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GNU is Not Unix

Sun Looks To GPL3 For Java, Solaris 164

Posted by kdawson
from the community-friendly dept.
daria42 writes "Sun is leaning toward changing the license for Java and Solaris to the GNU GPL version 3. The article has some insightful comments from Sun boss Jonathan Schwartz. '"Will we GPL Solaris? We want to ensure we can interact with the GPL community and the Mozilla community and the BSD community," he says.'"
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Sun Looks To GPL3 For Java, Solaris

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  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:46AM (#17980858)
    GPL'ing stuff will make it difficult to "interact" with the BSD and Moz communities, unless by interact they mean "take stuff and put it in Solaris/Java"...
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I wonder when finally FOSS will unite and start doing something TOGETHER instead of fighting some stupid wars about GPLv2 vs GPLv3 and so on?
      You know why businesses win war with Linux? It's not that they have the brightest people around, FOSS has also, they just choose people with some INTERPERSONAL skills so they don't fight all the time.

      This stupid license wars is slowing Linux and FOSS community and serves NO FUCKING PURPOSE!

      The same is about 1 million Linux distros that are sometimes TOTALLY not interop
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pato101 (851725) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:08AM (#17980972) Journal
        This stupid license wars is slowing Linux and FOSS community and serves NO FUCKING PURPOSE!
        You are completely wrong. License is a key feature of FOSS, and provides the developer which is the freedom of her work
        roughly, IMHO,
        BSD: the world has the freedom to do whatever: companies like it- not only to use the code but to provide FOSS modules as well!
        GPL: the user won't loose the freedom to keep using the work made by the programmer.
        Which is better? depends strongly on the programmers intention about the software she is releasing. She has put a lot of effort on that, so she may have an opinion of which is the allowed use of her code.
        Saying it is stupid, is selfish as you seem to be thinking only in the present day with the present apps, which seem you have not developed, have you?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Aladrin (926209)
          "GPL: the user won't loose the freedom to keep using the work made by the programmer."

          Um, no. The work made by the programmer will be available to the user no matter whether the license is BSD or GPL, or many others. Once a version of some code is released open source, it will be there forever.

          The difference between the GPL and BSD is that the GPL ensures that any improvements to the code will be given back to the community. This makes it more restrictive and businesses cannot add code to a GPL'd app tha
          • by pato101 (851725)
            Um, no. The work made by the programmer will be available to the user no matter whether the license is BSD or GPL,
            Sure, but I was thinking about 3rd party derivatives (as you point in your post). Sorry, since I have not said it explicitly (I only used the future sense in my post).
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Calinous (985536)
            "The difference between the GPL and BSD is that the GPL ensures that any improvements to the code will be given back to the community."
            GPL and BSD code are totally free to use.
            BSD is free to redistribute, no problems (well, you should have a copyright notice) - Microsoft used in Windows 2000 a network stack (TCP/IP) derived from the BSD stack.
            GPL is not free to redistribute - unlike BSD, anything containing even a small part of GPL code MUST be redistributed with
          • by drsmithy (35869)

            The difference between the GPL and BSD is that the GPL ensures that any improvements to the code will be given back to the community.

            Basically, the BSDL is about what you want to happen with *your* code. The GPL is what you want to happen with *other people's* code.

            • by Aladrin (926209)
              I was doing my best to refrain from saying anything that harsh. ;) I'm not particularly enamored with the 'freedom' the GPL provides for third-party developers. I didn't see the need to get into that argument, though. Heh.
            • by honkycat (249849)
              While that's kind of true, I don't think that the GPL is as selfish as that sound bite description makes it sound. The GPL is still about what happens to *your* code -- it only imposes its restrictions on *other people* who want to derive their project from *your* code. Basically, the BSD license gives everything away in exchange for credit whereas the GPL gives it away in exchange for access to any distributed derived work. Just because the GPL is not as generous a license as the BSD license doesn't mea
        • Interesting point (Score:5, Interesting)

          by babbling (952366) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:44AM (#17981132)
          I used to think that GPL is the only way to go. I share my code, so why shouldn't others using my code (assuming they distribute software) have to share their modifications to it, as well?

