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Sun Microsystems GNU is Not Unix

Sun Submits New License for Open Source Approval 218

Wannabe Code Monkey writes "Sun has submitted their Common Development and Distribution License to the Open Source Initiative for approval as an Open Source license. It appears that this license is what Sun plans to release Solaris under according to an article at news.com.com.com. Of particular note is: 'The CDDL is not expected to be compatible with the GPL, since it contains requirements that are not in the GPL,' Claire Giordano of Sun's CDDL team said in its submission."
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Sun Submits New License for Open Source Approval

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  • ns (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    news.com.com.com? are you sure it isn't news.com.com.com.com.com.com.com.com.com.com.com.c om.com.com.com.com.com?
  • first post? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nalez ( 556446 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @02:49PM (#10997077) Homepage
    I am glad to see sun going in to an open source direction, but how long will it last this time?

    When Solaris 8 source was released, it was not exaclty open source, and did not last long at all.
    • Re:first post? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by canuck57 ( 662392 )

      I am glad to see sun going in to an open source direction, but how long will it last this time?

      When Solaris 8 source was released, it was not exaclty open source, and did not last long at all.

      Part of the problem is also the compiler. I think it was a big mistake when UNIX vendors unbundled the compiler from their distributions. Half of the Linux success is based on having a fully configured development environment right out of the box.

      Some how I don't think Solaris 10 compiles with gcc and since

      • Re:first post? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        > Some how I don't think Solaris 10 compiles with gcc


        Actually, the 64 bit kernel and libraries for Solaris 10 AMD64 are compiled with a modified version of gcc3.4.3 - which is shipped with Solaris 10 (on both sparc and x86).


        - Bart
    • Re:first post? (Score:4, Informative)

      by miu ( 626917 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:39PM (#10997327) Homepage Journal
      I don't understand why you were 'offtopic' on that, but whatever.

      I agree that Sun is schizophrenic wrt open source - one minute they love it, the next it is stealing jobs or doomed to fail or whatever. Also, I remember to get ahold of the solaris 8 source you had to sign a contract and couldn't do anything other than look at the code - no local changes, certainly no distribution or discussion with anyone (even within my company) who had not signed the contract. I wound checking their libc source a couple times to verify 2.6/2.8 compatibility of some software and that is about it. That license made it nearly useless.

    • by Alan Cox ( 27532 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @07:06PM (#10998398) Homepage
      If Sun are going open source then tell me why they've changed the MPL so they can include third party patented material without telling you (See the section 3 changes) and which you would have no rights to.

      The MPL requires that anyone using third party patented material declares it so that you know if its contaminated and non-free as a contributed. The Sun license allows them to slip anything the like into the code then smile as a third party sues people for their contribution.

      In general the changes are mundane (Software for Code etc) or in some cases quite sensible - legal jurisdiction, simplifying the definition of creator, but that one change is quite evil on first reading
      • about sun. Sometimes (like OOo) it feels that they are our best friends. Other times, (like the MS+SCO thing) it feels like they are like the bad old days of IBM. I think we should wait and see though. They, like any big organization have lots of internal politics. (Look at what anders has engineered over at MS for an example). Still, I'm willing (despite a rather nasty paranoid post i made about solaris 10 here previously) to give them some time. Let's see if they really understand OSS. I sure hope so. I'
  • Why should they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tuxlove ( 316502 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @02:50PM (#10997079)
    The implication here is that there's something bad about them not wanting to GPL their source. Why should they? Simply making it open source of some kind seems good enough. That way we get to see it and potentially modify it for our own benefit. Not having read their proposed license, I'm assuming it won't allow anyone to resell the code. And why should they? It's their family jewels, and I see no reason they should allow competitors to take it and run.
    • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Saturday December 04, 2004 @02:54PM (#10997104) Homepage Journal
      What is bad is the additional restrictions. And if you cannot freely reditribute your modifications to others, I -for one- question how "open" such source is.

      I mean, microsoft's "shared source" is "open source of some sort", but the restrictions on that license make it essentially worthless.
      • What is bad is the additional restrictions. And if you cannot freely reditribute your modifications to others, I -for one- question how "open" such source is.

