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Author's profile photo Gregor Wolf

SAP is entering phase 2 of it’s Open Source adoption – When do we see phase 3?

With the start of SAP TechEd 2010 in Berlin the SAP CodeExchange platform will be launched. It’s great to see that SAP is moving on in adopting Open Source. According to Simon Phipps SAP now enters phase 2:

“Be completely open but in terms of a      license. Busy on knit picking every line of a license and trying to work      out perfect licenses.”

The knit picking starts at the Terms of Use Agreement For SAP Code Exchange (ToU). A 4 pages document in lawers speach. You have to read, sign, fax/scan this document to get access to the Code shared on CodeExchange or if you want to contribute to a project. Check out the Code Exchange FAQ for answers on the ToU.

What I hope is that Code Exchange will be sucessfull even with the ToU. And that in a next step SAP will allow also OSI approved licences to be used for Code Exchange platform. Then SAP will enter phase 3 of their Open Source adoption. 

I try to support Code Exchange as good as I can and uploaded already 3 projects:

also I’m contributing to the abap2xlsx Project.

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      Author's profile photo Ethan Jewett
      Ethan Jewett
      Thanks for bringing up this topic, as it is very important.

      The current terms of use have some significant issues, some of which I know (from Rui's great #sitbru presentation) were unintended and will be remedied. Other issues, such as the indemnity clauses and the severe restrictions on distribution (if I retain the IP, how can SAP restrict my ability to distribute that IP?) remain serious problems that make me very uncomfortable about uploading anything to Code Exchange.

      Of course, I'm not a lawyer, and perhaps these are normal clauses that I am misinterpreting. Part of the reason I use OSI-approved licenses is that the OSI's lawyers have looked carefully at these licenses and given their legal opinion that a license "conforms to existing community norms and expectations" ( In other words, that a license will act in a way that a normal open source developer would find reasonable.

      Until SAP either allows the use of OSI-approved licenses, or arranges for SAP lawyers to review and publicly approve general use-cases under the TOU and the NDLA, I'm going to remain unwilling to upload anything to Code Exchange. Hopefully SAP will find itself willing to take one of these steps sometime soon.

      If Code Exchange is wildly successful, that will be awesome, and hopefully SAP's management will take that as a signal that it is time to enter phase 3 of open source adoption :-). If Code Exchange is not so successful, I hope that SAP management recognizes that SAP's own IP policies may be hindering community uptake of its platforms.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      completely agree with your concerns, Ethan.

      apart from the things said, I believe that the TOU lack a grounding in the real world, or are serious, up-to-date, opensource minded app developers really coding anything from scratch only? How many developers, if they want to visualize some data, start to code a whole graphics/charting library of their own?

      second, I wonder whch license the lawyers think, are applicable to the code. no commercial ones of course and none of the oh so viral licenses. wouldn't it have been a good idea to supply a whiteliste instead or at least in addition to the blacklist? or does the TOU itself constitute a license?

      sometimes I ask myself why do I care, just don't contribute and all is fine. but actually I was hoping for a long time that SDN provides something like this and suddenly it looked promising and then came the TOU.

      anyway, I wish the CodeX project the very best since I know that some work hard and honestly for it to be a success and I hope innovation is not once more killed by legal brain$&%$/§.