First of all I would like to apologize for my post here. However, I don't know where else to ask these questions.

For some of my projects, I use the SourceMonitor software from Campwood LLC. The author, Jim Wanner, is now retiring from software development. I have contacted him and he is willing to make SourceMonitor available as open source software. I am doing my best to assist him in achieving this goal.

There are currently three problems that I don't know how to solve:

  • It is hard to find developers to join this project. I have contacted some (German) magazines to publish an article. I offered them to write an article about the reasons for using SourceMonitor and some points for future challenges of the software, but nothing happened. How to find interested developers for this project? I thought of posting on the LKML the question. Probably that's not the right place, though, not to mention how this community might respond.
  • There are legal issues with licensed code and/or licensed products that have been used for the project so far. Maintaining this project is not easy as a result. In other words - there is a lot of work to do to get rid of the licensed code and tools used so far. The solution is the same as for the first point - there is a lack of dedicated developers. Where can you find some?
  • The transfer of intellectual property is also a problem. The code was created by Jim and the copyrights are held by his company, Campwood Software LLC. He is willing to transfer the rights to the community. But that takes a lawyer - and kind of money. Jim found a lawyer and had a document drawn up. But I don't understand enough English to check it out. Especially whether it's appropriate for open source. I did some research on Google, but the results are meager. I have asked the FSFE for legal assistance and am waiting for a response. Additionally, I have contacted a few other lawyers - but they don't want to do the job. How to find lawyers who are knowledgeable about this type of issue? How to solve the problems with the costs?

I appreciate any advice and suggestions to help achieve the goal of an open source SourceMonitor project. Are there any people here who have experience with something like this?

  • 1
    Agreeing with you, LKML is not the right spot. it looks like the main problem is that the codebase needs to be edited to remove code which is licensed but not owned by the author/Campwood LLC. Until that is fixed, it will be hard to attract developers. I am interested in this type of software, so I would be willing to help a bit.
    – jayvdb
    Nov 2 at 2:32
  • @jayvdb no, the code of the author/Camwood LLC will become open source. But there is some code used which is licensed - and this code should be removed. The code is written in C++, the UI is done with MFC. The licensed code is about the diagrams and some classes with unknown copyright status. They have been published somewhere in MS Journal by Paul DiLascia. Nov 6 at 17:41
  • What about omitting those bits with unknown copyright status, and open-source the rest? This would allow people to understand the missing bits, and help determine the copyright status, chase down permission from additional authors, and /or recreate those bits.
    – jayvdb
    Nov 7 at 5:07

To start with the licensing side, to make a project open-source does not require a transfer of intellectual property. Making a project open-source is just changing the terms under which the software is delivered to be the terms of an open-source license.

To change the license of some piece of software, you just need an agreement between all parties that have a copyright interest in that software on what new license to apply (possibly in addition to the existing licenses). For all code for which the copyrights are fully held by the Campwood Software LLC company, the company can just decide to change the license terms.

The third-party code might be a complication here, and it should be checked if the license under which that code is being used (and included in the product?) is compatible with the open-source license being considered for the rest of the code. If the license on the third-party code prohibits inclusion in an open-source project, then that code must be removed (or re-licensed under a more permissive license) before the project can be made open-source.

Regarding finding contributors, that is a problem for the large majority of open-source projects. As we are talking about an established product here, one option would be to inform the current users of SourceMonitor about the move to open-source and to ask if they might be willing to assist in the support and maintenance of the project. Those people have a vested interest in seeing the product continue to exist.

  • thanks for the reply. Some of the aspects are interesting. I'll check them with Jim. Nov 6 at 17:32

A Github code search for campwoodsw.com has 200 results. Some of those results are people that have developed custom processes/tools which rely on SourceMonitor, and so are people could/should be approached, as they likely have an interest in having SourceMonitor becoming OSS. e.g. https://github.com/juj/GitSourceMonitor, user https://github.com/juj . (..And how to reach out to a user like 'juj' is a separate topic.)

  • very good idea - I'll check this. Nov 6 at 17:33

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