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Ten things your lawyers need to know about open-source

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In ever-growing numbers, CIOs want to take advantage of the many benefits that free and open-source software have to offer their companies.

But there's a snag. Their lawyers can be grouchy when it comes to open-source. They claim opening the door to open-source software carries unacceptable legal risk. Many imply naively or wrongly that proprietary software doesn't carry its own risks. Some describe open-source software in pejorative terms and repeat the biased conclusions of well-financed FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) programs. They point to assertions made by high-profile CEOs that proprietary software companies will soon come knocking on their doors looking for money to compensate them for intellectual property that open-source allegedly infringes.

Some lawyers may even counsel their clients to steer clear altogether (as if that were a choice), never mind if that means losing out on the strategic opportunities open-source offers.

As a CIO you may ask, what's gotten into my lawyers?

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