Use More Free Software at Work: How to Approach the Legal Department


Many companies, schools or projects could benefit tremendously from using free software, but free software enthusiasts and institutional gatekeepers are coming from very different perspectives. Developers tend to be most familiar with FOSS's benefits; reusing code, public code review for bugs, increased project capacity and of course, cost. The legal department has it's own mandate and is often most familiar with the risks, some real and some perceived.

FOSS interacts with two very different types of legal tools, more commonly referred to as copyrights and patents. Understanding how some of the most common FOSS licenses function, using a consistent guideline for code contributions and making use of community resources, will make adoption much more feasible -- no matter how big your project is. Once the legal department is assured that they won't be reinventing the wheel, all that remains is to choose the FOSS governance tools that best support the business model or project goal. 

This talk is a primer for developers who want to approach their legal department knowledgeably and with a solid understanding of what may be behind the reluctance to embrace free software in their work environment. The first step to creating a welcome atmosphere for more open source adoption is building a common understanding of benefits and available strategies. Approach your legal department with confidence!

Room 106
Sunday, January 24, 2016 - 15:00 to 16:00