        Isn't that one of the argument points between "Open Source" and "Free"?
        • Re:Why should they? (Score:3, Informative)

          by zerblat ( 785 )
          Nope. There is no real difference between Open Source Software and Free Software. The Open Source Definition [opensource.org] is basically a fork of the Debian Free Software Guidelines [debian.org]. Sure, the OSS and FS people may have different views of why software should be free, and sometimes the OSI, FSF, Debian and other people differ on whether a particular license is free enough, but "Free Software" and "Open Source Software" are (more or less) synonymous.
          • Indeed, yes.
            -russ
          • Re:Why should they? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Piquan ( 49943 )

            I can't speak for bersl2, but I think you may have mistaken his point.

            When Stallman originated (ie, named) the Free Software movement in '84, he did it for political reasons. Later, ESR and others said that if people want this stuff to be accepted in corporate society, they need to focus on practical and not political ideals. Political statements make suits nervous. (If you were on slashdot, certain Usenet groups, etc in '98 or so, you saw the discussions.)

            One big sticking point was the name. "Free so

      • Re:Why should they? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:02PM (#10997149) Homepage
        From what I read of it, you can distribute modified versions, but the must be under the same licence, much like what the GPL requires.

        The main difference from what I see is that if you claim that the software infringes one of your patents, you lose you rights to use or distribute the software unless you agree to pay royalties to the author of the software. That sounds like a good thing to me.
        • Is that similar to Apache 2.0 license's patent clauses? Wonder why they don't just use ASL 2.0, if so.
          • TThe Apache License fights patents with patents, whereas from the parent poster, I assume that they are using copyright to fight patents.

            The Apache License says that you can't use any patents (if they exist) which the Apache source code uses, if you sue them on patent infringement. You can still use the software if no patents are used.

      • by PigleT ( 28894 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:13PM (#10997206) Homepage
        The only "additional restrictions" I can see are that the license includes talk about patents. I can't say that's altogether appealing.

        > And if you cannot freely reditribute your modifications to others, I -for one- question how "open" such source is.

        What has this to do with the CDDL at http://www.sun.com/cddl/cddl.html ? Perhaps you should actually read it, especially section 2.2a.

        You don't have to question how open it is, go check the OSD at http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php.
        • Re:Why should they? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:29PM (#10997287)
          GPLv3 should also talk about patents, and the current Apache license already does. Do you find that just as unappealing, or are you just reaching for something to dislike about it.
          • "GPLv3 should also talk about patents"
            Has this (GPLv3) been released? (I have not been paying attention to the new GPL since I assume(d) a new release would be followed by lots of publicity.)
            If yes, then what does it say about patents?
            If no, then how do you know what it will say? Are you saying that if the new Sun license and the GPLv3 both include the word "patent", then they are "ethically" or "morally" equivalent?
          • Re:Why should they? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by PigleT ( 28894 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @08:36PM (#10998830) Homepage
            I prefer my licenses not to touch on the issues of patents; I really object to them talking about US crypto export regulations as well. These things are not license clauses in my view, they are extra legalities - see the clauses about "if parts of this license are unenforceable".

            There is copyright, there are licenses, there are patents, there are export laws. Let them all be separate, don't conflate them.

            But that's mostly my own taste, apart from this quote from opensource.org:
            Some countries, including the United States, have export restrictions for certain types of software. An OSD-conformant license may warn licensees of applicable restrictions and remind them that they are obliged to obey the law; however, it may not incorporate such restrictions itself.


            HTH,

      • by Doomdark ( 136619 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:28PM (#10997279) Homepage Journal
        And if you cannot freely reditribute your modifications to others, I -for one- question how "open" such source is.

        D'oh. Did you read the summary? If Sun is submitting the license to folks who 'certify' Open Source licenses, they clearly have intention to get it through... which means that distributability does exist, similar to other approved licenses (Apache, GPL, BSD, MIT etc). Why would they otherwise waste their time, if it didn't look and smell like an actual Open Source license?

        Now, also keep in mind that many people consider GPL to NOT allow one to "freely distribute" modifications, since it does add restrictions under which distribution is allowed. At least if "freely" means in whatever shape or form. Most licenses (even Free and Open Source ones) restrict (re/sub-)licensing in some way.

