Intel cans its open source licence

Intel has been congratulated for its 'great leadership' after deciding to shelve its open source licence, which has fallen into disuse
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor

Intel confirmed on Thursday that it has asked the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to remove its open source licence from future use as an approved OSI licence.

McCoy Smith, an Intel attorney, raised this issue on an OSI mailing list earlier this week. He said that Intel would like to "remove from future use" the Intel Open Source License, to reduce licence proliferation.

The issue of licence proliferation has caused concern among some in the open source community as it can increase the cost for companies wishing to adopt open source software, as they need to review and manage each type of licence.

Intel decided to get rid of its licence after finding that it had not been used within the company for several years and is not often used outside Intel, according to an Intel spokesman. Smith said that it does not want the "de-approval" of the licence to be retroactive to past uses, as it does not want to force companies to re-license code.

Intel's decision was praised by Martin Fink, the vice-president of HP's Linux division, who recently told ZDNet UK that the number of open source licences needs to be reduced from the current figure of more than 50 to "something less than 10".

"I offer my sincere thanks to Intel Corp for this move," said Fink in a posting to the mailing list. "This is an awesome piece of leadership and I congratulate you for it. This is a great move," said Fink.

Laura Majerus, the director of legal affairs at the OSI, which has been looking into ways of cutting down the number of open source licences, agreed that Intel's move was a positive one. "I agree that this is a great example of leadership," said Majerus.

Majerus admitted that the OSI does not currently have a mechanism to prevent a licence from being used in the future, but will try to resolve this.

"The OSI needs a more formal procedure to allow companies to remove licences from 'active licence' status," said Majerus. "If nothing else, we need to make sure that all relevant parties in a corporation agree that they want to change the status of a licence. We'll work on getting this going."

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