          Well, I've since found one good use for BSD-like licenses. They're good for situations where what you care about the most is that people are using your code. For example, I think some of the Vorbis code was released under BSD so that companies producing proprietary software would add Vorbis support, hopefully leading to widespread adoption of Vorbis.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by cheater512 (783349)
            The vorbis example is a good use of the BSD licence.

            Two bad examples are the BSD network stack and giflib (MIT Licence).
            Both are now in Microsoft Windows with nothing more than a credit line to the original developers buried somewhere.

            Personally all my code will be GPLed.
            • by jrumney (197329)
              I'm not sure how the vorbis example is any different than the network stack or giflib. In any case, the BSD licence explicitly allows inclusion in proprietary software that is its advantage in the eyes of its supporters. The disadvantage is that it has no protection against secret embrace-and-extend modifications.
              • I'm not sure how the vorbis example is any different than the network stack or giflib. In any case, the BSD licence explicitly allows inclusion in proprietary software that is its advantage in the eyes of its supporters. The disadvantage is that it has no protection against secret embrace-and-extend modifications. I'm building a super-cool-music-player.

                It plays all sorts of formats.

                I have been working on it for a long time.

                It really is very good, and a lot of people are going to use it.

                I have no
            • by Tim C (15259) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:33AM (#17981388)
              Both are now in Microsoft Windows with nothing more than a credit line to the original developers buried somewhere.

              So what? Given that a network stack is a fundamental part of a modern operating system, and that poorly written, incompatible and vulnerable network stacks would degrade the entire network for everyone on it, surely it's better that MS used a tried and tested stack rather than going it alone and producing a buggy, not quite compatible version of their own?

              Besides which, it was clearly the intention of the authors in using the licence that it could be used in closed-source products, and MS are complying with the letter and the spirit of the licence; "use it as you see fit, just credit us".
            • Re:Interesting point (Score:4, Interesting)

              by jackharrer (972403) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:36AM (#17981406)
              Best option, IMHO, would be to use GPL with pay-for-business-use clause. All proceedings from this should go to Electronic Frontier Foundation or similar, so they can be nicely used for patents, lawsuits, and so on.

              If business pays for code they buy it from community for their own use, thus code will be released from GPL and free for their use. That would mean licensed for their use. And cash can be used, for example, to pay developers for creating things dull and boring like Exchange connectors (damn important for businesses) and such.

              Just an idea, what do you think?
              • It's never going to happen, but if Sun chose to release the code as public domain, then it would be compatable with *everything*.
              • by ebuck (585470)
                So what would differentiate the EFF from any other business. That they are the "good guys"?

                Why should I write code for them, if it's not for a cause that's more noble than having a open "hobby license" while depriving me of using that code in my workplace? Why would my company allow me to fix code that they have to then pay to use in their products?

                Since most of the open source / GPL licensed code comes from corporate backed programmers (thank you very much RedHat), I think it's biting the hand that feeds
                • You wrote it so you can do anything you want with it.
                  You can allow your company to use it under a separate licence.
              • Best option, IMHO, would be to use GPL with pay-for-business-use clause.

                You can't, because the freedom to use for any purpose is one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the GPL, and in fact all free and open-source software licenses, pretty much by definition.

                You can charge for rights to distribute outside the terms of the GPL, for instance by incorporating into a proprietary software package.

                You also can charge for use of trademarks, or, as in the case of Java, require conformance with various t

            • by drsmithy (35869)

              Both are now in Microsoft Windows with nothing more than a credit line to the original developers buried somewhere.

              You say this like it's a bad thing, why ? It is _precisely_ what the developers intended when they released their code under the BSDL.

