Bruce Perens joins open-source defense group

Bruce Perens, a co-founder and key leader of the open-source software movement, has been appointed to the board of Open Source Risk Management (OSRM), a New York-based company that is working to help protect the legal standing of open-source software.

Daniel Egger, OSRM founder and chairman, said today in a statement that Perens is a "highly respected leader in the open-source movement (who) will provide OSRM with invaluable expertise as we work to provide legal infrastructure to the open-source community. We are thrilled to have his unique insight into both the technical and legal intricacies of open-source."

In an interview, Perens said he is joining the board to help the group remain consistent with the ethics of the open-source developer community.

"The open-source (community) has its own view of what you can and cannot do with a commercial exploitation of it," he said. "If they feel that Linux and open-source are becoming too much of a commercial playground, they're going to stop developing."

Perens said he will help the group provide source code authenticity assurance to ensure that commercial software isn't infringed by open-source software. That effort includes the use of specially created programs that can analyze software and determine if any improperly copied code is included in it.

"If there are suspicious similarities between products we pull them out and say, 'There's a problem here,' " he said.

Also on OSRM's board is Eggers and John St. Clair, the company's executive director.

OSRM, which provides open-source risk mitigation and legal defense services to clients, was founded last year. The company has launched a legal defense center to help businesses threatened by The SCO Group's legal attacks on corporate Linux users and is offering indemnification coverage for corporate users.

Perens is a co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit group dedicated to managing and promoting the definition of open-source software. He has previously worked for two years as senior global strategist for Linux and open-source at Hewlett-Packard and was president of Linux Capital Group, a venture capital fund specializing in Linux.

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