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A FLOSS License-Selection Methodology for Cloud Computing Projects

Cloud computing and open source are two disruptive innovations. Both deeply modify the way the computer resources are made available and monetized. They evolve between competition (e.g. open source software for desktop versus SaaS applications) and complementarity (e.g. cloud solutions based on open source components or cloud applications published under open source license). PaaSage is an open source integrated platform to support both design and deployment of cloud applications. The PaaSage consortium decided to publish the source code as open source. It needed a process for the open source license selection. Open source licensing scheme born before the development of cloud computing and evolved with the creation of new open source licenses suitable for SaaS applications. The license is a part of project governance and strongly influences the life of the project. In the context of the PaaSage European project, the issue of the open source license selection for cloud computing software has been addressed. The first section of the paper describes the state of the art about open source licenses including the known issues, a generic license-selection scheme and the automated source code analysis practices. The second section studies the common choices of licenses in cloud computing projects. The third section proposes a FLOSS license-selection process for cloud computing project following five steps : (1) inventoring software components, (2) selecting open source license, (3) approving license selection (vote), (4) spreading practical details and (5) monitoring source code. The fourth section describes the PaaSage use case. The last section consists in a discussion of the results.