Communication is one of the seven essential elements to ensure the success of open source license compliance activities. And it’s not enough to communicate compliance policies and processes with executive leadership, managers, engineers, and other employees. Companies must also develop external messaging for the developer communities of the open source projects they use in their products.
Below are some recommendations, based on The Linux Foundation’s e-book Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise, for some of the best ways to communicate open source license compliance both internally and externally.
Companies need internal compliance communication to ensure that employees are aware of what is involved when they include open source in a commercial software portfolio. You also want to ensure that employees are educated about the company’s compliance policies, processes, and guidelines. Internal communications can take any of several forms:
Email communication providing executive support and of open source compliance activities
Formal training mandated for all employees working with open source software
Brown-bag open source and compliance seminars to bring additional compliance awareness and promote active discussion
An internal open source portal to host the company’s compliance policies and procedures, open source related publications and presentations, mailing lists, and a discussion forum related to open source and compliance
A company-wide open source newsletter, usually sent every other month or on quarterly basis, to raise awareness of open source compliance
Companies also need external compliance communications to ensure that the open source community is aware of their efforts to meet the license obligations of the open source software they are using in their products.
￼External communications can take several forms:
• Website dedicated to distributing open source software for the purpose of compliance
• Outreach and support of open source organizations which help the company build relationships with open source organizations, understand the roles of these organizations, and contribute to their efforts where it makes sense
• Participation in open source events and conferences. This can be at various levels ranging from sponsoring an event, to contributing presentations and publications, or simply sending developers to attend and meet open source developers and foster new relationships with open source community members.
Read the other articles in this series: