White paper: Open source, software patents or a combination?

Since its launch in the 1980s, open source has grown in popularity as it allows developers to collaborate in a more transparent and community-oriented way.

More recently, the concept of open source has become a fundamental part of web3, which relies on ‘composability’ (i.e. open compatibility and freedom of use) across any system using a blockchain.

Traditionally, open-source rights were contained within a common licence format. Once a member of the community has signed up to the owner’s Creative Commons license (a public license that enables people to use another party’s work), they cannot only use the software, but also enhance the program, add features, and fix errors.

Recent developments in blockchain technology will take this concept of ‘open source’ a step further.

It’s likely open source will become an accepted underlying principle for all developers working using a blockchain system (given the need for inter-compatibility), rather than being limited to common licences in their previous form.

However, the debate of whether patenting or open source best suits a software developer’s needs still rages. In this white paper we look at both sides of the argument in detail.

We ask if open source is good for the software industry and examine the pros and cons of open source before examining the different license options open to developers. 

We also look at the benefits and drawbacks of patenting software before discussing whether the best way forward could be to find a practical way for patents and open source to work together.