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Sun Microsystems Java Programming

ESR Responds to Sun's Claims of Being a Better Bazaar 310

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the cathedral-calls-basilica-cold dept.
UnixSphere writes "Sun has been quoted to have said, 'Sun's Java is developed more in the mode of the bazaar than Linux is,' which has prompted OSI President Eric Raymond to correct Sun's view of what open source really is."
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ESR Responds to Sun's Claims of Being a Better Bazaar

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  • by mfh (56) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:35AM (#10930920) Journal
    Why are they quibbling? It's all really bizarre to me! (The two are on the same side, right? Or did Microsoft's settlement with Sun change things?)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is just high-level banter from high-up execs trying to create controversy to get themselves and their companies and products noticed. All publicity is good publicity, just like when the Sex Pistols swore on TV back in the '70s or when Mick Jagger got busted for smoking weed back in the '60s.

      Nothing more nothing less.

    • Re:Java (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:52AM (#10931032) Journal
      I for one am glad that they don't open the possibility of a fork for Java. It would be a stupid move. Just look at all the bullshit that went down with Microsoft, their attempts to do so, and the resultant chilling effect that had on Java on the desktop.

      If I was an American (god forbid) and Sun WAS to open source Java after spending all that time in court with Microsoft regarding their aforementioned forking, I'd say the appropriate thing to do would be to chase them down with pitchforks and torches for wasting so much taxpayer money.

      • Re:Java (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sunnan (466558) <sunnan@handgranat.org> on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:33PM (#10931250) Homepage Journal
        It's because java isn't free (open source) software that it has to be forked (with GCJ, Kaffe, et al).

        A nice, DFSG-compliant, GPL-compatible license would make all of our lives easier and a fork wouldn't be necessary.
        • Re:Java (Score:5, Insightful)

          by maw (25860) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:57PM (#10931404) Journal
          gcj and kaffe aren't forks; they're new implementations. But you're right that java's unfreeness is a large part of why they exist.
          • Re:Java (Score:5, Interesting)

            by debrain (29228) * on Saturday November 27, 2004 @01:22PM (#10931533) Journal
            But you're right that java's unfreeness is a large part of why they exist.

            This is interesting.

            Java is prohibited from forking because Sun controls what is Java.

            Linux is deterred from forking because it has the support of the community.

            If Linux's management goes awry, then it will likely fork and spawn something with decent management. For example XFree86's X.org fork. This is good for the community. If Sun's management goes awry, the community must accept it. In other words, you are relying on the company to make the correct decisions.

            I just thought this was an interesting perspective, and that I would share.
          • Re:Java (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sunnan (466558)
            gcj and kaffe aren't forks; they're new implementations.

            Right.

            But, in the eyes of Sun, new implementations should be worse than forks based on the same original source, right?

            Wasn't that obnoxious Microsoft "fork" a new implementation, as well?
      • by m50d (797211)
        They don't need to. Just add a clause to the license that says something like "Patches to the source of the Sun Java distribution may be distributed alongside it, provided that these are only applied by the end user and it is made clear to said user that such a modified Java distribution is not endorsed, affiliated etc. with Sun Microsystems inc., is not an official implementation of Java, and will recieve no support at all from sun or Java program vendors." (in better legalese) That way you make a fork mor
      • I don't see any connection between the two issues. If java were open source, that wouldn't suddenly make it OK for microsoft to poison it as they tried to do, and microsoft would still need to be held liable for their contractual obligations and accountable for their actions, whether java were open source, closed source or whatever.
      • If I was a foreigner (god forbid) I wouldn't feel the need to inject anti-American sentiment into an otherwise interesting discussion.

        But you can't really compare what Microsoft did with Java to a typical open-source fork. In the latter case, the object is to create better software: the user is free to choose which branch of the forked software he or she feels is superior. Or, for that matter ... to start another fork. It's an evolutionary process and not all forks survive but the user ends up the big
    • If there are two sides to this at all, the two sides are proprietary control over software and the freedom to modify software. While Sun has done some good for the OSS community in the past, wtih Java, Sun is firmly on the same side as Microsoft, since Java is under complete proprietary control. That's also no accident, since Java is the only major software product Sun has that is still of any relevance to the market.