      • What is bad is the additional restrictions. And if you cannot freely reditribute your modifications to others, I -for one- question how "open" such source is.

        What's to prevent you from distributing a set of patches? After all, that's basically how BSD got started - before 4.4BSD, you needed an AT&T license to legally run BSD.

        Sun's move follows what RMS wanted from "free software" before the advent of the GPL - the ability to go in and fix broken code.

        OTOH, it probably would be a bad idea for Linux o

      • Wow. A heart-felt statement from someone that's not even remotely informed.

        Section 2.2: "Conditioned upon Your compliance with Section 3.1 below and subject to third party intellectual property claims, each Contributor hereby grants You a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license"

        Wow. Instead of stopping you from distributing it, they actually explicitly say you can.

        Go away.
        • The rudeness is uncalled for, particularly since your quote does not address the ability to sell modified versions of the sun source (something one can do with GNU, obviously) and, in fact, does not even state that what manner of license you're granted!

          There is nothing even remotely resembling an explicit statement allowing redistribution in the quotation you cite there, so pack up your bitchy little tude and fuck off back to the bog you crawled out of.

          Thank You.
      • In Microsoft's case, I don't think the biggest complaint is that people can't make modifications to the system's source code. It's more about not knowing what sort of things are provided by the system in the form of *complete* APIs and such.
    • I agree with the premise of your comment, however if that were the only reason to go for a different type of lincese, then why go bother going open source at all ? Perhaps someone with a better insight into the company can tell us what Sun is really trying to do.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Perhaps someone with a better insight into the company can tell us what Sun is really trying to do

        My best guess: they want to have their cake and eat it too, by attempting to connive people into contributing to their effectively proprietary codebase. They also certainly want to eliminate the possibility that features that distinguish Sun's OS, like their new filesystem, don't end up in Linux. Could they be enticing the BSD kernels to absorb them?

        What happens if Sun's cool features (they do have some ne
        • They also certainly want to eliminate the possibility that features that distinguish Sun's OS, like their new filesystem, don't end up in Linux. Could they be enticing the BSD kernels to absorb them?

          If their license was compatible with the BSDL then it would be compatible with the GPL too.
    • by some_schmuck ( 313126 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:05PM (#10997165)
      And why should they? It's their family jewels...

      Man, I sure hope you meant crown jewels ....

    • The implication here is that there's something bad about them not wanting to GPL their source.

      Yes, there is something "bad" about it. It's not "bad" as in "badly behaved" or "bad dog" or "bad person", it's "bad" as in "bad idea" or "bad legal advice" or "bad business".

      Why should they?

      Because, presumably, they are open sourcing it in order to achieve something. If they pick a license that doesn't satisfy potential users, then they aren't going to achieve that goal.

      Not having read their proposed lic
    • by andrel ( 85594 ) <andrel@yahoo.com> on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:27PM (#10997272) Journal
      Sun would gain access to Linux's device drivers if they chose to use the GPL. MS Windows and Linux are the only kernels with extensive hardware support; if you can't piggyback on at least one of those two sets of drivers, there is a very large class of hardware you don't run on. Sun don't have the manpower to rewrite all those drivers.

      Given that Slowaris x86's biggest weakness is hardware support, yeah there is something bad about Sun not choosing the GPL. But it is bad for Sun and their users, not those of us already in the GNU/Linux camp.
      • by AusG4 ( 651867 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:43PM (#10997346) Homepage Journal
        Not really.

        Porting device drivers isn't just a recompile, of course. There is sufficient work involved in using the Linux device drivers with the Solaris kernel that the idea, even if considered by Sun, was never really a deciding factor.

        That said, Solaris 9's hardware support is, while not extensive as Linux, pretty good. People forget that most uses of Solaris are obviously in the server space, and in systems like I that I don't usually use the crappy "local computer store" hardware that Linux so ably supports. When you consider what you already want to build your server with given the application, Solaris tends to support that hardware fairly well.

        We just built a dual opteron server with a SCSI RAID controller.. all fairly new and bleeding edge hardware. Solaris 9 installs just fine and supports all the hardware properly.

        That said, do I really care that it doesn't support the $35 AC97 based sound card I have in a box somewhere in my storage closet?

