Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2013


FOSS code goes in and never comes out

the challenge of sandboxed proprietary cloud services

In recent years, a number of cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service ("IaaS") offerings have emerged that provide officially supported free (as in beer) Linux, MySQL and other server images for use in the cloud. The majority of the components that make up these images are licensed under copyleft terms. However, the default approach of many cloud service providers is to contractually limit the use of these official Linux images to execution within their propriety cloud service. To the extent they make available complete and corresponding source code for the purposes of examination or modification, the cloud service providers also restrict access and viewing of that source code to within the sandboxed cloud service.

This session will examine the legal and business justifications for such practices. What good is complete and corresponding source (freedom 1) in a sandboxed environment if you are essentially denied use of it outside of a proprietary cloud service (freedoms 0, 2 and 3)? Are these restrictions enforceable? What steps can FOSS developers take to prevent their projects from being subverted by cloud providers?


Gabriel Holloway