With regard to the Microsoft-Novell deal and GPL 3, MacCormack said the questions asked as part of the research were qualitative ones, and that the responses indicated that many developers were suspicious of the deal. "But the reasons relate more to a general distrust of Microsoft. I dont recall many coherent explanations of why deals like this are detrimental to the software ecosystem in general. Our objective was not really to gauge opinion on one particular industry transaction, as much as to look at issues of license design," he said.The report concludes that its results suggest the actions of the Free Software Foundation may only be favored by about 10 percent of the broader community. "That leads us to ask, Should a committee be created with a charter to create and revise open-source licenses using a governance model similar to that of the open-source development model?" MacCormack said. "Is it contrary to the spirit of the open-source community, which relies on the wisdom and view of the masses, to have the governance of licenses controlled by a few individuals whose views run contrary to the objectives of potentially 90 percent of the people affected by their actions, especially when the community members are the very creators and developers of the software under discussion?" he questions. Asked about these conclusions, MacCormack said that it is common for academic research to pose questions that arise from the findings generated, as this could create a road map for future work. Corporate reaction to GPL 3 Draft 3 has been swift, and critical. Click here to read more. "I recently returned from a conference in Texas where developers asked these questions in a panel discussion where I was just an audience member. In fact, if you go to the bulletin boards on license issues and the GPL 3, you will find these views espoused there. But sometimes, you need to point out that this may in fact be the majority opinion. Thats all we are doing here," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has no regrets about the Microsoft deal. Click here to read more.