        No... and neither do the vast majority of Solaris users.
        • Re:Why should they? (Score:3, Informative)

          by andrel ( 85594 )
          As you say, the majority of Solaris users don't care. Those of us who do care about good support for cheap hardware have already left Sun and are using GNU/Linux. We're the reason that Sun has been hemorrhaging market share.

          Sun like to talk about how Solaris scales up to big iron. But scalability goes both ways. Linux has been so successful because it doesn't just scale up to the high end, it also scales down to the low end. At work we use Linux across our cheap old desktops, our beefy servers, and our
          • I think the entire Sparc line hardware has to go. Sun is wasting so much time with their own architecture. Why?!

            The next time someone brags about a sun box being able to pull RAM chips out while online, I am just going to say a cluster allows me to bring the whole thing down. Not to mention the sun hardware that allows me to pull RAM out probably cost $20,000.

          • Then again, of course, Sun sell dual Opteron servers with RAID controllers. I'd be very surprised if Solaris didn't support them.

            Try running Solaris x86 on desktop machines, you'll find the hardware support drops off very rapdily. Then again, this often isn't a problem as Solaris is used as a server OS. Like you said, soundcard support for Solaris isn't a problem!
    • Re:Why should they? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by billybob2 ( 755512 )
      The fact that Sun does not want to allow a kick-ass hybrid Solaris/Linux to exist shows that they don't want to help the community build a free and powerful operating system that could easily take over the desktop market share from M$. Solaris could really get a boost from the hardware compatibility and user-friendliness that Linux offers, while Linux could also take advantage from Solaris's rock-hard internals. In my opinion this is just another half-hearted measure that won't attract any more developers t
    • I didn't read the legal speak and admittingly couldn't understand it if I did. But if I can't download the source, recompile it and sell it as qwertyx 11 then I'll stick with the GPL or more specifically Sun's competition, Red Hat.

      If a company can just take my code and throw it into their router, not submitting changes then that is also grounds for my rejection of its use.
      Not saying this is the CDDL just that those two points are the main things I care about and any money or time I put in has to have tho
    • The implication here is that there's something bad about them not wanting to GPL their source.

      Is there? Claire Giordano of Sun's CDDL team said , in the submission, that it was of particular note that the license is not expected to be compatible with the GPL, and you think she meant to imply there was something wrong with that? Doesn't seem too likely. If she thinks it's noteworthy then is it really unreasonable for other to comment on it too?

      I'm assuming it won't allow anyone to resell the code.

      From
    • Basically if you make your software Open Source, a bunch of nuts will complain that it's not Free Software. I bet if it was Free Software some other group would complain about something else. I would take the complaints of a radical minority with a grain of salt.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @02:51PM (#10997084)
    ...if the license doesn't follow BSD or GPL methodology. Most of the UN*X geeks that I know (including myself) subscribe to one or the other established licenses either because we want our work to be out there for the benefit of everyone, even if it is used in commercial applications and closed (BSD) or because we want it out there and we want it to remain out there because it was hard work, and not be closed (GPL). I don't see any other positions really available to coders who don't want their code to be rendered unavailable to the public at large.
    • Look at the linked page. It's based heavily on the MPL, so it isn't really _new_. It's just got CYA modifications in it.
    • I think the license will be quite similar to IBM's Common Public License which is proving quite popular (think Eclipse).
    • by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:05PM (#10997164) Homepage
      disclosure: I work for Sun.

      counter-disclosure: I read about this [supercat.org] on CNet, just like everyone else, and I don't know any more about this than is available at Sun's CDDL site [sun.com]. Also, I don't really work anywhere near the Solaris group.

      The CDDL is just a refinement of the MPL-- and I've read the redline diffs, and there doesn't seem to be anything sinister or extra-restrictive about the changes.

      The MPL is nice, in that it is propagative but not viral. That is, if you distribute a modified binary you have to distribute the source for your modifications, but you can use MPL-licensed code in a larger project without any effect at all on the license of the larger project.

      The only reason GPL compatibility is even an issue is that there was some hope that Solaris code could be picked up and used in Linux-- which I really think was pretty optimistic. Techniques learned from the Solaris source may be transferrable, though, and I think still will be as long as the Solaris source is truly open.

      • Why doesn't sun want the code from solaris transfered to linux? That's a serious question because it seems to me if you don't want linux (or freebsd) to benefit from solaris code why did you open source it in the first place. The answer is probably something like "because we want people to code for solaris without getting paid".

        I have onether question.

        Recently MS and Sun signed an IP cross licensing deal. Presumably this means that both MS and SUN are in a position to sue people for patent infringement.

        H
        • "Why doesn't sun want the code from solaris transfered to linux?"

          Linux is the competition.

          "That's a serious question because it seems to me if you don't want linux (or freebsd) to benefit from solaris code why did you open source it in the first place. The answer is probably something like "because we want people to code for solaris without getting paid"."

          Linux kernel code is virtually never used outside of the Linux kernel. *BSD can't use it, for example, and interviews with developers have indicated th
        • by kscguru ( 551278 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @07:21PM (#10998456)
          Why doesn't sun want the code from solaris transfered to linux?

          Sun's not afriad of that ... Sun's afraid of the other direction not working. For example... say Solaris has whiz-bang feature A. Some eager developer ports A to Linux. Some better developer makes A v1.1, with some bug fixes and interesting new features. Everyone decides A v1.1 is really cool... except Sun, which can't bring the code back into Solaris because it's GPL and OpenSolaris isn't.

          Basically, it's a license that permits redistribution, but always permits Sun to fold back code changes into a proprietary Solaris product. Kinda like StarOffice & OpenOffice...

      • What Sun probably did not do, was triple license for compatibility, as Mozilla did (you can use alternative licenses of GPL or LGPL if you choose). This makes the work much less useful to outsiders who are not part of the Sun mainstream.

        Admittedly this weakens the terms, but it shows much greater goodwill as opposed to code that cannot be easily incorporated in GPLed works in spite of the GPL code that keeps showing up in proximity to Solaris.

        In fairness, Linux is also not triple licensed to serve Solari

        • What Sun probably did not do, was triple license for compatibility, as Mozilla did (you can use alternative licenses of GPL or LGPL if you choose). This makes the work much less useful to outsiders who are not part of the Sun mainstream.

          OpenOffice.org is Dual SISSL/LGPL.

          I wouldn't doubt solaris being the same.
    • Ability to fix problems... One of the things I see mentioned all the time as a benefit of open source is the ability to fix bugs, or implement features that you need. As long as that's allowed, that's enough to make Solaris at least compete favorably against the other commercial 'NIXes from the point of view of a fan of open source.
    • Help, I'm not a lawyer. What makes this license not GPL compatible?
      • The CDDL holds that anyone redistributing CDDL-licensed software cannot assert a patent claim against any other contributor to that software without breaching the license and forfeiting his ability to redistribute the software.

        This constitues a "further restriction" on the recipient of the software beyond the restrictions set forth by the GPL, and is thus incompatible with section 6 of the GPL.

        These sorts of patent amnesty clauses are generally considered a Good Thing, and are common in many newer open so
    • by Dink Paisy ( 823325 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:28PM (#10997275) Homepage
      My initial thought is that Sun would want two things that would make the GPL unsuitable. First, they would want the ability to distribute binaries containing both community contributions and proprietary bits that they may not be unwilling or unable to distribute. Second, they would want the anti-submarine warfare patent protection stuff, similar to what IBM put in the CPL.

      Actually looking at the license, I see that it is based on the Mozilla license (MPL), which addresses the two issues I noted. Sun's changes remove the part about being covered by a future version of the license, and remove some notice requirements and clarify a few things that are unclear or poorly stated in the original MPL.

      The license may well be GPL 3 compatible, since Stallman has made noises about wanting to clear up the patent protection stuff. You'd really need to get a lawyer's opinon on that, though, after the GPL 3 has been released.

      • The license may well be GPL 3 compatible, since Stallman has made noises about wanting to clear up the patent protection stuff.

        That would be nice, but I wouldn't bet on it. The number one requirement for GPL 3 is/was (I think) that it be compatible with GPL 2. And since FSF has said that current patent clauses in other Open Source licenses make them GPL (2) incompatible, there seems to be a problem?

        However, I hope I'm wrong, and GPL 3 would be more compatible with other commonly used OS licenses.

