  • supporting sharing of development costs, resulting in improved code quality.

But the choice of an appropriate license scheme may be further complicated by having to review license compliance checks when a software project combines various modules or libraries, each with its individual license scheme. Here, authors mention toolkits that can assist with license compliance checks.

Some licences, even known as highly protective of the persistence of open source freedoms, are designed for providing the maximum of interoperability and compatibility: special mention for the European Union Public License (EUPL) as reported in the June 2021 Guidelines. Autors mention also the Joinup Licensing Assistant as yet another very helpful online tool to interactively compare and select an adequate open-source licensing scheme, while maintaining license compatibility.

Finally, OSOR, the Open-Source Observatory, is quoted as a place where the open-source software community can publish news, find relevant open-source software solutions and read about the use of free and open source in public administrations across and beyond Europe in 24 languages.

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