      Sun likes to cast these issues as "Sun+OSS vs. Microsoft" because it's good marketing, b
      • by wwwillem (253720) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:22PM (#10931187) Homepage
        That's also no accident, since Java is the only major software product Sun has that is still of any relevance to the market.

        Do you think the acceptance of 'Linux on the Desktop' would have been on the level it is now, without OpenOffice / StarOffice? None of the attempts (do I hear Munchen) to wipe MS from the typical office desktop would have had any success without Sun's StarOffice or OOo. In my book that is relevance to the market.

        The same can of course be said about Ximian (Novell) or Mozilla (Netscape/AOL), but what are HP's or IBM's contributions to the Linux world, without which Linux wouldn't have made it? Still, the /. community always mentions IBM and HP as the companies that embrace and understand Open Source and Linux. I don't get that .....
        • We aren't talking about what great things Sun has done for open source in the past, I was making a comment about Sun's motivations.

          Sun management must be asking themselves: where are we going to be five years from now? I think they see their hardware business failing, they don't control OpenOffice anymore, and they realize that few people care about Solaris. In fact, if StarOffice/OpenOffice showed them anything, it showed them that when they release something as open source, they won't be able to keep u
          • Sun management must be asking themselves: where are we going to be five years from now?
            Not an independent company if they don't get their house in order and FAST.
            Personally I think they should have dropped Solaris 4 years ago, but that option may now be too late to persue. Whatever they do, they had better get MOVING.
        • I don't get that .....

          You have answered your own question:

          None of the attempts to wipe MS from the typical office desktop would have had any success without Sun's StarOffice or OOo.

        • Do you think the acceptance of 'Linux on the Desktop' would have been on the level it is now, without OpenOffice / StarOffice? None of the attempts (do I hear Munchen) to wipe MS from the typical office desktop would have had any success without Sun's StarOffice or OOo. In my book that is relevance to the market.

          Yes, I think it would. OK, maybe a few months behind. But if the whole community got behind KOffice, which is better integrated (Yes only with one desktop suite, but one is better than none, and fo

          • I think you are mistaken on a few of your points.

            if the whole community got behind KOffice, which is better integrated (Yes only with one desktop suite, but one is better than none, and for Linux on the Desktop to be a success you only need to get KDE accepted), less resource hungry

            Well, as I'm sure you know, many people don't use KDE. For those that don't loading KOffice would also load a lot of KDE libraries that wouldn't have been using system recourses otherwise. So, it would be just as bloated as
          • OOo has two advantages over KOffice, name recognition and ports to non-nix systems. Neither of those are critical to Linux on the Desktop.

            Woah, bad assumption! The fact that OpenOffice.org has a freely available Windows version is exactly the reason it's the dominant OSS office suite, IMHO. You can wax lyrical about Linux on the desktop all you want, but as of right now:

            • it isn't there
            • it's never going to get there without people trusting that it supports major business apps
            • people aren't going to give
          • ports to non-nix systems.

            ... which are absolutely critical to achieving the network effect necessary for a viable alternative to MSO. I use Word right now because it meets my needs and everyone with whom I exchange documents uses it. I don't know many Linux users, but I know plenty of Windows and OS X users. For Linux to make it on the desktop, it has to work with systems that are already deployed.

            Maybe if OOo didn't exist KOffice would have been ported to other platforms. But I disagree with your contenti

    • Sun's software was originally Stanford's and the various utilities were deveoped by whoever was hanging round the computer rooms - it might be better if ESR etc stopped trying to teach the Unix pioneers what Unix is.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:13PM (#10931135)
      The two are on the same side, right?

      Here's how the concerned sides act to each other in a very simplified manner:

      Open Source community about Microsoft: Shared Source isn't Open Source, but thanks for the instaler. Your closed source sucks because there are too few eyes.

      Open Source community about Sun: It would be nice if you would decide where you really stand, but thanks for OpenOffice.org. Your closed source could be better with more eyes.

      Sun about Microsoft: We would like to get some of the money you are getting from your monopoly-like marketshare, but you have shown that you can not be trusted.

      Sun about Open Source: Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      Microsoft about Open Source: We like the BSD, we don't like copyleft.

      Microsoft about Sun: Buzz off or we will crush you.
    • The two are on the same side, right?

      Nope. In reality, there are no sides; this either white or black, either good or evil view doesn't apply.

      Most companies which behave friendly towards the free software community in one way, for which they should be applauded, also are hostile towards the same community in another way, for which they should be criticized. For example, the laudable fact that Sun has given us OpenOffice shouldn't stop us from criticizing the not so friendly things they also do.

  • by ralphart (70342) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:36AM (#10930928)
    I think he may have meant to say "Bizarre." Having dealt with support, I would agree with that statement.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Say anything even remotely related to something ESR has spouted about in the past and you are guaranteed your very own personalized 8-page response. He's the most trollable man in the history of the Internet.

    "Why is this?" you might ask. It's governed by the simple fact that ESR has nothing better to spend his prodigious amounts of free time on than the literary equivalent of listening to himself speak. I really wish Slashdot wouldn't encourage this guy by posting a story about him, because he really does

  • by jeffphil (461483) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:45AM (#10930980)
    I wanted to get the JSR 168 compatibilty toolkit [jcp.org] for research. Note the text on the page for getting this toolkit:
    The TCK will be available to Qualified
    Not-for-Profits and Qualified Individuals for no
    charge as per Section F.III of the JSPA 2.
    So I sent an email off, and got a very quick response saying I had to complete this huge form and fax it back and then I may qualify.

    Certainly a cathedral model.
    • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:59PM (#10931410) Journal
      So I sent an email off, and got a very quick response saying I had to complete this huge form and fax it back and then I may qualify. Certainly a cathedral model.

      Ok, let me get this straight...

      Sun's model is cathedral like because you had to fill and fax a form?!

      • Sun's model is cathedral like because you had to fill and fax a form?!

        Yes. With open source projects, things like a compatability toolkit would just be a download link off the main page. No forms, NDAs, signatures, etc. needed.

        I'm not saying filling out such a form is a terrible burden, but that's not the point.

      • I'm not saying that the model is like a cathedral because I'm lazy.

        It's because of the terms and conditions, such as this in Exhibit A-1 on Page 15 in fine print:

        b. License to Modifications. Any modifications to the TCK made by Licensee pursuant to the previous paragraph which Licensee makes available to Sun are hereby licensed to Sun under Licensee's applicable intellectual property rights on an "AS IS" basis without restriction and without charge. Sun may choose to use or not use such modifications
      • MOD PARENT DOWN (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IBitOBear (410965)
        No, it is "cathedral like" because _after_ you fill in the form you _may_ (at their sole descretion) qualify.

        Or you may not.

        And we don't know what the poster's presumed signature on the form legally encumbers him with in terms of secrecy or liability.

        And the form isn't necessarily even the license, as we don't know the NDA status from reading the post you so glibly discard.

        Funny thing about language, especially legal language, _ALL_ the words count and the words that are missing cannot be meaningfully g
    • At least they do give out the TCK. That took a lot of effort by apache and other OSS java groups, with two outcomes.

      One, TCKs free to 'qualified' projects. That means OSS projects run by not for profit orgs.

      Two, TCKs for a fee to companies developing OSS implementations. So JBoss can be certified, but they do have to pay lots of $$ for the right.

      Its better than before, but still imperfect. Only once the Java runtime TCK is opened up for GNU classpath to be tested against it, will we be truly free.

      The ot
    • Perhaps you think Cathedral is anything where it takes a little effort? I faxed in the form, and now am a FREE member on the JCP. That was it. Nothing else. If I want to run my own JCP, be a member of an expert group, anything -- I just click a button on the website. WooHoo.

      Perhaps you misunderstand that every single person reading Slashdot can join the JCP for free, and sit on the board with Sun, having the EXACT amount of control Sun has?

      Or perhaps you are a M$ h4x0r and don't want them to know who y
  • Free Forking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cervo (626632) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:49AM (#10931004) Journal
    Didn't Microsoft try to make their own Java implementation(J++) and didn't sun go after them for it because it didn't stick to the java standards? Is that open source?

    If you don't like the linux kernel you can take the code, make your own kernel, and even break whatever standards you want....Linus isn't going to drag you to court for breaking the POSIX standard or something.

    Can the same be said or Java? In fact parts of it are still under a propietary license as the article states...so people who live in glass houses.....
    • Re:Free Forking? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SHEENmaster (581283) <{ude.ktu} {ta} {sivart}> on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:42PM (#10931302) Homepage Journal
      The difference is that Microsoft did it maliciously. If Sun forked an ancient version of Redhat, and sold it as Sun Redhat/Linux, Redhat would be rightfully pissed when people assumed that their modern software is crap because of it.

      When Microsoft implemented J++, they touted it as Java, but it lacked many features that became standard in Java, like Swing. Including their own VM with Windows made users think they had Java, when they didn't, such that Swing applets couldn't be generally deployed for years.

      I'm not defending Sun's claim that Java is more open than Linux, just that they had every right and every duty to keep Microsoft from fucking Java up for all of us.
      • When Microsoft implemented J++, they touted it as Java,
        [...]

        ... which only confirms that Java should be protected from forks in the domain of trademark law. Additionally protecting it in the domain of copyright law seems stupid.

    • Re:Free Forking? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kunta Kinte (323399)
      Didn't Microsoft try to make their own Java implementation(J++) and didn't sun go after them for it because it didn't stick to the java standards? Is that open source?

      Sun went after Microsoft because they had a contractual agreement which stated they had to produce a product with certain attributes before they can call it "Java".

      Sun has never prevented alternative Java implementation, there are many [java-virtual-machine.net].

      As far as open-source there is Kaffe [kaffe.org], GNU Classpath [gnu.org], GCJ [gnu.org], Jikes [ibm.com] and others.

      All those projects need h

    • Re:Free Forking? (Score:4, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @01:37PM (#10931597)
      Didn't Microsoft try to make their own Java implementation(J++) and didn't sun go after them for it because it didn't stick to the java standards? Is that open source?

      That's not really the same. Microsoft signed a licensing agreement with Sun to use and develop Java in Windows. One stipulation of the agreement was that their implementation had to comply with Java standard commands and protocols. Microsoft tried "embrace, extend, and extinguish" with Java by introducing more commands in their version than standard Java. That was Sun's main beef and this was all brought out during the antitrust trial.

      James Gosling testified that MS had 2 non standard commands and did not meet Sun's compatibility requirements as dictated by agreement. MS lawyers tried to paint Sun as jealous that MS created a faster, better version of Java. Gosling responded that Sun didn't care if the MS version was faster or better only that it was compatible.

      Gosling said incompatibility across different platforms was against the "write once, run anywhere" goal that Sun had wanted for Java. Incompatibility across platforms he said was what made C and C++ hard to program across different machines and fractured those languages. He wrote Java in part "from the scars that I acquired in doing C porting."

    • M$ had signed an agreement (like IBM did) to make their version COMPATIBLE. They broke that agreement. THAT was why they were sued.

      That was before the JCP, and before people like Apache had as much say as Sun in the Java Process.

      Now, they just know that they can't trust M$. Does anyone here disagree about that fact?

      And you are right, Linus won't take you to court for making one that isn't compatible. Might bad mouth you, but as long as you choose GPL (instead of MIT or BSD) you are fine. But how dare y
  • Was this response an open letter or from an e-mail interview? I've checked out catb.org and OSI's website and can't seem to find any in depth response from ESR
  • I'm sure this has been discussed to death up until now, but how does open-sourcing an API work?

    If there is a fork, doesn't that present huge problems for the development community?

    And since Java is an interpretted (kind of) language, doesn't that pose a problem with compatibility?

    At least with C, you have the benefit of compiling. With Java, you are compiling to java bytecode, which is still interpretted, and still prone to problems between the forks.

    I guess you kind of experience this problem with shar
    • > If there is a fork, doesn't that present huge problems for the development community?

      Why should it?

      You use a library that implements an API, you use the library. You decide the library's not quite the way you want it, you implement the diffs you require and send them back upstream for potential inclusion; alternatively, you fork it and go.
      And here's the crucial bit: if enough other people think your fork is worthwhile, they'll follow you.

      And why on earth would we want to compile anything statically?
    • by jeif1k (809151) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:20PM (#10931177)
      I'm sure this has been discussed to death up until now, but how does open-sourcing an API work?

      Up to now, very few APIs have been proprietary. Sun has broken new ground by successfully asserting a high level of control over the Java APIs (not just their implementation).

      If there is a fork, doesn't that present huge problems for the development community?

      Languages like C, C++, Fortran, Perl, shell, and Python have all thrived in the absence of the level of control that Sun is trying to exercise. The reason is simple market economics: implementations that don't provide the features that users want disappear on their own.