  • Yet another? (Score:4, Informative)

    by upside ( 574799 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @02:51PM (#10997088) Journal
    Aren't there enough licences to pick from [freshmeat.net]? Apparently not.
    • Re:Yet another? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh ( 229690 )
      It's a not-particularly-heavily-modified version of the MPL.

      It seems not, because they presumably had to modify it to include the fact that the license grant is "subject to third party intellectual property claims".

      Which probably makes it next to useless, as I believe Solaris is based on Sys V code, which means that those 3rd party rights might belong to either SCO or Novell, it's tricky to tell which at this stage.
      • You make a very good point that is important because unlike the BSD and GPL licences, the MPL actually cares about patents and with the current litigation, getting patent indemnification and other patent-related clauses into the license is as important as ever.
  • by Metteyya ( 790458 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @02:52PM (#10997094)
    A kiss - because they're still trying to somehow connect their business with Open Source movement. They're making new license for every product they release to the Community, but none of these licenses is compatible with GPL. Which is OK for me, I'm not a religious fanatic, I just want my software to be free (as in beer) and usable - and Sun's product's I'm using are free (as in beer), regardless of what you might say.

    A kick - because they still prefer business. Novell and Mandrake can somehow make it with GPL - maybe Sun should also try?
    • "A kick - because they still prefer business."

      Those savages!
    • The GPL is out-dated (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Enucite ( 10192 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:25PM (#10997253)
      No one in their right mind would start a new project using the GPL. The GPL doesn't provide patent protection. With all the patent litigation lately it would reflect poorly on Sun to kick off such a large project using an outdated license that doesn't cover the legal issues developers face today.

      Most new OSI-approved licenses seem to cover patents in some form. There's even talk about a new version [eweek.com] of the GPL that will, but as of now there's nothing.

      Using the GPL would have earned them a kick in my book.

      Of course, if you (or anyone else here for that matter) are complaining without actually knowing the rationale behind the license, you should go take a look at Sun's detailed description [sun.com] of the license.
      • No one in their right mind would start a new project with this patent-apocalypse clause. With all the patent litigation lately it would reflect poorly on Sun to kick off such a large project using a poorly considered license that doesn't cover the legal issues developers face today.

        Most new OSI-approved licenses seem to be ill-considered.

        Of course, if you (or anyone else here for that matter) are complaining without actually knowing the implications of this license, you should consider the number of peopl
    • let's do neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:37PM (#10997324)
      Sun isn't a person. They are neither nice nor naughty. They make cold, calculating decisions based on the business environment and based on maximizing profit. That's why they have released OpenOffice and are releasing Solaris under a FOSS license, and why they are not releasing Java under a FOSS license. That's all. Don't believe marketing hype that tries to make you look at any company as a person.
      • But then how will we justify our irrational love/hatred of corporate entities? And how will we be able to post about how such-and-such company used to be cool but is now definitely evil? Surely you're not suggesting arguments based on fact instead of raw emotion?
      • Absolutely. And tommorow when the business climate changes they will make abrupt changes in attitude. They will go back on every word they have said today. Just because they act kind of nice today doesn't mean they will do so tommorow.

        Companies are not bound by ethics, in fact acting ethically can get a company sued by it's shareholders if it results in less profits.

        Today Sun is thinking about opening up solaris, tommorow they could file a lawsuit against everybody who read the source code and then worked
        • Today Sun is thinking about opening up solaris, tommorow they could file a lawsuit against everybody who read the source code and then worked for another project.

          I think it all comes down to licenses. Licenses like the SCL are unacceptable and open you up to lawsuits, so one shouldn't even download SCL'ed code. Licenses like the GPL are as well-tested as any license in this industry, so even when Sun or Microsoft release something under it, it's probably OK (with some precautions like documenting the re
      • Don't believe marketing hype that tries to make you look at any company as a person.

        I agree, but would add "Also don't believe any legal fictions that tries to give corporations legal personhood."

      • Um, companies share more human characteristics than you seem to be implying.

        Sure companies have their self interest at heart, so do people, do you mail 2/3 of your meals to africa? I think not, they need to remain profitable or they won't be around to do good deeds.

        For large companies money isn't really an objective, they simply want to continue pursuing research for the good of the public.

