Hi Joel,

     Indeed.  We are a fairly small shop  (less than 2,000 employees).  We do 
not allow end-users or most IT folks to install software on their company 
device.  Too many variables - Licensing is a big one for use, but we're also 
concerned about any software that talks to our infrastructure - we have to 
review any new software - regardless of the licensing policy of the product.  

     Occasionally, this is a pain in the butt for us techie types.  Even though 
I'm a senior MF guy with 26 years on the job (and also doing linux and unix), I 
have personally fought that battle and lost.

    IMHO, With all the threats out there, companies (like mine and many others, 
I suspect) are just doing whey that have to do to protect themselves and their 

     It's a much different world in IT than it was (even) 10 years ago.  Yes, I 
miss those days!


-----Original Message-----
From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List [mailto:IBM-MAIN@LISTSERV.UA.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Joel C. Ewing
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 3:43 PM
Subject: Corporate lawsuit exposure Was: k4t4949b (September 2016 refresh of 
the z/OS 2.2 manuals) [ EXTERNAL ]

On 09/20/2016 11:53 AM, Jack J. Woehr wrote:
> Jesse 1 Robinson wrote:
> ...
>>   It takes only one software-piracy lawsuit to devour far more than 
>> our own contribution to the bottom line. We have to live by rules 
>> that may or may not be intended to protect us. The penalty for 
>> violating corporate policy can be severe in the extreme.
> Using without altering or redistributing open source licensed under 
> standard licenses (GNU/BSD-2/Apache/IBM Common, etc) is never software 
> piracy.
> Downloading a compiled "free" piece of software from random vendors is 
> legally dicey. Installing an RPM on z/Linux is not at all dicey.
> ...
Unfortunately in a large corporate environment you may have a large number of 
users with access to workstations who are not sophisticated
enough to understand software licensing distinctions.   A blanket
restriction on user installation of any additional software on a workstation or 
of running software from any unapproved external media is a policy that has 
some hope of being communicated to such users and possibly even enforced.  If 
you open up the flexibility to do otherwise, how do you explain to such users 
that just because they can freely download or install some software that they 
use at home and it runs OK at work without complaining, that this doesn't 
necessarily mean it's legal?  

I have seen a lot of software out there that is free for personal home use but 
requires a paid license to be legal in a business environment.  
There also used to be some personal software licenses that explicitly granted 
the user the right to use the same software on both his home and business 
workstations; but how is the company, if asked, able to prove in such cases 
that the software usage is legit and covered by a license in home-possession of 
a user acting within the scope of his personal license? And what if by some 
oversight that software fails to get deleted from the office workstation when 
that user leaves the company and takes his license with him?

I suspect the Linux case may not be 100% clear either.  I don't know of any 
specific cases with zLinux, but can one for certain rule out the possibility 
that one might install without restriction an RPM that adds a software 
repository, but that some RPMs within that repository might in fact be 
use-restricted in some way?  I'm pretty sure that in the case of Fedora Linux 
there are some packages that have migrated out of the main Fedora repositories 
over the years into other repositories precisely because of licensing issues; 
yet adding those other repositories without concern for those distinctions is a 
common accepted practice for many users.  And, when installing packages from a 
collection of repositories, how carefully does one even note which repository 
is the source?
    Joel C. Ewing, Bentonville, AR

Joel C. Ewing,    Bentonville, AR       jcew...@acm.org 

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