By: Jim O’Brien
Dorothy paid no heed to the instruction to “not pay attention to the man behind the curtain”. And neither should you when it comes to thoughts or advice on development contracts where the developer generally indicates that open source software (“OSS”) is going to be used in some way.
Many engineers, developers and technology businesses have become overly comfortable with the concept of OSS and its use without fully understanding the risks associated with its use. Many developers routinely use OSS in connection with development for their customers without hesitation and just rely on their understanding that everyone uses OSS.
The primary concern is the need to review the license requirements and limitations on use of the OSS. OSS is, like most all other software, provided with a license that defines the terms by which the OSS can be used. To minimize the risk of the use of OSS in a development, you can require the provider to pull back the curtain and review the terms and conditions of the OSS license. By doing so you will be better equipped to determine whether to continue down the OSS road.