255

I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. That said, taking every line of an application and changing it slightly for the sole purpose of circumventing copyright law is blatantly, obviously, creating a derived work with no plausible defense whatsoever. Even the boughtest judge and jury will definitely find against you if you ever get dragged into court. ...


136

This is one of the situations where you are looking for a technical solution to a social problem. A social problem should require a social solution, which, in this case, takes two complementary forms and an additional organizational solution which may help: Trust. If you don't trust developers, don't hire them. Working with people you don't trust is ...


71

According to Betsy Rosenblatt of Harvard Law School's Copyright Basics: What constitutes copyright infringement? Subject to certain defenses, it is copyright infringement for someone other than the author to do the following without the author's permission: copy or reproduce the work create a new work derived from the original work (for ...


70

Make them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Only hire people you trust. Compartmentalize your code base. Use of dependency injection so you can give them requirements that, when finished, resulting classes would fall right into place into the existing architecture, but they will not have acces to the "complete picture", only loose pieces. Only senior, trusted ...


54

I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and if you rely on what I say in any sort of dubious undertaking (1) you're an idiot, and (2) I disclaim all responsibility. This is what I've heard and read over the years from people who seem to know. Judges don't play "in theory" games. They don't like people who make up ways to twist the law that are perhaps ...


48

You've already answered the question: you like the technology you're working with. If that's not a good enough answer to satisfy these people, then they're not interested in being satisfied. I've been doing this for over 20 years. I've worked on VMS, MPE, MPX, Unix, Linux, Windows, MacOS, etc. I've used open source and proprietary tools on the major ...


45

I love the idea there might be a "clever" idea that "we" as developers would be baffled by. Given that every developer tool written was written by a developer and all that. Your boss's biggest problem is naivety with a dash of paranoia. I'm being polite there. Really really polite. If you really want a shopping list of things to keep your code proprietary,...


42

Since you can't compete on price, then compete on all of the other selling points that the software has: features quality effectiveness integration with other software service support direct selling Basically, you do what every other company does when they're in price competition: keep pace, or change the game.


35

If the people in question can't be trusted to keep to their employment contracts, then he needs to not hire them. If he believes NO ONE can be trusted, then he's being overly paranoid, and he's ultimately going to damage the company if he keeps it up. At some point you MUST trust your employees. It's not really an option to do otherwise. If you don't ...


34

By making your product better than the open source offering. That's how Photoshop can compete with GIMP.


33

I think the piece you mention is greatly misleading, in that it completely disregards the quality of the open-source offer. Ask yourself a slightly different but related question: How can a company survive survive selling open-source software? Being a frequent contributor to a few open-source projects myself, I feel reasonably entitled to sling a few ...


28

You need to take into account that open sourcing your code might require additional effort. As an example, in this blog entry Sun/Oracle engineer describes efforts they had to take when open sourcing their code: Open Source or Dirty Laundry? As we get ready to dive into the open source world, one of the many activities that's occurring is the ...


24

As a pro, If your company's office burns down, the code is still on the server. If your company's office doesn't burn down, but the server on which your git repository is located DOES, then you still have a local copy. If you host your repository on your server in your company's office building (like you would with a Network shared drive...?), then if the ...


23

As long as you don't release the software to anyone while you are linking to GPL'd libraries, you are safe. The viral aspect of GPL only kicks in if you distribute your software. It would be better if you could find a library with a more permissive licence, of course, like LGPL or APL2 or MIT.


22

I used to write code for classified computer systems. They had all sorts of ridiculous hoops to jump through to keep it secret. For example, we weren't allowed to bring music CDs into certain rooms because they could be CD-RWs in disguise. The thing is, practicalities of the work open up security holes out of necessity. Sometimes you had to transport ...


20

I work on a proprietary (better term than "closed-source") project at work. We make software for broadcast media. There's a pretty good chance that your favorite TV or radio station is running on it, in the US at least. And the interesting thing is, even though our software costs a whole lot to license and deploy, (and that's an enterprise-scale whole lot, ...


20

Because source code (being a major component of a company's product) is a valuable asset. And like any good company, you protect your assets. In the case of physical assets, you put them behind locked doors to prevent them from being stolen. Only the trusted are given keys to those doors. For source code, you restrict access to those who need it, which is ...


20

A language isn't open-source or closed-source as such. For example, G++ is open source while MSVC++ is closed source. ISO C++ is neither, it's a non-free non-proprietary standard. Your friend could release an Open-Source non-optimizing implementation, and sell the fancy optimizing compiler. The interesting Intellectual Property is not going to be needed ...


20

The GPL writes: You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions: So this condition only applies if your work is "based on" the library, which the licence defines as follows: To “modify” a work ...


19

I think the crux of the argument, that "the commercial product already did 100% of what people needed" is where the argument falls apart. No product can claim to do 100% of what people need and certainly not in the absolute most efficient (in terms of operator efficiency), easy-to-use and universally accepted "best" way. If such a thing were possible, then ...


19

"Because thats what I get paid to work on."


19

Did you read the license? Because it's pretty short and I think easy to understand. Unless your lawyer tells you otherwise, I'd say that yes, you can use the code, but you have to put their notice & disclaimer in your documentation (about box, whatever).


19

In the year 2000, Borland released the code to its InterBase database software as open source. For weird corporate politics reasons, they quickly walked it back and decided that further development of InterBase would continue as a proprietary product, as it had before, and they were able to do that. As noted above, they were the copyright holder and they ...


18

Is that possible with me as the original copyright holder (with no one having contributed changes except me)? Yes, of course. It's your code, you can do whatever you want with it. Even if I release my program as open source, I am the copyright holder after all, am I? Yes, of course. If you weren't, you wouldn't be able to release it as open source, ...


17

Does his language do something that enough people will pay for? That's really the only thing that decides whether a business model will work. Do you have a large market of users who are large enough not to worry about licensing costs? Does the language support devices or standards that the customers can't live without, and that nothing else supports? Is it ...


16

Why would you not just open source your port and let the rest of your project be closed source? To quote another answer of mine: Open source works, because it is a community. Because it is mutual. You do not get money by writing open source code. You get money by consuming open source code. So why do you write open source code? To give ...


16

In short, you need to have a non-disclosure agreement/contract with employees that you are hiring. In addition to this signed agreement hire developers that you can trust. Technically speaking that code can easily get copied to device and reused somewhere else. What your boss doesn't want is - access of your competitors to this code. You may only enforce ...


16

You are trying to let the research commmunity benefit by having them be able to do what you do, without having them be able what you do. That sounds like you haven't really made a principled choice yet. Software solutions like that in open source software aren't likely to work: the code is open source, after all. The first thing other institutions will do ...


14

According to the law and the constitution, yes. However see my answer to #3. According to current US law, no software created since the popularization of the personal computer will become public domain before 2050. And very little of it before 2070. See http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html#duration for details. For decades it has been the ...


14

I use commercial, closed-source software because it costs less. This may shock a lot of folks who have embraced FOSS as a way of life, but as a professional developer, software is my bread and butter, which means that I need to develop in a cost-effective way. It doesn't matter what sector you work in, as long as you get paid for your work: As a ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible