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+ - Open Source piracy?

Submitted by mjhuot
mjhuot (525749) writes "I've been involved with open source software for more than a decade, and most of that time I've been an active member of a project called OpenNMS. OpenNMS is a network management application platform that I use at my job, and although I contribute a lot of my time toward the project I do not get directly paid for it. I do it because I enjoy it, and I believe in the goals of free and open source software.

Today I was introduced to a product called RuggedNMS that is obviously a rebranded version of our own project. I can find no mention of OpenNMS let alone GPL licensing. Do I have a right to be angry when I see a company that looks like they are exploiting our work? I give my work freely to the community. The OpenNMS community's vitality is very important to me. I can imagine some within our community feeling betrayed if someone takes our work, does not contribute back, and no longer distributes it freely.

I talked with one of the OpenNMS admins, Tarus Balog, who blogged about the situation, and he stated that while at this time they might be in violation of the license, it will take some effort to know for sure.

I want to ask: while there is the letter of the law concerning a software license that must be obeyed, has anyone formalized the etiquette around when someone wants to use an open source project inside a commercial one? Has anyone working on a project been approached by a company saying "hey, heads up, we love what you're doing and plan to use it in our software"?

I think I would feel less angry if RuggedCom had contacted the community and let us know what they were planning to do with OpenNMS. If they were very open about it and demonstrated some knowledge of the GPL, I wouldn't be sitting here thinking the worst."

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