The Faces of Open Source: Harald Welte


Harald Welte is featured in this, the seventh episode of "The Faces of Open Source Law," by Shane Martin Coughlan. Over the past six interviews, we hope you've come to not only recognize the faces of those working on legal matters with the open source community, but also come to appreciate the importance of such issues for promoting and fostering a healthy open source software ecosystem.

As with previous episodes, Shane again provides "production notes" (presented below), offering his own insights from the interviews. Enjoy!


Harald is the original GPL enforcer. He reached out to companies and brought the GPL to court for the first time, way back in the early 2000s. His activities, initially seen as controversial, ultimately led to much greater and improved dialogue between companies and the community-at-large, not least because it cast the GPL as a solid, simple legal document, with terms that a court could rule on.

One of Harald's most noticeable characteristics is his calm, measured, and carefully considered approach to matters. His passion for free software is genuine, but he is not driven by passion alone. He has clear, thoughtful arguments for issues that he engages with, and he often provides insight in an accessible manner. While he is far too modest to use the term, Harald is a thought-leader in open source, and this is one of the interviews I was most excited to shoot.


Other episodes:


"Harald Welte - The Faces of Open Source Law - Season 1 - Episode 7" is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution license.