      Sun is trying to substitute their own interests for the wisdom and preferences of their end users. They are churning out one API after another, but users have no choice but to build on what Sun ships; even if there were alternative implementations, users would still be forced to accept whatever garbage Sun and the JCP dream up.

      At least with C, you have the benefit of compiling. With Java, you are compiling to java bytecode, which is still interpretted, and still prone to problems between the forks.

      Modern C programs have numerous shared library dependencies; Java's byte-code based system would, if anything, be more robust.

      I guess you kind of experience this problem with shared libraries under *NIX, but at least you have the possibility for static compiling. You are stuck with the JRE for Java, no?

      You are only stuck with the JRE for Java because Sun keeps you from having a choice. If Java were an open standard, there would be dozens of different implementations, and those implementations would work out amongst themselves what features were important core features and what features were vendor-specific extensions.
      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:51PM (#10931363) Homepage
        Sun is trying to substitute their own interests for the wisdom and preferences of their end users. They are churning out one API after another, but users have no choice but to build on what Sun ships; even if there were alternative implementations, users would still be forced to accept whatever garbage Sun and the JCP dream up.

        The reason many people don't equate this with Microsoft tactics is that Microsoft hatred is all about protecting the value of guild crafts and nothing about principle. Windows hatred is simply the modern equivalent of the hatred the Cobol and Fortran camps had of C. The future really hurts when it threatens to make your own skills obsolete.

        On Java it was Sun who were being the evil proprietary monopolists. Their objective was to reduce every platform to the level of Solaris, leveling down, not up. Suns approach was "If you dare do anything that I can't I'll sue you."

        Java could have been the future of computing but there is no way that any company, let alone a declining company like Sun can be trusted with the complete control they demand. The chances of Sun ending up in a SCO like position in five years time are significant.

        • Windows hatred is simply the modern equivalent of the hatred the Cobol and Fortran camps had of C. The future really hurts when it threatens to make your own skills obsolete.

          I think the analogy is apt, but backwards. The Cobol/Fortran and C camps had mutual dislike. Cobol/Fortran represented entrenched, well-paid, proprietary interests. It was the analog of Microsoft today. C represented the slightly chaotic, open, non-proprietary alternative, like Linux today. And today, the dislike between Microsof
          • Yes, and that sums it up: people are tired of paying a premium for the Microsoft guild crafts,

            You so completely 'don't get' what the grandparent typed that it's almost overwhelming, trying to figure out what you meant.

            Microsoft is not the 'guild craft' movement. Microsoft is the modern factory, trying to replace the guild craftsmen.

            It's pointless arguing the other points you typed a lot of words about, if you can't get that part. It's almost like you feel 'bad thing' can be interchangably plugged in w
            • [Yes, and that sums it up: people are tired of paying a premium for the Microsoft guild crafts,]

              You so completely 'don't get' what the grandparent typed that it's almost overwhelming, trying to figure out what you meant.


              Irony is not the iron version of goldy, you know.

              To spell it out for you:
              • Yes, Microsoft has a self-image of being "the modern factory", trying to replace a guild of UNIX craftsmen.
              • Microsoft's self-image is completely wrong: their technology is outdated and they have not contributed
      • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:56PM (#10931387) Journal
        You are only stuck with the JRE for Java because Sun keeps you from having a choice. If Java were an open standard, there would be dozens of different implementations, and those implementations would work out amongst themselves what features were important core features and what features were vendor-specific extensions.

        Yeah right! Magical open-source developers will come out of nowhere right?

        If you want open-source Java, and feel serious about helping out, then you have GCJ [gnu.org] and Kaffe [kaffe.org].

        Sun has allowed alternative JVMs for a long time and there are now many other JVMs [java-virtual-machine.net] to choose from.

        You have your opportunity you develop Open-source Java, put your time and money where your mouth is, support Kaffe [kaffe.org] today!

        Or do you just want to freeload off Sun's investement in their JVM?... Even if they already provide it for free.

        • Yeah right! Magical open-source developers will come out of nowhere right?

          If Sun followed through on their original promise and made Java an open standard that anybody can implement, Microsoft would ship Microsoft Java again, IBM would ship the RVM with SWT, and lots more commercial vendors would ship their favorite Java ipmlementations. It's Sun's ownership of the Java standard that keeps that from happening.

