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09 December 2008, 11:19

New guide to finding and fixing the misuse of free software

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The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) Freedom Task Force (FTF) and have just released a guide to reporting and fixing licence compliance problems. The new document is the latest in a series of guides on dealing with the GPL and other free software licences, an area which often causes problems for commercial companies incorporating free software into their products. Other guides include The Software Freedom Law Center's Practical Guide to GPL Compliance and the GPL Compliance Engineering GuidePDF from FTF member Armijn Hemel.

The guide itself is quite brief, but importantly, it has instructions for how to contact both the FTF and for more help. If commercial engineers are needed to conduct code audits, testing or other services, Hemel's employers Loohuis Consulting are specialists in the area.

The guide emphasizes the importance of keeping discussions of possible infractions calm, reasonable and private, rather than flamewars on public fora. Shane Coughlan, FTF Coordinator says "The best way to solve compliance issues is to prevent them happening in the first place" – "We work to support this by educating the community at large. When problems do occur, we want people to be able to share information and resolve them effectively."

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