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See what happens when you ‘borrow’ open source code

In an article entitled Computer Partner, the writer gives four pieces of advice for those who would like to use open source code. Assume that you will get caught, talk to your lawyers, create ground rules and investigate your code.

The increasing pressure arising from intense external competition and other variables has made open source violations a more common problem, more specifically that source code is not acknowledged and used without respecting the “General Public License” (GPL) ethics.

One open source programmer, Harald Welte, has managed to force more than 100 companies to modify or release various pieces of software, in which they had used open source code without respecting the GPL.

And there are at least two companies out there whose job is to monitor applications and compare them to each other in a bid to identify those who are actually stealing/borrowing/plagiarism, even if the culprit changes names or removes or adds spaces.

Companies of all sizes have been concerned by this problem. Asus, Belkin, Fujitsu Siemens are the better known. The fact that you are not aware about open source licenses doesn't shield you from potential legal issues.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.