Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

October 16, 2018

The Software Freedom Law Center is proud to make available a whitepaper by Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, Ltd., and Eben Moglen, Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. The whitepaper shows how new capabilities in the free and open source software stack enable highly regulated and sensitive industrial concerns to take advantage of the full spectrum of modern copyleft software.

Software embedded in physical devices now determines how almost everything – from coffee pots and rice cookers to oil tankers and passenger airplanes – works. Safety and security, efficiency and repairability, fitness for purpose and adaptability to new conditions of all the physical products that we make and use now depend on our methods for developing, debugging, maintaining, securing and servicing the software embedded in them.

These methods of “software governance” are to 21st-century technology what materials science and quality assurance practices were to 20th-century industrial activity. They are now a crucial “hidden input” to industry’s ability to make, and government’s ability to regulate, everything we use.

Few products encapsulate both the challenges and the possibilities in this area like the automobile. In the automotive software environment, new technical capabilities in FOSS can help to solve the profound engineering and social problems of governance, security and liability.

This whitepaper shows how a specific, existing form of FOSS software distribution, Ubuntu Core and “snap” technology, can achieve these goals under present technological conditions.

Read the Whitepaper.

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