Open Source Software In Cloud Applications

Open Source Software In Cloud Applications

Providers of cloud-based solutions will bring in more than $241 billion in 2020, according to Forrester Research’s report on “Sizing the Cloud”. Since the emergence of cloud solution providers like Amazon, Rackspace, IBM and Microsoft, software development and deployment is increasingly taking place in the cloud. And, in the next few years, we are likely to see more and more innovative technology companies completely suspended in the cloud.

What makes the cloud particularly attractive to enterprises is that it enables companies to lease access to infrastructure, platforms and software, drastically reducing their overall operating costs. The economies of scale associated with the cloud, costs that accurately reflect usage, elimination of maintenance costs, and increased ability of users to enjoy access to applications across a variety of devices including tablets and smart phones are additional drivers behind adoption of cloud applications.

While enterprises are shifting from legacy solutions towards the cloud, open source software is gaining significant traction for similar reasons. Desirable attributes such as faster time to market, lower development cost, better security, peer-reviewed quality, zero licensing cost, and multiple sources from mostly reputable suppliers have made open source the software of choice for commercial business applications, including cloud-based applications and collaboration solutions. As open source software becomes increasingly available in the cloud, it is important for enterprises to understand how the cloud environment changes open source license obligations.

There are two broad categories of open source licenses – permissive and restrictive. Permissive licenses such as MIT and BSD provide minimal obligations on code use, modification and distribution, enabling developers to incorporate open source code into open source or proprietary software with their choice of license terms. In contrast, restrictive licenses such as the GPL force users of covered code to distribute derivative works under GPL only, and require these users of GPL code to make their source code available to downstream users. This feature of restrictive licenses, with few exceptions, renders it impossible to incorporate open source code into proprietary offerings. Failure to comply with such obligations can lead to severe consequences, including paying damages for license infringement.

In the pre-cloud environment, software vendors made their products available to end users through software distribution, and the reciprocal aspects of GPL ensured that the its creators ideals of software freedom were maintained. With emergence of cloud services, users of SaaS applications technically are not receiving any code as software applications that use GPL in their internals are not distributed, hence the old GPL terms governing distribution of code would not apply.

In order to maintain the software-freedom aspect of GPL when code is deployed in a cloud, Affero GPLv3 (AGPL for short) was created. Under provisions of AGPL, any user of the cloud that uses an application containing AGPL-licensed code must be provided with the source code of the entire application.

In summary, with GPL covered code:

  • If you distribute the software, you must make your code available to users
  • If you offer SaaS through the public or private cloud, you do not have to make your code available to users

With AGPL covered code:

  • If you distribute the software, you must make your code available to users
  • If you offer SaaS through the public or private cloud, you must make your code available to its users

Given the new obligations imposed by the AGPL, it is critical for SaaS providers to take inventory of the open source code embedded in their product offerings, and to ensure that their intellectual property policies are in line with the obligations imposed by the various open source licenses covering their code.

A variety of automated scanning tools generically known as enterprise analyzers are available that can assist SaaS providers to manage open source obligations in the cloud. In addition, a structured Open Source Software Adoption Process (OSSAP) can be used to define acceptable intellectual property license policies for the organization, audit the current software portfolio and incoming code, and ensure compliance through all of the software development and procurement stages. These open source license management solutions are now available in both on-premises and hosted versions. Furthermore, these tools generally offer License Obligations Reporting, for a simplified “bulleted” view of the obligations associated with each open source package that is discovered in the SaaS code.

The emerging cloud-based SaaS model offers immense opportunities but also raises new risks for your organization’s intellectual property. If your organization’s intellectual property policies were developed for the traditional software distribution model, then they need to be re-assessed and updated to meet the distinct obligations associated with the cloud environment.

By Mahshad Koohgoli/Diana Marina Cooper

Mahshad Koohgoli is CEO of Protecode, Inc. (www.protecode.com), a provider of open source license management solutions, based in Canada. He has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, specializing in technology start-up businesses, and holds several patents in the computer and communications field.

Diana Marina Cooper is an open source corporate strategy consultant for Protecode (www.protecode.com). Cooper obtained a BA in Politics and Governance, a MA in Globalization Studies, and is currently a JD Candidate (2013), pursuing a concentration in Law and Technology.

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

One Response to Open Source Software In Cloud Applications

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate long term with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

Please review the guidelines before applying.

Contributors

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare There are so many exciting new opportunities available to utilize wearable technology in the future.  Areas such as nanotechnology disease monitoring, crowdfunding to wearable accessories are some excellent examples of the potential. Estimates vary, but appear to suggest that the market will produce between $14-50 Billion over the next few years. Included below

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips for Successful Business Intelligence Implementation The cost of Business Intelligence (BI) software goes far beyond the purchase price. Time spent researching, implementing, and maintaining your BI investment can snowball quickly and mistakes are often expensive. Your time is valuable – save it by learning from other businesses’ experiences. We’ve compiled the top ten

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

How Do These Two Compare? In Boy Scouts, I learned how to tie knots. The quickest knot you can tie is the slipknot. It’s very effective for connecting one thing to another via the rope you have. It was used in setting up tents, mooring boats to docks temporarily and lifting your food up into

Aggregated News

Popular News Sources

Storage Considerations for SharePoint Backups

Storage Considerations for SharePoint Backups

Storage Considerations for SharePoint Backups Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 9:00 am/12:00pm ET. Backup and Restore of a SharePoint environment can be a complex endeavor as the product consists of multiple components running at various tiers, each with their own backup and restore requirements. In addition, SharePoint documents are stored as Binary Large Objects (BLOBs) in

OpenDNS Deployment Leads to Twenty-Fold Decrease in Malware Infections at Hamamatsu

OpenDNS Deployment Leads to Twenty-Fold Decrease in Malware Infections at Hamamatsu

Decreases in Malware Infections at Hamamatsu OpenDNS, a leading provider of cloud-delivered security, today announced that it has enabled Hamamatsu, a Japanese manufacturer of optical sensor technologies, to virtually eliminate malware infections across its U.S. Read the source article at Finance News About Latest Posts Follow Us!CloudTweaksEstablished in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the

IBM and Microsoft – What Are They Doing With The Hybrid Cloud?

IBM and Microsoft – What Are They Doing With The Hybrid Cloud?

What Are They Doing With The Hybrid Cloud? “Microsoft is committed to helping enterprise customers realize the tremendous benefits of cloud computing across their own systems, partner clouds and Microsoft Azure,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president,Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft. “With this … Read the source article at CNNMoney About Latest Posts Follow Us!CloudTweaksEstablished in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized