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VA Linux to Sell Proprietary Version of Sourceforge 267

Posted by michael
from the brother-can-you-spare-a-dime dept.
Cassivs writes: "There's an article claiming that VA Linux is planning on selling a proprietary, closed-source version of SourceForge, SourceForge Enterprise Edition. See the letter to SourceForge members assuring them that VA Linux will continue to provide free hosting/etc. at SourceForge. They will also continue to maintain a GPL version of the code, SourceForge Open Edition." VA is Slashdot's corporate parent.
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VA Linux to Sell Proprietary Version of Sourceforge

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  • What good is it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MSBob (307239) on Friday August 24, 2001 @07:29AM (#2212763)
    I can't see why a company may want to deploy sourceforge on site. Maybe I never worked for a big enough company but unless you have hundreds of projects I can't really see why one might one to have sourceforge in the office. Even when I worked for my biggest ever employer they had some sixteen distinct projects and that was a company with well over a thousand employees. Where's the selling point?
  • I thought as much (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RatFink100 (189508) on Friday August 24, 2001 @07:40AM (#2212803)
    this was the only plausible reason for making proprietary extensions - to provide 'embedded' interfaces proprietary software. Of course you have to make the interfaces between these extensions and the GPL SourceForge 'clean' in licensing terms.

    Otherwise - if VA had really been converted to proprietariness - they'd have just re-licensed the whole thing.
  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Friday August 24, 2001 @07:46AM (#2212824)
    How hypocritical is it that the people who run this site, while espousing the virtues of open source take an open-sourced program and make it proprietary.

    While they will have a "Source Forge - Open Edition", there will undoubtably be features in the "Enterprise" edition missing from the GPL'd release. Is this fair to those who have contributed to SourceForge on a voluntary and uncompensated basis? Will the open-source contributers receive royalties from the commercial product?

    Where is JonKatz and CmdrTaco crying out against this now? I guess moral superiority stops at the hands of those who sign their checks.
  • Re:What good is it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jorrit (19549) on Friday August 24, 2001 @07:49AM (#2212833) Homepage
    I think that a company will soon have a number of projects. Even if you only have three projects (which really isn't much for any company) then it is still nice to have a centralized point to control all this. SourceForge gives you cvs, bug tracker, support tracker, other trackers, message forums, mailing lists, ...

    I can certainly imagine this to be very useful for even smaller companies.

    Greetings,
  • Re:What good is it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jorrit (19549) on Friday August 24, 2001 @07:54AM (#2212843) Homepage
    Additionally I'd like to add that the value of SourceForge lies not in the number of projects that are hosted on it. Even with only one project in it something like SourceForge would be useful. At my work I only work on one projects (but there are more of course) but even so I would love to use SourceForge to keep track of bugs, supports requests, ...

    So to summarize. Even if you only use the SourceForge code for one project it is still useful.

    Greetings,
  • by Jorrit (19549) on Friday August 24, 2001 @07:58AM (#2212856) Homepage
    If you are refering to yesterdays incident to refusing authentication then I'd like to add that this was a scheduled downtime of the CVS services. This downtime was announced on the Sourceforge Site Status page.

    Otherwise I have almost never problems with SourceForge and especially not with cvs. I use it daily (and more than once every day) for several of my projects without failure.

    Greetings,
  • by RatFink100 (189508) on Friday August 24, 2001 @08:02AM (#2212868)
    If VA is writing extensions to Source forge, I can't comment... it's a complex issue. Are they or are they not derrivative works?

    First of all VA may have asked the authors to sign over copyright to them - as the FSF does. It's believed by many that this makes it easier to defend against GPL violations. I don't know whether this has happened or not - but I'd guess not.

    Simply charging for distribution of GPL'd software - is not a violation of the GPL. The only possibly violation would be whether the 'extensions' together with the GPL'd stuff constitute a 'derived work' or merely an 'aggregate work'. That's what I meant about 'clean' interfaces.

