I visited Seoul last week to represent the Open Source Initiative (OSI) at an open source conference and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korea Software Copyright Committee (SOCOP). SOCOP organized a conference with the title "Free Open Source Software License Insight Conference", and the international speakers included Brett Smith of the FSF, Brendan Scott of Open Source Law, Michael Coté of RedMonk and myself. From the questions we received, it seems that there is a lot of interest in legal questions related to open source. There were a number of folks from hardware companies that asked specific questions what they could do and couldn't do (e.g. related to including sources for GPL code and properly giving credit for BSD code).
I think the conference was a great success. The talks were of high value and we got good questions. The audience was quite mixed, ranging from managers to developers. Even though they had simultaneous translation of the talks, the majority of the people listened in English... this gives me hope that some of these folks will end up becoming involved in the international open source community.
SOCOP is working on a number of activities related to open source, including:
- An information portal called OLIS.
- The translation of all OSI approved licenses to Korean.
- The verification of open source code to identify which code uses which license.
- More promotional activities, including workshops and conferences.
The day after the conference, I went to the SOCOP office to sign the MOU between SOCOP and OSI with Mr Yung Bo Koo, the chairman of SOCOP. The MOU says that we'll share knowledge and expertise, help with promotional activities and support each other's activities in other ways. I was delighted to sign the MOU between SOCOP and OSI, and I look forward to a fruitful cooperation between our organizations in the future. It's great to see so much interest and so many activities around open source in the Republic of Korea.