27.05.2021 | Technical topic

Gewusst wie

Gewusst wie

Der Einsatz von Open Source-Software-Lizenzen

Many companies are looking into the potential use of open source software in their development projects. Developers are mostly big open source fans, as the Internet offers an almost inexhaustible source of software treasures for solving tasks. However, decision-makers are often still skeptical, as the use of open source carries the risk of being vulnerable to legal challenges or even having to disclose all of their own software components.

Even though there are always reports about warning lawyers and license trolls - this fear is unfounded if you know what you are doing and use the appropriate tools. The idea behind open source software is that software developers worldwide share the effort of creating new software. These are not just nerds who program in their spare time, but mainly large companies who consciously make a contribution and invest extensive resources to do so. In order to create the broadest possible base of worldwide developers for open source software, different licensing models have been developed.

What it is important to know ...

When using open source software components, it is important to know under which licenses they are made available. As a user, you must comply with these license conditions. In most cases, these are obligations regarding use, documentation and disclosure. If you search for license information in the depths of your cell phone, you will find a very long text with a precise listing of the software components used. It tells you under which license these components are used, where you can get them and what options the manufacturer offers to make changes. It will be rare that anyone will want to reprogram their cell phone, but as with www.lineageos.orgist it is possible in principle, thanks to open source licensing conditions.

If you plan to use open source components, it is first essential to know in advance which components you are allowed to use under which license conditions. GELin, the embedded Linux distribution from Ginzinger electronic systems, includes tools to automatically generate a kind of "parts list" from your project, listing all open source components and their license types.

What to follow ...

The license terms tell you how the individual components can be used. It is important to note whether you may link statically or dynamically and how the use is to be documented. For some license types, the necessary tools and source codes must also be made available upon request. The "Software Bill of Materials" also allows you to quickly determine if any of your deployed components are affected when a new security threat is released.

Making sure everything unfolds according to plan ...

The licensing tools in GELin also generate the complete license text for you, with a listing of all components and licenses used, for redistribution, along with your product. GELin makes it easy for embedded Linux application developers to comply with licensing obligations and reduces the risk of companies getting into legal trouble when using open source software.
when using open source software. In addition, our experienced consultants and developers will be happy to guide you through the process. For more information, contact us at www.ginzinger.com/de/kontakt


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