The Benefits of Sharing

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-03-10 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, as Serena is applying this model to business process diagrams or graphical representations, the company expects the trend will explode as the public realizes the benefits and opportunities associated with the re-use and modification of pre-built business mashups, Bonvanie said.

"By adopting Creative Commons licenses, Serena shows a welcome commitment to letting its users share, remix or re-use their works -- freely and legally," Wendy Seltzer, a fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and visiting assistant professor at Northeastern University School of Law, said in a statement. "This kind of open licensing can make the works more valuable to all involved."

Seltzer told eWEEK she is "always pleased to see companies recognizing that sharing can be more valuable than keeping things locked up. The Creative Commons licenses are a good way to indicate that public interest in sharing and to give users the legal permissions to re-use expression."

Meanwhile, Bonvanie said he sees business mashups as a way to even possibly spur the economy.

"Business Mashups stimulate employee creativity so that business users can build applications to improve their productivity -- without burdening already constrained resources of IT departments," he said. "Why stop there? Creative Commons permits users to share and remix each others' work, which will spark a wave of innovation in the enterprise."

Creative Commons presents open licensing possibilities so users can copy, adapt and distribute their work. So to accelerate the creation and use of business mashups, Serena will also provide an online marketplace known as the Serena Mashup Exchange, where "mashers" can find, buy and sell pre-packaged mashups, Web services and professional services designed to solve business problems common to businesses of any size, Bonvanie said.

Although he said Serena is the first software company to jump feet first into licensing full software applications under Creative Commons, it is certainly not the first major company to dabble in the process.

As early as June 2006, Microsoft and the Creative Commons organization teamed up to release a copyright licensing tool to enable the easy addition of Creative Commons licensing information for works in popular Microsoft Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. However, mashups were not yet in existence then. That said, at its MIX08 conference March 5 in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced the release of several Internet Explorer 8 components, controls and specifications under Creative Commons licensing.

Meanwhile, Bonvanie said Creative Commons licensing is not universally applicable to software, "because I would never put a piece on binary code into Creative Commons."

He said Serena already has released 13 business mashups and intends to deliver many more. "And we have 50 partners who will be involved with us," he said.

Serena plans to release up to 20 more mashups in the next month or two, with partners such as IBM Rational, CollabNet and Perforce planning to deliver mashups on the Serena platform later this year or early next, Serena officials said.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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