          If you want open-source Java, and feel serious about helping out, then you have GCJ and Kaffe.
        • GCJ and Kaffe actually disprove your argument. The fact that there are java compilers and JVMs that are as far along as they are despite having to basically work from scratch demonstrates that if they were able to start from the working sun Java there would be dozens of different implementations, just as the grandparent said.
        • I totally agree. From the JCP FAQ:

          All JSRs will allow for development and distribution of compatible independent implementations.

          So, ummm, what is everyone complaining about? Every single JSR that the JCP works on REQUIRES the ability for people to make compatible independent implementations.... Oh I know, they want to make non-compatible versions like M$ did!
          • So, ummm, what is everyone complaining about? Every single JSR that the JCP works on REQUIRES the ability for people to make compatible independent implementations.... Oh I know, they want to make non-compatible versions like M$ did!

            Yes, exactly. It is the ability to make incompatible implementations that is missing from Java.

            That's a problem for two reasons. First, "compatibility" is determined by Sun, which effectively gives them unilateral control over who gets to implement Java. So, even compatibl
      • Sun is trying to substitute their own interests for the wisdom and preferences of their end users. They are churning out one API after another, but users have no choice but to build on what Sun ships; even if there were alternative implementations, users would still be forced to accept whatever garbage Sun and the JCP dream up.

        Oh, so what you are saying is that you have never actually programmed Java? See, here's is why I can make that assumption.

        If you wish to use JMS, then do so. If you wish to use J
  • Every F/OSS wannabe is diluting the notion of Open Source. And they're getting away with it.
    • The dilution has already occurred. For Stallman, the at-least-supposed father of the movement, software is free because it's moral. For Torvalds, it's free because it works better. For Berkeley, it's free because it helps. Plus a hundred variations in a hundred open source licenses with their own motivations.

      Freedom of speech means letting other people say offensive or blatantly wrong things. Being a supporter of such means you have to support their right to say it no matter how wrong (in almost ever

  • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:17PM (#10931155) Homepage Journal
    I think calling one a cathedral and the other a bazaar really requires that any developer who wants to actually can create code for other people to use, and that they'll use it if it's good.

    There are large barriers to doing that from both the Linux kernel and from Sun. A more bazaar like example is CPAN or sorceforge. Anybody who creates something coherent can have it published there for everyone to use.

    Java and Linux are much more limiting. You can't "hawk your wares" in either case. That said, I don't think this should be absolute...more like a scale. Linux is closer to the bazaar than Java, I think.
    • Maybe the problem is that the people deciding what these terms mean are too close to the problem.

      Doesn't the old-school Public Domain seem more along the lines of the bazaar than ANYTHING either camp has to offer?
  • ESR should respond (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    To those that are bad-mouthing ESR for responding, I think he should since Schwartz used ESR's reference in making his points.

    And Sun doesn't get it completely. I applaud them for everything they have done, but if 'realists' look at whats going on, it seems to me that SUN is in bed with MS and will attempt to push Linux into obscurity if not out-right kill it if it can.

    Maybe a third model can be added called Markets and it would more accurately describe SUN. They want to be the store you come to and you
    • And Sun doesn't get it completely. I applaud them for everything they have done, but if 'realists' look at whats going on, it seems to me that SUN is in bed with MS and will attempt to push Linux into obscurity if not out-right kill it if it can.

      And the Linux community isn't trying to do the same to BSD?

      Glass houses...

    • SUN is in bed with MS and will attempt to push Linux into obscurity if not out-right kill it if it can.

      I don't know about the "in bed" part, but there is some truth in what you say.

      Traditional companies (like Sun, MS, etc.) dread the thought of a mutating enemy like Linux. They are used to competing with each other, and then this Linux thing comes along (with GPL) with no fixed target, no fixed direction, no clear profit motive, etc.

      Only IBM seems to have 'gotten it', and they are embracing Linux (f

  • speaks for the majority of Java developers. Most of us are happy with Sun's stewardship of Java. The platform is solid and feature rich with huge thirparty support. The JCP seems to work albeit slowly. The quality of the specs are very high.

    Most Java developers have no intention of modifying or fixing the VM and are simply happy with the wonderful set of libraries available to them (Open source or otherwise).