        Open office I can't see as being profitable except by breaking the .doc stranglehold and therefore saving them mo
    • A kick - because they still prefer business. Novell and Mandrake can somehow make it with GPL - maybe Sun should also try?


      Does Sun make more from software or hardware? Last I checked, they are still a major - and successful - hardware vendor, complete with service contracts, etc.
  • by happyemoticon ( 543015 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:03PM (#10997153) Homepage
    6.2. If You assert a patent infringement claim . . . alleging that the Participant Software . . . directly or indirectly infringes any patent, then any and all rights granted directly or indirectly by such Participant to You under Sections 2.1 and/or 2.2 of this License shall, upon 60 days notice from Participant terminate prospectively . . .

    Well, that makes me happy. It seems to say that if you hold the Sun license, you can't patent-shakedown anybody in the Sun community. I'll buy that; getting this kind of license adopted by many people is probably the only way to end the horror. I'd be interested to see whether Microsoft gets all ornery about this license.

    Of course, I'm also interested to see how much I'll get flamed by even implying support for a license besides the GNU GPL.

    • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:06PM (#10997173)
      If memory serves, there has been an official FSF statement that while this kind of term is GPL-incompatible, they think it is good, and will likely include similar terms in a future version of the GPL.
      • Yes I think they are still ironing out issues relating to a patent related clause in the next version of the GPL.

        The IBM public license is another example of a license that is incompatible with the GPL because it tries to protect against patent claims.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm still not sure about this key question:

    Is it now possible to put Sun's funky new filesystem straight into Linux, or does someone have to rewrite it?

    When they say not-GPL-compatible, I assume no, but I'd like someone with a better grasp of this to confirm it.
  • I don't see why couldn't go with one of the existing licenses: surely, among BSD, GPL, LGPL, MPL, CPL, and all the other already approved licenses, they could have found something. Based on Sun's history and relationship with open source, I would wait for a careful review: it is quite possible that Sun is trying to slip something in there.

    (Of course, the license is only on Solaris, so it doesn't really matter that much anyway. If Sun used this for Java, it would matter more.)
  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:16PM (#10997218)
    A PDF showing the difference [sun.com] between MPL and CDDL.

    A summary of the changes [sun.com], including why they felt the MPL didn't give them entirely what they wanted - they make it clear that they didn't want to create yet another license.

    A details description of the differences [sun.com].

    In their submission [crynwr.com] they also say:
    The CDDL is similar to the MPL and its derivative licenses (CPL, SPL, etc.) in terms of combination with software distributed under other licenses. As with the MPL, files made available under the CDDL can be linked together with files made available under another license, as long as the other license does not prevent such linkage. This means that (for example)
    files licensed under the CDDL can be linked together with files licensed under the MPL, SPL, CPL (or other licenses that allow files under different licenses to be linked together) as well as with code released under "academic" licenses such as BSD, AFL, Apache, and X11. In addition, source code licensed under the CDDL can be combined in the same file with code licensed under an academic license, as long as the resulting source file is distributed under the CDDL.
  • They've got alot invested in Solaris, which also drives their hardware and service markets, and wouldnt want to give it all up. It seems they're just opensourcing Solaris, as in people can look at the source. Cant copy the sources elsewhere (Linux or BSD), cant resell it, cant redistribute altered binaries, and I'm not sure if anyone can redistribute altered Solaris even with the sources.

    As for taking improvements to Linux, I wonder if Linux can be forked into a more restrictive License, which doesnt go ag
    • by vivian ( 156520 )
      I wonder if Linux can be forked into a more restrictive License, which doesnt go against the GPL. That way Solaris source blocks can be moved to Linux if its even worth that much.

      In a word: No.
      Anything that imposed additional conditions to the GPL (which any forked version is still covered by) would violate the licence. In order to be able to mix GNU/Linux code with Solaris code, according to the Solaris licence the code has to be non-redistributable, but according to the GPL, GNU/Linux must be freely dis
    • "As for taking improvements to Linux, I wonder if Linux can be forked into a more restrictive License, which doesnt go against the GPL."

      Only if every single contributor agrees. In other words no.
  • by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:40PM (#10997332) Homepage Journal
    Initial Developers grant You the the right to use, modify and sell ("under Patent claims infringed", whatever that means) their software.