              Incidentally, the last release of Windows to have a BSD-derived TCP/IP stack was NT4, way back in 1996 - and the only reason it had a BSD-derived stack was because the company Microsoft bought it from had based it on the BSD reference code (just like pretty m

            • by nuzak (959558)
              > the BSD network stack

              Thank god Linux invented its stack from complete scratch and didn't use a lick of BSD code, eh?

              It's not the zealots that get to me. Just the ignorant ones.
          • Re:Interesting point (Score:4, Informative)

            by jrumney (197329) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:21AM (#17981342) Homepage
            The LGPL covers situations like file formats or codecs that you want become standard even in proprietary software. Using BSD for such a case allows unscrupulous companies to create their own incompatible Vorbis+ codec to lock users into using their own software. LGPL at least ensures that if they use your code to do this, they have to provide the source so that other implementations can provide compatibility.
            • I think this clause causes issues with LGPL for many software devs:

              If you link other code with the library, you must provide complete object files to the recipients, so that they can relink them with the library after making changes to the library and recompiling it.

              Most closed source shops aren't willing (or able) to provide object files. This has pushed many libraries that want wide spread adoption to less restrictive licenses. Or it requires the LGPL'd portion to be a dynamic library instead of a static
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mark-t (151149)

            The biggest problem I find with the BSD license is that derivative works covered under it can end up being rendered non-free.

            For example, say a person puts software X under the BSD license, and then some other person comes along, makes a few changes and additions (perhaps adding in a whiz-bang feature or two, but leaving most of the other code intact), decides to make his derivative work closed-source, and also decides to limit people's freedoms on the work so that they can't further pass on the program

      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Vihai (668734) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:15AM (#17981008) Homepage

        You may think it is the fscking truth, but what you say denotes a complete lack of understanding of the reasons for which FOSS people code. Choosing the license which better represents the programmer will is IMPORTANT. Otherwise we would all put our code in the public domain, which most of us do NOT want.

        License WARS serve no purpose, I agree, but you will likely not see "one license to bind them all".

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by DamonHD (794830)
          I dislike the GNU licences, and won't put my code under them, because of its viral nature which says, in effect, that the FSF's agenda is more important than my work, ***IMHO***.

          I like the BSD licence because it allows commercial organisations to use my work if they want to.

          There's bits of my code in every recent Linux and Solaris release that I've look at, BTW, which saves me porting the code B^>.

          The developer should be free to chose the licence model that they prefer. It's their work.

          Rgds

          Damon
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:27AM (#17981066)
        You lose karma because people believe you are wrong. FOSS is about choice and freedom, and license is one of those choices. You are essentially saying that they are stupid for believing in what they do.

        I'm a huge fan of the BSD license. Nothing says freedom like lack of restrictions.

        But lately, I've begun to see the draw of the GPL license. I've never had an issue with the LGPL, as it does what I think the GPL should: It makes certain that code improvements are returned to the community. The GPL tries to make additional code belong to the community, too, though.

        So you cannot kill this 'license war' without killing the FOSS community, too. They're the same thing.

        If it makes you feel better, you can think of them as GPL and BSD communities instead of a single FOSS community.
        • You lose karma because people believe you are wrong.

          You really shouldn't lose karma just because you have a different opinion. Karma loss should ideally be attributed to posts that abuse the forum system---nothing else. Instead, what is often seen here on slashdot (and other places) is moderation abuse where posts are moderated down just because a moderator disagreed with the post. This widespread moderation abuse is blatant disrespect for a civilized debate or conversation, and should not be accepted by anyone. We all suffer because of it.

          • Well, there's a fine line between disagreeing with most of the people here and flamebait. So I occasionally hold my tongue just to see if it's possible. I almost always have 'excellent' karma, so I'm not real worried about that. Uselessly antagonizing the teeming hoards at Slashdot... Not usually worthwhile.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by aussie_a (778472)

        they just choose people with some INTERPERSONAL skills
        Wow, I'm sorry to hear you don't have a job. Or are these businesses willing to hire dumb people with no interpersonal skills?
      • I wonder when finally FOSS will unite and start doing something TOGETHER instead of fighting some stupid wars about GPLv2 vs GPLv3 and so on?