    As of 1.4, the quality of the Java VM has been ver good. JDK 1.5 rocks and the platform is alive a
  • Honesty (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shambhu (198415) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:43PM (#10931303)
    Things goes to something that has been bothering me recently. This isn't something that is new, I'm sure it's been around as long as we've had intelligent (hah!) expression. But it seems a bit more prevalent recently. I'm talking about presumably basically honest people being willing to misrepresent something to their (perceived) advantage as long as some loose interpretation of their words can be considered to be true. And by 'some' interpretation, I mean an interpretation other than what they hope the majority of their audience will make.

    I don't know the first thing about Schartz, so maybe he's just a slime ball or maybe he just didn't understand the underlying concepts of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, but this sort of behaviour seems to be considered fair ball play these days. And I think it is something that should be left behind on the playground. Heck, it wasn't that common on most the playgrounds of my childhood, outside of certain particular types of debates (where it was understood that different rules of conduct held sway).

    Am I right? Is there more of this in the public sphere these days? Or is it just the same-old, same-old?

  • by Julian Morrison (5575) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:50PM (#10931353)
    The essence of the bazaar is not voting--a concept I never mentioned in The Cathedral and the Bazaar and don't endorse--but the right to fork.
    Democracy: you get a vote, there's a central point of control which, at the culmination of all the votes, ends up bossing people around, and nobody has a legal alternative. Result: if the democracy screws you over for populist causes, or the central point of control gets corrupted, tough luck. Result also: if you're in a numerical minority, your desires will be met coincidentally if at all.

    Free markets: nobody has a right to vote how you may or may not act with your own stuff - but if they don't like it, they can get their own stuff and do as they please instead, or go to someone else they prefer. Result: egregious misbehaviour causes a "fork" where customers move away. Also result: not only is the majority happy, but also all profitable minority niches of the market are served.

    Not surprising ESR thinks this way considering he's a libertarian and possibly an anarchist :-)
    • You fail to note some of the down-sides of free markets:
      • Short and long-term bottlenecks in technology, labor and distribution lead to monopoly powers
      • Inevitably free markets must interact with governments of various flavors (e.g. in terms of currency and access to resources), and the results are usually detrimental to consumers who do not have a direct voice
      • Free markets tend to emphasize class systems and distributions of wealth that are disproportionate
      • The availability of natural resources, normally
      • In order respectively:

        - A monopoly in a truly free market is only contingent on it remaining the most popular solution with customers. So while it can charge higher prices, it can't charge more than the cost of seeking a better-but-costly or worse-but-tolerable alternative. And a monopoly in a free market is a huge plum waiting to be picked by the first person who can break the monopoly and commoditize the product.

        - Government is not inevitable. Workable pure free-market or volunteer alternatives have be
  • The old "right to fork" argument... So basically, if you don't like what Linus (or whoever) is doing, you can just take the code and roll your own. Well, that works to some extent, but the problem with that is, if you want to contribute to the main Linux tree itself, and Linus doesn't want it in there, you're completely screwed.

    At least with Sun, you stand a chance in getting in on the process, and getting it into the most widely available distribution.

    Not so if Linus doesn't like it.
    • You stand an equal chance in both:

      With Linux, you have to convince the Linux coders.. thats Linus, and Alan Cox, and dozens of others. Linus has changed his mind on "NO!" answers before - several times, very publicly, after being convinced.

      With Sun, you have to convince the Sun committee. The Sun committee has also changed its mind on "NO!" answers before - although they've been 'smaller' issues generally (imho).

      Its pretty much equal on that point.

      The difference is that with Linux, you can take your ide
  • by not_hylas( ) (703994) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @02:39PM (#10932001) Homepage Journal
    Politics of OSS :-)

