About DIY LIMS Licensing

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When considering a DIY LIMS project you may be looking to start with a base to work on -- an existing system or toolkit that may already possess some or all of the functionality you need. Before getting started though you should take some time to become aware of the licensing provisions of the software you are considering using. For instance, all too often you will see a commercial system referenced as the base. This means that you may be able to obtain the add-on or customizations for free but you will have to pay for the base system it was built to interoperate with. Be careful with free additions targeted for 'lite' or feature-incomplete versions of commercial systems as well.

Building customizations onto a commercial system, even one that is freely distributed, can severely curtail, or even outright limit, your right to redistribute your own changes not to mention limit their usefulness to adopters that do not have the commercial base. Why? Nebulous provisions can exist in commercial software contracts. If you actually read them before clicking on the 'Accept' button you might find provisions that prohibit anyone from using the software on behalf of anyone outside of the organization to which it was licensed. Technically this means that the license precludes use for separate organizations. One one hand this rule prevents someone from creating a kind of SaaS (software as a service) business hosting the software, but it's language is so vague and broad that it could be used to prevent one from compiling and adding changes for the benefit of other organizations. DIY LIMS and commercial licensing projects do not mix very well.

With DIY you have to look for a GPL compatible license first and foremost. This ensures that you have the right to redistribute the software as well as ensuring that the publisher had the same right. If you do this early enough in your project you will not have to worry about it later on.

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Citation: About DIY LIMS Licensing. (2012). Retrieved Thu Mar 23 00:14:07 2017, from http://www.limsexpert.com/cgi-bin/bixchange/bixchange.cgi?pom=limsexpert3;iid=readMore;go=1347554841