        I have a lot of sympathy with your complaint. But licenses are essential for the governance and coordination needed for open source contributors to work together. We can't (for the most part) command through hierarchies or provide financial incentives. The license represents the common ground or consensus achieved by constributors; without it, they would be unl

    • by Anonymous Coward
      If BSD community doesn't want people to "take stuff" away from them without contribution, they should stop using the BSD license.
  • by velco (521660) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:11AM (#17980992)
    Seems pretty normal for Sun to not be willing to give away years of hard work, without getting anything back.
  • by anandpur (303114) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:14AM (#17981002)
    CAB/OGB Position Paper # 20070207 version 0.6
    Topic: Should OpenSolaris be dual licensed via CDDL and GPLv3

    http://www.opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?thread ID=23699&tstart=0 [opensolaris.org]
    http://lwn.net/Articles/221543/ [lwn.net]
  • Not too long ago.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:22AM (#17981030)
    Somebody asked linus if he would be willing to put the license for the next kernel up to a vote. His reply was: "Sure, write your own kernel, license it how you want it, and see how many people use it."

    Be careful what you wish for...
    • by bcrowell (177657)

      His reply was: "Sure, write your own kernel, license it how you want it, and see how many people use it."
      We're in a unique and very cool situation now, which is that we have (or will have, very soon) many different choices of open-source kernels:

      1. FreeBSD & Co., under a BSD-style license
      2. Linux, under GPL 2
      3. Solaris, under GPL 3

      So now people who want to do kernel hacking can choose to work on a system with the license that best fits their vision of freedom. They get to choose from anywhere along t

  • "Sun has now asked for our thoughts on moving the Solaris operating system to GPLv3 and what they would need to do to engage the free software developer community. Specifically, they see the advantages of creating a GNU system, utilising the kernel of Solaris."

    Mac OSX tiger has most GNU software - gcc g++ emacs make wget nano.. etc. Does that make it a GNU distribution with mach microkernel?
    • by Alphager (957739)

      Mac OSX tiger has most GNU software - gcc g++ emacs make wget nano.. etc. Does that make it a GNU distribution with mach microkernel?

      The way you put it: no. gcc, emacs, nano, wget also run under windows. It's the usage of the GNU-tools for the basic system functionality that makes a system a GNU-system.
    • by jrumney (197329)
      My definition of a GNU system would be one that used GNU coreutils out of the box. gcc, emacs, wget, nano etc are add-ons above the basic system.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:02AM (#17981226)
    I'd be interested to see if this might result in things like zfs being ported natively to the Linux kernel (rather than the current FUSE-based solution).

    But then... if Sun go for GPLv3, I'm not certain that can coexist within the same kernel as a bunch of GPLv2 code.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kripkenstein (913150)
      I'd be interested to see if this might result in things like zfs being ported natively to the Linux kernel (rather than the current FUSE-based solution).

      Well, based on TFA, that won't happen: :

      Using GPLv3 for Solaris likely would preclude Linux programmers from using Solaris software, and vice-versa. That would make it difficult for Solaris to benefit from hardware support built into Linux, or for Linux to benefit from performance tools built into Solaris.

      And indeed, since Linux will stay GPL2, it can't

      • There's actually quite a lot of code in linux licensed under "GPLv2 or later", so Solaris will be able to benefit from some of the code in Linux, but not view-versa.
        • by bcrowell (177657)
          There's actually quite a lot of code in linux licensed under "GPLv2 or later", so Solaris will be able to benefit from some of the code in Linux, but not view-versa.
          It would be interesting to know how much of that code was stuff that could actually be used in Solaris. It's not going to be very useful if you've got 1000 lines of C code in foo.c, of which 682 lines are "GPL v. 2 or later," and the other 318 are "GPL v. 2." I would imagine that the biggest thing Solaris would have to gain from Linux would be
  • I wonder,

    Now that Java is OpenSource, and that it has bindings to both GTK (as in SWT) and QT (as in Jambi), will we see it on more desktop applications? I'm asking because I feel that Java is a better choice than C#, because of its extensive libraries and frameworks.

    Also, Java is already a major player on the server side, if KDE and Gnome had a better integration with it than Windows... it would be a major push for the adoption of a FOSS Desktop...
    • by Vexorian (959249)
      I hate Java. But I think that for linux it would be a necessary evil. And Sun's efforts to open source it are a winning step towards a huge market.
      The ONLY thing required is that one of the mainstream distros begins to include it by default. I am predicting it would be Fedora or Ubuntu. Then it might change the whole way things work, and yeah, I am talking about the whole you-got-to-compile-software jazz. It scares away normal users, and packages taking ages to get to a new version make users unable to ge
      • by vhogemann (797994)
        Well,

        Actually I enjoy Java quite a bit. Things like SpringFramework, WebWork and Hibernate take a lot of weight from the developer's back, and are very flexible... Java has a really nice environment for Web development.

        Swing on the other hand is a major PITA. But with Java now under a GPL licence, I'm expecting to see more and more native bindings to commom GUI toolkits.

        Not to mention that with full access to the Sun libraries, gcj will probably do a much better job at compiling Java to native code!
    • Only parts of Java has been open sourced yet. The remaining parts will be released in the first quarter of this year they say at Sun. I believe them, but I won't go out dancing in the streets until I have all the code with a nice license on it in my hands.
    • by YoungHack (36385)
      I will consider Java more highly when it is something that comes as part of my distro, i.e. when it is GPL. Personally, I've felt that the thing wrong with Java is the high bar to entry. If you want to give someone your Java program, you've got to make sure they've got a JRE installed. Notice how many projects bundle a JRE with their program---lame.

      If you remove that bar to entry, it makes Java much more palatable.

      BTW, low bar to entry is one of the reasons JavaScript is such a way cooler language than a
      • by vhogemann (797994)

        BTW, low bar to entry is one of the reasons JavaScript is such a way cooler language than anyone ever gives it credit for. Say what you like about its shortcomings; there is an immense benefit to being able to point someone at a URL and they can run your program.


        Yeah,

        That's why I think Java WebStart is a underused feature... As arcane as SWING might be, I find it much more sane than the equivalent complex AJAX code.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sax Maniac (88550)

      Now that Java is OpenSource ... will we see it on more desktop applications?

      I was going to respond to your post with my Java(TM) capable browser. I waited a minute or so for it to start, but the web page was too big and it ran out of memory. So I went and dug out the shortcut and restarted the VM with -Xmx256m of memory. While it was starting up, I fired up Notepad and composed the text into it. Sure enough, this time the page loaded up after a minute or two, so I went to cut and paste it out of Notep

  • My user concerns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:53AM (#17981476) Homepage
    As an end-user, I'm rather interested to see the first Java packages included in Linux distros... well maybe there already is, but not in the distro I use. I want to see an RPM added to the respositories and the horrible GNU/Java implementation removed forever.
  • The dispute really centres over the emotive and overtly political language in which the first ever version of GPLv3 was written. It's not possible to eliminate politics altogether, because software licencing is a political issue; but there's a difference between a manifesto (which sets out your ideals) and a constitution (which seeks to uphold them). As far as the FSF are concerned, (1) not sharing is as bad as stealing, (2) using artificial means to keep somebody from sharing is bad, and (3) own
  • by starseeker (141897) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:26AM (#17981712) Homepage
    when considering GPLv3 for Solaris is to contact the actual authors of key parts of the Linux kernel that they would be interested in incorporating and sound out their willingness to license those parts under v3.

    The Linux kernel as a whole is indeed copyright by many people, some of whom are not keen on GPLv3, but what is critical for Solaris is not the WHOLE kernel but the parts which are in fact better than Solaris. The obvious ones are drivers and file system support, but I imagine there are others as well. The point, however, is that Solaris doesn't NEED all of the Linux kernel code. They could only benefit from a few key parts, and the authors of those parts might be convinced to see things differently than Linus and company.