    FEUDALISM
    You have two cows. Your lord&#160; takes&#160; some of the milk.
    PURE SOCIALISM
    You have two cows. The government&#160; takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone&#160; else&#146;s cows. You have to take care of all the&#160; cows. The government gives you a glass of milk.
    BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM &#160;
    Your cows are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government&#160; took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs the regulations say you should&#160; need.
    FASCISM
    You have two cows. The government&#160; takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells&#160; you the milk.
    PURE COMMUNISM
    You share two cows with your neighbors. You and your neighbors bicker about who has the most &#147;ability&#148; and who has the most &#147;need&#148;.&#160; Meanwhile, no one works, no one gets any milk, and the cows drop dead of starvation.
    RUSSIAN COMMUNISM
    You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the black market.
    PERESTROIKA
    You have two cows. You&#160; have to take care of them, but the Mafia takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell&#160; it on the &#147;free&#148; market.
    CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM
    You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
    DICTATORSHIP&#160;
    You have two cows. The&#160; government takes both and drafts you.
    PURE DEMOCRACY
    You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
    REPRESENTATIVE&#160; DEMOCRACY
    You have two cows.Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;
    BUREAUCRACY
    You&#160; have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then&#160; it pays you not&#160; to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms
    accounting for the missing cows.
    CAPITALISM
    You don&#146;t have any cows.&#160;The bank will not lend you money to buy cows, because you don&#146;t have any cows to put up as collateral.
    PURE ANARCHY
    You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
    ANARCHO-CAPITALISM&#160;
    You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
    SURREALISM&#160;
    You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;
    OLYMPICS-ISM
    You have two cows, one American, one Chinese. With the help of trilling violins&#160; and state of the art montage photography,&#160; John Tesh narrates the moving tale of how the American cow overcame&#160; the agony of growing up in a suburb with (gasp) divorced parents, then&#160; mentions in passing&#160; that the Chinese cow was beaten every day by a tyrannical farmer and watched its parents butchered before its eyes. The American cow&#160; wins the competition, severely spraining an udder in a gritty performance, and gets a multi-million dollar contract to endorse Wheaties. The chinese cow is led out of the arena and shot by Chinese government officials, though no one ever hears about&#160; it. McDonald&#146;s buys the meat and serves it hot and fast at its Beijing restaurant.

    Sun is relying on the SURREALISM model.
  • A better link... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ermenwyr (835015) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @03:55PM (#10932505)
    For people who just want to read ESR's letter without a bunch of unnecessary comments interspersed throughout it: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5961 [oreillynet.com]
  • by sparkz (146432) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @08:43PM (#10934198) Homepage
    Nice spin, Slashdot.
    Sun announce major news - Sun plans patent protection for open-source Solaris and then throw in a dig at ESR for good measure. Ignore the main story - a high-quality Open Source operating system about to enter the market, with an already-gained leading market share - this must mean that - all of a sudden - the majority of servers run an Open Source OS.
    Another pretty damn impressive contribution from Sun (and will presumably promote them from #2 contributor of Open Source software to the #1 global contributor of Open Source)

    So what does slashdot concentrate on? "Ooh, they slagged off ESR - that's our job". It's a bit like schoolkids, who have the attitude of "Don't call my sister a slut ... I can say it, but if you say it you've got a fight on your hands".

    The core of the source article [com.com], which is not mentioned in the headline, is that

    When Sun Microsystems releases Solaris as open-source software, it plans to provide legal protection from patent-infringement suits to outsiders using or developing the operating system--one of several ways Sun hopes to make Solaris more competitive with Linux.
    and
    But open-source developers using Solaris technology need not fear that Sun's patent arsenal will be used against them, Sun President Jonathan Schwartz said. "It is not our intent to say, 'Here is our intellectual property and we'll sue you,'" Schwartz said. Intellectual-property protection of open-source software has moved to the forefront in the computing industry as the result of matters such as the SCO Group's ongoing attack on Linux. That attack involved a now-scrapped charge that IBM stole SCO's Unix trade secrets and used them in Linux, and it still involves a claim that AutoZone's use of Linux violates Unix copyrights. Among the responses has been a Hewlett-Packard indemnification plan against SCO attacks and a warranty from Linux seller Red Hat promising to replace any infringing code.
    The "bazaar" stuff was just a dig at ESR (and don't we all enjoy that?), pointing out that while Linus controls what ends up on kernel.org, the JCP, not Sun, control what ends up in Java. The JCP are elected by Java developers.
    In practice, if Linux used this model, I'm sure that nothing would change as most people seem happy with Linus controlling things. But there are developers who get frustrated when their stuff doesn't get into the main tree, which means that they have to keep maintaining their diff's for years on end, just because Linus doesn't like the patch.
    On the other end of the scale, there are some really poor drivers still in Linux which really do not deserve to be there, but the original author doesn't have to maintain diff's to keep it in the tree.

    That is all a really trivial admin issue, especially when compared to the main one that, to quote the headline, "Sun plans patent protection for open-source Solaris".

    That's BIG NEWS. The "bazaar" quibble is just Schwartz getting a dig in for the fun of it.

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