Open Source Licenses

Should a hospital generate intellectual property and give it away as a license? Most users would think that is contrarian. How does giving away the software guard against the emerging “competitive landscape”?

Let’s consider EMR. Assuming one hospital invests resources in developing software for its benefit. Giving it away for free would not only help to find the bugs, but likely to harness the collective intelligence of the other users. The quality of the software will improve at a marginal cost to the originator. The ecosystem develops (for services) and specific licenses prohibit forking or running services without giving back to the code. These licenses can be enforced legally. I am not a lawyer and anyone reading it can share in their experiences.

Here’s something interesting:

Software licenses are legal and binding contracts between the producers of the software and the users of the software governing the use and redistribution of said software.Every piece of software that you use has a license. Majority of it is proprietary and closed source. This means that it’s a black box. Nobody can look into it to verify what’s happening behind the scenes.

What should be the choice for the licenses?

Here’s something more on the subject:

“We recommend that people consider using the GNU AGPL for any software which will commonly be run over a network”.“If it is likely that others will make improved versions of your program to run on servers and not distribute their versions to anyone else, and you’re concerned that this will put your released version at a disadvantage, we recommend the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL). The AGPL’s terms are almost identical to the GPL’s; the sole substantive difference is that it has an extra condition to ensure that people who use the software over a network will be able to get the source code for it.”

Think about it.