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Portrait: FOSS legal leader Andrew Updegrove

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Attorney Andrew Updegrove specializes in technology, intellectual property, and standards. While other lawyers can make the same claim, few have his credentials -- maintainer of an online repository about standards consortia, former board member of the Linux Foundation, and progenitor of a major open source license.

Updegrove says his introduction to open source included his unwitting participation in a seminal licensing discussion. "It was probably in 1993 that Bob Scheifler, the executive director of the X Consortium, emailed me to say that he needed a new kind of license to make the software available to whoever needed it." Updegrove and Scheifler went back and forth a few times to get the verbiage on the new license just right. "Eventually the X Consortium was merged into what became The Open Group, and I pretty much forgot about that license. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that the license Bob and I had created had been picked up and used by lots of other people as well, and came to be known as the MIT License."

Since his work with Scheifler, Updegrove has come to appreciate the importance of open source and open standards, and especially their use together. "Standards have been around for thousands of years, in the form of weights, measures, and coinage," he says.

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