Serena extends Creative Commons license to mashups

The move will have the company license pre-built Business Mashups in hopes of spurring adoption of a forthcoming commercially hosted service

Serena Software is licensing its Business Mashups software under Creative Commons licenses and encourages other software companies to do the same, Serena said on Monday.

Under the program, Serena will license 13 pre-built Business Mashups and will do so with others that the company builds in the future. Business Mashups serve as graphical representations of simple business processes, such as vacation requests and sales discount approvals. Creative Commons permits users to share and remix each other's work, which will spark innovation, according to Serena.

The company said Creative Commons has been primarily used with traditional forms of content, such as art, literature, and movies. By extending this licensing to Business Mashups, Serena said it is making it clear that Business Mashups are not based on source code but are unique graphical expressions of a process. This makes these Mashups suited to Creative Commons licensing, especially in situations where users combine the mashups to create new derivative works, said Serena.

"When we looked at it, the actual mashups themselves are actually graphical representations of a workflow, and because they're graphics, you can't use traditional software licensing rules," said Kyle Arteaga, Serena spokesman. "You're licensing a picture. We had to actually look to the art world to find appropriate licensing."

In offering free use of the pre-built mashups, Serena hopes to spur adoption of its commercially hosted service for Business Mashups, which will be called Serena Business Mashups and debuts in June.

Creative Commons opens up licensing possibilities so users can copy, adapt, and distribute work, Serena said. The company said this is the first time this model has been applied to business process diagrams or graphical representations.

Serena believes Creative Commons provides an excellent way to encourage innovative use of software; users can take someone's software, give attribution, and build upon it, Arteaga said.

Serena also will provide an online marketplace where "mashers" can find, buy, and sell pre-built Mashups, Web services, and professional services. Called Serena Mashup Exchange, partners and users can collaborate on projects that are individually too small to warrant dedicated IT support but represent opportunity, Serena said.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.