    My guess would be that we're talking about stand-alone programs which can be called by SourceForge with specific command line flags, input files etc. The fact that they are really designed to be used with SourceForge doesn't matter so long as they can be seen to be distinct programs.

    From what someone else said - it looks as though these extensions are actually doing is talking to Oracle databases. So they have to make these extensions separate and proprietary in order to be able to interface with Oracle and not violate the GPL on the core software. It's a compromise based on the fact that their large customers want Oracle integration.

  • by sllort (442574) on Friday August 24, 2001 @08:25AM (#2212945) Homepage Journal
    hundreds of readers would have moaned and griped if it didn't, saying "slashdot is censorware!"...

    Jesus, quit ripping off my material [slashdot.org].

    /. not displaying news about VA Linux might be hypocritical, but it wouldn't make them Censorware. To my knowledge, /. has put their Censorware days behind them.

  • by jeroenb (125404) on Friday August 24, 2001 @08:28AM (#2212952) Homepage
    It's not about whether or not you can sell GPL'ed software for money or not. Ofcourse you can, nothing wrong with that.

    The only thing everyone seems to miss is that lots of people especially here on Slashdot keep claiming that the GPL will be the license of the future. That businesses will use it and everything will eventually become GPL. After all, information wants to be free, right?

    Now there is this company that has been saying for years that they support Linux and the concepts behind the GPL all the way. Now however, they are trying to find a way for their company to actually make money and the only thing they can come up with is to make proprietary extensions. That's a bit too ironic isn't it? How can you expect a company (meaning: wanting to make money) like Microsoft ever to see the merits of the GPL when a supposed supporter of the GPL turns to the Microsoft model (proprietary software) to make money? That's just ridiculous.

    So no, this is not violating any license or law, it's just a slap in the face of all those people who are trying to convince the world that the GPL is a viable license even for businesses.
  • by Manax (41161) <toertel-slashdot AT manax DOT org> on Friday August 24, 2001 @09:21AM (#2213135) Homepage
    ibm [ibm.com] seems to be using it for some [ibm.com] of their open source projects [ibm.com].

    BTW, what the heck is the "postercomment compression filter" and what is it I could have violated? ...

  • Re:What good is it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Surak (18578) <(moc.skcolbliam) (ta) (karus)> on Friday August 24, 2001 @10:10AM (#2213362) Homepage Journal
    I can't see why a company may want to deploy sourceforge on site. Maybe I never worked for a big enough company but unless you have hundreds of projects I can't really see why one might one to have sourceforge in the office. Even when I worked for my biggest ever employer they had some sixteen distinct projects and that was a company with well over a thousand employees. Where's the selling point?

    Oh this is *easy*. General Motors, my employer, whom does not necessarily share my opinions and for whom I do not speak, has *easily* 50-100 different software projects going on right now.

    None of of these are centralized efforts. They are scattered across different business units, even scattered across the globe. If they had could have one, centralized place to manage all of that source code, where developers could have access (or not have access, depending on setup) to different developers code, a lot of duplicated effort in the way of configuration management, and even in the realm of libraries and routine and such, could be eliminated.

    In fact, I'm thinking of writing up a proposal right now and sending it in to appropriate management. :)

  • by Milican (58140) on Friday August 24, 2001 @10:14AM (#2213383) Journal
    Well I found out about sourceforge last week. The funny thing is a banner ad at slashdot tipped me off. The company I work for happens to be in the market for collaboration software. Unfortunately, I was too late to throw this one the bucket. The decision had already been made for another product.

    After talking to a sales rep from VA Linux on the phone the advantage of buying sourceforge [valinux.com] is support. Which I'm sure is the same reason businesses buy RedHat. Time is money to business and I know first hand we cannot be down from a bug in software or at the mercy of newsgroups for technical support answers. What I found really interesting is VA Linux no longer sells hardware, but they do still provide support. Anyway, good move VA Linux. I really appreciate the open source collaboration sourceforge provides and I think its a great move to supply the same great tools at a price to businesses for proprietary development. Lets hope their stock prices reflect this decision.

    JOhn

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