    If I were Sun, what I would be doing is a) waiting for the final GPLv3 while being very active in the process of developing the license b) quietly contacting key individual authors of parts of the Linux kernel that would benefit Solaris, sounding out their attitude to see how much code would be available if they did make the switch, and c) putting an in-house team on a Linux vs. Solaris evaluation to determine the major lacks of Solaris and how they might be addressed internally, assuming no Linux code will be usable.

    The Free Software Foundation's support is not necessarily a guarantee of OS kernel success (*cough*HURD*cough*) but if all FSF code goes GPLv3 and Solaris follows suit being the new favorite development platform of the GNU toolchain will have to have some benefits.

    I'd say the biggest key for Solaris is "what can GPLv3 do for me?" And the biggest immediate factor there is how many of the current Linux kernel authors with desirable code would be willing to consider accommodating Sun by releasing under GPLv3. If they won't, then the question becomes how many new developers could they attract, and that's a much harder question to answer.
  • Most of the games and software for mobile phones runs on JavaME. To protect software there are DRM features but surely if Java goes GPLv3 support for these DRM functions will have to cease.
  • It seems to me that by far the largest benefit to Sun from GPL'ing Solaris would be to gain the ability to import driver code from Linux. They can't do that since Linux is forced to stay at version 2 because of its lack of an "or later" clause or a clear owner.
    • I would imagine that straight ports from one to the other are difficult enough without licensing issues, so I doubt that's a major issue for Sun.

      A few years ago, Sun bought the right to relicense, royalty free, all the drivers in SCO Unix. As a result, they already have a well established base of drivers. And if they need to "look over the shoulder" of another operating system to see how to build support for a driver they have missed, all three *BSDs are extremely well supported in hardware terms, often

  • by javilon (99157)
    If Sun changes Java's license to GPL3, will Novell be able to distribute java?
  • Using GPLv3 for Solaris likely would preclude Linux programmers from using Solaris software, and vice-versa.

    Is there any evidence that GPLv3 and GPLv2 licenses are going to be incompatible with one another? I don't see any reason why they should be. In the worst case, GPLv3 might contain an exception, or Sun could easily choose a GPLv3 licenses with a v2 exception.
  • It looks to me like Sun is going for an open source license, but not actually an open source project. What I mean by that is that, while the code is published under the GPLv3, Sun retains special commercial licensing rights to the codebase.

    What are the consequences? First of all, they have a special commercial interest in the codebase, they have an interest in making sure that others can't use the codebase commercially, and they can set the future direction for Java in ways that's in accordance with their
  • Sun should have gotten rid of McNealy 5 years ago. I suspect that had they done so, Java would be the only language to use on the net and .nyet would simply be a memory. McNealy has made enemies of the very ppl that were buying his products.
  • A distribution of GNU utilising the kernel of Solaris would certainly receive at least as much support (from the FSF) as GNU with the kernel Linux," [FSF Executive Director Peter] Brown said.

    What an amazing vision of the future^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hlast October [wikipedia.org].
  • Please cease and desist engaging in blatantly populist, prostitutional behaviour. It is deeply unbecoming, and reveals that as a company, you are largely devoid of self-respect.

    More seriously, I wish people in general would stop trying to curry favour with the FSF and the associated cultists. Apart from anything else, it causes the FSF and said supporting cultists to continue to hold the unfortunate delusion that they're actually important, when the reality is that people generally do it merely in order t
    • by Almahtar (991773)
      Yeah, because Hitler was all about freedom, right?

      You're clearly very delusional. Take very much medication, ok?
  • The Blu-Ray format uses Java as an integral part of the DRM scheme, if I remember correctly. Given the restrictions in GPL3 against this sort of thing, does it then mean the Blu-Ray format is doomed from incompatible licensing?

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