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Once derided and under constant legal attacks, open-source software is now a force in the tech industry with Docker, Hortonworks and Cloudera all being recent examples of how companies can thrive around an engaged community whose contributors help ensure that the core technology is up to date and contains the latest features.

But there’s another side to open-source technology that goes beyond the benefits of free labor and innovation from the many software engineers who choose to spend their free time contributing to a project. Unlike a typical business in which an employee’s bad behavior can lead to disciplinary actions, open-source community members often don’t have the same recourse; it’s not like there’s an open-source human resources department they can turn to.

Consider the case of Seth Vargo, an engineer from the company [company]Chef[/company], which provides commercial support for the open-source Chef configuration management tool. Vargo left the company and…

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