Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry
Edited by Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper and Michael Cusumano
Chapter 6: The challenge of heterogeneously-licensed systems in open architecture software ecosystems
A substantial number of development organizations are adopting a strategy in which a software-intensive system is developed with an open architecture (OA) (Oreizy, 2000), whose components may be open source software (OSS) or proprietary with open application programming interfaces (APIs). Such systems evolve not only through the evolution of their individual components, but also through replacement of one component by another, possibly from a different producer or under a different license. With this approach, the organization becomes an integrator of components largely produced elsewhere that are interconnected through open APIs as necessary to achieve the desired result. An OA development process results in an ecosystem in which the integrator is influenced from one direction by the goals, interfaces, license choices, and release cycles of the component producers, and in another direction by the needs of its consumers. As a result the software components are reused more widely, and the resulting OA systems can achieve reuse benefits such as reduced costs, increased reliability, and potentially increased agility in evolving to meet changing needs. An emerging challenge is to realize the benefits of this approach when the individual components are heterogeneously licensed, each potentially with a different license, rather than a single OSS license as in uniformly-licensed OSS projects, or a single proprietary license when acquired from a vendor employing a proprietary development scheme.
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