Monthly archives: April 2005

Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) 1

The article shown below, which I originally posted on the now reorganized Members Forum in February 2005 has some relevance to the Licensing Issues in OSS Discussion Forum as well as topics in this Discussion Forum. It highlights an organization that has been created to provide free legal support to free and open source software (FOSS) projects.

The original article was prompted by a posting by cboldyreff at 2005-02-03 11:18 AM on a different topic about an ACM TechNews item headlined – Open-Source Leaders Accept New Challenges.

• Re: Open Source item in ACM TechNews Posted by markelkins at 2005-02-03 02:16 PM

Yes a very interesting article giving a snap-shot idea of the organization of Open Source Development.

On the same page as this article is another “Open Source Law Center Opens Doors”. The full article can be found at

Clearly with an initial $4 million investment from Open Source Development Labs for the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) things are getting serious on the legal front. Plans are being made to establish other centres outside the USA.

Mark Elkins

BCS OS Licence 15

I was looking at the state of OS Licences (IANAL)
and concluded that it would be useful to the
OS community if the BCS itself operated an OS Licence.

If it good enough for the The Regents of the University of California,
then why not for the BCS itself?

1) Open Source licencing has matured. The principles and pitfalls
are better understood. The BCS can offer a good licence.

2) The BCS can offer protection from a perceived problem with
current licences – the ability to transfer copyright and then
revoke the openness (Estoppel not withstanding).

3) The BCS would be an ideal home for the copyright for national UK
OS projects e.g. Health, Local Government, Defence, Transport.

1) The BCS charter may prevent it.
2) The BCS board may not like it.

Both disadvantages are not immutable, though they may take time to resolve.

Malcolm Kendall

Open Source in Schools meeting on 7th June 2005 from 6pm to 8pm

The British Computer Society Open Source Specialist Group is pleased to announce Open Source in Schools meeting on 7th June 2005 from 6pm to 8pm. Meeting location details below. The speakers are John Osborne, Deputy Head Orwell High School, Felixstowe and Andy Trevor, Technical Director Cutter Project

John OsborneDeployment of Open Source at Orwell High School
The new Orwell IT system has been featured on the Working Lunch program, and in the Times Education Supplement. Orwell High School has been invited to join the Specialist Groups’s ICT Register to advise schools thinking of making similar changes.

John commented:

“As part of the reorganisation of our computer systems we have made a switch to an Open Source platform. This will allow us to make significant savings on our software licensing bill without compromising on the quality of the software available to our students.” “Instead of using Microsoft Windows and Office systems we have switched to a Linux and Star Office platform. Many organisations and businesses have already made this change.” “Students now have secure individual user accounts, email addresses and can access their mail and work from home.” “Security has improved tremendously, and we are able to run our computers for longer before they need replacing.”

Andy TrevorOpen Source technology in education

Cutter is a low-cost low-maintenance desktop software environment intended for schools, academic institutions and other organisations wishing to use reliable, low-cost desktop software for office automation and other tasks. “Cutter’s goal is to simplify the process of selecting and installing software that works well and to ensure that there is commercial support for its users. The judicious use of Open Source components with full commercial support is at the core of Cutter’s approach.” “Cutter draws from tried and trusted sources to provide a framework that is easy to install and maintain, has good reference sites and is known to work. Cost of ownership and simplicity of management is essential. Cutter doesn’t just work well locally: the fully integrated remote access facilities are a boon to those working from home or maintaining Cutter systems.” “Cutter is predominantly based on Open Source software such as Linux whilst maintaining excellent support for applications that will only run on Microsoft Windows. Dramatic savings in hardware, licensing and administration costs are only one of the reasons for selecting Cutter: peace of mind and high levels of immunity to viruses and security threats may be just as important.”Registration details of this meeting are available at our events section

OSSG Captures Interest at BCS Specialist Groups Assembly – London, 7th April 2005

Two OSSG committee members, Patrick Tarpey and Mark Elkins, attended as Delegates at the BCS Specialist Groups Assembly on Thursday 7th April 2005 held at the BCS Offices in Southampton Street, London. Patrick, newly elected Chair of OSSG, gave a well received talk about our new group. This generated much interest not only amongst delegates from other Specialist Groups but also from full-time BCS staff including the BCS President and Chief Executive.

Some interesting information was given out at the Assembly. Chris Webb, BCS Press and PR Manager stated that every Specialist Group (SG) should have at least one trained and briefed media specialist. Training by his Department will be made available to SGs. Chris also mentioned that a column is available in Computing Magazine to BCS, which in theory any SG could make use of.

Matthew Flynn, BCS Commissioning Editor – Books Programme, said he was actively looking for new books to publish. The proposed book by OSSG on Open Source will be a welcome new addition to the BCS book list.

Brian Runciman, BCS Managing Editor, who edits ITNOW (formerly Computer Bulletin) was particularly interested in articles on careers and training at the moment. In addition he also suggested a theme for a regular column based around a day in the life of an IT professional.

Colin Chivers, Specialist Groups and Branches Accountant, outlined the current healthy state of funds. As a result he mentioned that money is available to SGs for special funding where a good business case is presented. He said that the best time to bid for such funding was at the start of the year but if the business case is strong enough then this can be made available at any point during the year.

A main theme of the Assembly was a call for more interaction between SGs. This might involve better ways of sharing information, sharing venues for meetings, or holding joint meetings. For OSSG this is undoubtedly well under way, because our expanding membership has already attracted quite a few to join us from other SGs.