Thursday, November 16, 2006

What's Food Labeling Got to Do with Software Licensing?

To find out, check out Palamida CEO Mark Tolliver's recent Perspectives piece on CNET. Mark makes the case that, just as we've come to expect full disclosure of ingredients on the side of a cereal box, we can foresee software vendors offering a roster of components. His point is that as the use of open source software and third-party code becomes more common, companies need to understand precisely which components make up an application. In Mark's words:

First, what would the labeling look like? Pretty straightforward. As part of the product labeling, software vendors would list the third-party component, including the version used, a simple description of what the component does, and the license that governs its use. The list should ideally cover all third-party code--commercial and open-source--and include a link to Web sites with more information regarding each component.

With Sun's recent announcement that it will license all of its Java platform implementations under GPL v2, the importance of IP issues and the need for diligence under expanded licensing obligations is under the spotlight. Palamida announced product updates that will help customers identify the Java language files they are using from the Sun JDK and their associated license requirements.

The company has been on a roll lately, with Mark on stage at the recent Microsoft/Novell announcement with Ballmer and Ron Hovsepian, the Novell CEO and just five other execs. Microsoft is a customer and partner and Mark talked a bit about that relationship here.

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