Open Source Policy Update Spotlights AI Considerations

1. Mar 2023 | Douglas DeMaio | CC-BY-SA-3.0

Open Source Policy Update Spotlights AI Considerations

A recent update of SUSE’s Open Source Policy is giving developers, communities and projects food for thought as Artificial Intelligence chatbots and protocols are gaining popularity and are being integrated into the fabric of global society.

The policy is specific to all SUSE employees; the ambition, however, is that open-source communities and developers give the policy careful consideration and that the policy will inspire other companies to adopt or introduce an open-source policy.

“Our ‘Contributing to Open Source Projects’ policy means that we identify collaboration and contribution opportunities with existing upstream projects for new open source projects as well,” according to text from the updated policy. “The legal constructs around AI pair programming with respect to licensing and potential violations are not resolved.”

Considering the recommendation licensing is a good default to avoid future conflicts. The policy is for the code, but there are some other points to consider.

SUSE uses Open Source Initiative approved licenses. Other cases are handled on an exceptional basis.

When the project is part of a larger open-source ecosystem, use an exisitng compatible license from within the ecosystem. This applies to both code and non-code licenses.

SUSE’s licensing recommendation for brand new software projects is context specific; the default is Apache-2.0. For copyleft oriented projects, GPL-2.0-or-later. is recommended. SUSE recommends CC BY-SA 4.0 for documentation and artwork.

AI pair programming is not currently used by SUSE employees and will not until an annual review considers this to be changed. New employees of SUSE will be given training on the policy and the policy is expected to be revised and refreshed on an annual basis.

To see how this topic is viewed by an AI chatbot, ChatGPT was asked what considerations developers and companies need to know about artificial intelligence chatbots and other protocols with regard to open source policies. The answers provided seemed to confirm SUSE taking a good approach with its Open Source Policy. The chatbot gave six points to consider; those were licensing compatibility, intellectual property rights, source code availability, attribution, liability and data privacy. Future changes were also listed in another related question about keeping policies fresh to remain compliant with new requirements.

Following the recommendations of the policy could help avoid conversation like like that pictured above with ChatGPT, which relates to the GitHub and OpenAI project copilot.

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