A Prototype Decision Support System for OSS License Compatibility Issues
Building on Semantic Web technology and our prior theoretical and practical work on the Carneades argumentation system, we have developed a proof-of-concept, prototype system for helping developers to construct, explore and compare legal theories when analysing open source licensing issues in particular cases. The prototype takes into consideration an analysis of requirements. This analysis concludes that the resolution of open source licensing issues is an argumentative process in which alternative theories of copyright law concepts, such as the concept of a derivative work, together with the facts of particular cases, are constructed and critically evaluated.
An ontology of open source licences has been developed, using the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and this ontology has been used to model several popular open source licenses, including the Apache 2.0, BSD and MIT academic licenses, as well as the MPL, EPL and GNU GPL reciprocal licenses. Several variants of the GNU GPL are included in the model, including the GNU AGPL and the GNU LGPL. In addition we have developed an ontology for describing software projects, including various relationships between software entities used by the project, at the level of abstraction required for analysing licensing issues. A couple of alternative theories of the legal concept of a derivative work have been modelled using defeasible inference rules in the Legal Knowledge Interchange Format (LKIF).
Finally, these theories are used to construct, evaluate and visualize pro and con arguments about whether or not a particular open source license may be used by an example software project.
Visit also the Carneades home page here
Pre-conditions and requirements
In order to use this application, you must have installed:
- An up-to-date Java Virtual Machine, for example from www.java.com
- An ontology editor for the Web Ontology Language, such as Protege, for describing the software system to be analysed
- Report on Prototype Decision Support System for OSS License Compatibility Issues
- Readme file about the prototype
Download the application prototype and get your own map of licences! README file explains you how to install and use the application.
We recommend you using the GIT repository on Berlios to obtain the latest version here.
Maturity Level (1-5)
The overall maturity of the prototype is a "research prototype". However, the prototype combines some elements with different level of maturity. The current maturity of the model (knowledge base) of copyright law would be around 2. The Carneades system (argumentation system) is somewhat more mature, around 3.
Tom Gordon – FOKUS
Web page: www.tfgordon.de
Other contact info: ELAN research group at Fraunhofer FOKUS
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