The DLA Piper 2008 Technology Leaders Forecast Survey found that the use of open source software, while widespread, remains misunderstood. The Survey found that software companies used open source software in 65% of their products, as compared with use of open source software in 55% of the products of all technology companies. This number drops to 29% of the products when all respondents are included. However, only 48% of these companies have an open source use policy (software companies were more likely to have an open source use policy).
Smaller companies, those with fewer than 1000 employees, used open source software in almost half of their products (44%), yet 35% of these companies do not have open source use policies. Larger companies, those with more than 5,000 employees, reported use of open source software in only 9% of their products and 65% do not have open source use policies. I find that this number for use of open source software among large companies is strikingly low.
I think that the survey reflects a continued misunderstanding among large companies about how widespread is the use of open source software.The failure to have an open source use policy is very dangerous in the world of complicated “hybrid” products: open source licenses do not mix well with commercial licenses without careful analysis. http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=18. The risk is particularly high now because the financial downturn means that licensors will be carefully reviewing compliance with license terms to try to find new sources of revenue. For additional thoughts on this issue, you can see my interview. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZKWFmT0qs&eurl=http://www.dlatechlaw.com/search?updated-max=2008-10-21T13%3A46%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=7
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