    Contributors (who modify the Initial Developer's code) grant You the same rights. This applies to the whole work with modifications, or just the modifications themselves.

    You must provide the License text when you distribute Your software, including the modifications. If you distribute executable code, You must make the source code available.

    All code remains under this version of the license. You (essentially) can't modify the license. Sun could revise the license, but it isn't retroactive unless specified.

    You can include softare with this License in a "Larger Work" that's under a different license, as long as doing so doesn't break this license.

    No Warranty, Limitation of Liability, jurisdiction, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2004 @03:51PM (#10997375)
    This is a good license. In terms of what it tries to do, it seems to be on the level of the LGPL. Whether you consider that to offer you adequate protections for your code is up to you. That's why you get to decide how your code is licenced.

    Of course, the big difference is that Sun's licence goes beyond a simple copyright licence (like the GPL and LGPL). Sun's license is a contract. There are pros and cons of both. A copyright license cannot offer patent licencing. Here, Sun is giving you the rights to use the software even if it infringes on some of their patents. Now, it would seem obvious that if someone opensourced software they owned that used a patent they owned that they were letting you use that patent without royalties, but that isn't the case (legally). A company could GPL-licence software that used a patent they owned and then sue users and distributers later for infringing on that patent. It would be a terrible, but legal, thing to do.

    The downside to it being a contract is that contract law varies GREATLY from country to country. This is why the FSF has tried to keep the GPL/LGPL tied to copyright law only. Copyrights, while they vary between countries, don't vary as much as contracts do. This means that there could be legal complications based on geography.

    Even Linus Torvalds says that the GPL isn't a perfect license. In my work, I know that it isn't since I develop web scripts which, if GPL-licenced, would allow people to build amazing capabilities into it and never share the source they used for their site. GPL-incompatible doesn't mean bad. In fact, it can be good. The Affero licence (which is the GPL plus a provision that if you use it to power your site you have to offer that code to visitors of the site - since one might make cool modifications to power a site and then never actually distribute it).

    The GPL is a great licence, but it isn't perfect. Right now, the GPL 3 is being written and if it is written to include things like patent grants and such, it would be compatible with this licence. Most people, including me, had hoped that this would be a big present for the Linux community and so there is a lot of disappointment at a GPL-incompatible license. That is to be expected. It would have been great if it were GPL compatible. The amount of code-sharing that could have happened would have been amazing. Of course, the GPL 3 might make that code-sharing available (I'm unable to ever give up hope) and it's still good to have another good opensource operating system to compliment the BSDs and Linuxes.
    • A company could GPL-licence software that used a patent they owned and then sue users and distributers later for infringing on that patent. It would be a terrible, but legal, thing to do.

      Probably not, I am pretty sure the court would consider such an action to be in bad faith, or failing to mitigate infringement, or willfully contributing to the infringement.
  • I for one don't think Linux is the superior kernel, and I don't want the two to merge. Remember: competition is a good thing (tm)? Lets support diversity not inbreeding and two strong -but separate- open source projects.

    That said I'm waiting for tolls to popping-up from their Firefox browsers to say MPL is to restrictive.

    That said, where did the idea come from that just because Solaris was going to be open-sourced it needed to be incorporated into Linux?!

  • by kompiluj ( 677438 ) on Sunday December 05, 2004 @11:51AM (#11001381)
    What I see as a vital point in distributing code with source and license allowing for changes is the ability for the users to change the code. This might seem bit obvious, but it was the nerve behind GPL (you can read about it in the book about Stallman). For me Linux or BSD are much better than Solaris, because when something does not work in Solaris I have to find a klugde to go around. If I have the same problem in Linux or BSD I can always fix the broken code. This is of course tedious task, but sometimes you have no other choice. In closed source environment you don't have such an option. In my opinion releasing Solaris with source code would really help. It would also allow for writing better software for Solaris, since there is no better way to understand the inner workings of some software feature than to see the source code. The only problem is how much code would be open sourced. I would hope for the most important parts of kernel (memory, scheduler) and network stack (fire engine). Otherwise there is really not much sense in open sourcing (at least in my opinion).

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