Seeking a Consensus

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-02-09 Print this article Print

"I have also asked my colleagues to look at this and come up with alternative wording that is more specific and makes the intent quite clear," he said, adding that the DRM provisions would benefit companies like Open-Xchange as they would give users greater control over what went through their systems and how that content was used, even if they did not own it. It also strengthens the protections for developers and manufacturers, especially when content is transferred illegally using their systems or products.
Open-Xchange sees this as a positive approach to making sure that those people who misuse or abuse protected content are held liable for that, while the developers and manufacturers are not, Kusnetsky said.
Christine Martino, the vice president for Hewlett-Packards open-source and Linux organization, said the company had always appreciated that the FSF was concerned about DRM generally and about its implications for the ability to modify software that was so central to the FSFs goals. "The bottom line is that this is a difficult issue for which there is no simple answer for the FSF. We expect to see quite a bit of feedback on this as people work through understanding of many possible scenarios that involve interaction of free software with DRM. At the moment, it is too early to know what specific feedback HP might offer," she said. Suns Phipps agrees that the DRM issue is far from resolved and that there will be a lot more discussion around it going forward. "Clearly that DRM provision needs fixing, and it can be fixed. There are lots of comments already about it; both discussion committees A and B are looking at it and there will be changes," he said. Some in the community question Suns early support for the draft license, given that it created the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) for its Solaris operating system after rejecting the current GPL 2.0 as too restrictive for its purposes. Phipps also said that Sun, contrary to the way some people liked to paint the company, was not opposed to open-source licensing or the GPL. With regard to recent comments on Sun president Jonathan Schwartzs blog about possibly dual-licensing its Solaris operating system, "all he is saying is that we are rational people who make rational decisions, and if it turns out that GPL 3 offers a licensing advantage that works, then we will consider it, but making a decision in this regard is not something we could even think of doing at this stage. The best I can say is that it looks promising at this point," he said. Read more here about Suns thoughts on the possibility of licensing Solaris under GPL 3. Asked about Suns decision not to license Solaris under GPL 2, but rather to create the new CDDL license, Phipps said it would not have been able to create the OpenSolaris community when it did if it had licensed the code under GPL 2. This is because there was a lot of code that was essential to the operation of Solaris that Sun did not own the rights to and therefore could not release under the GPL. "The GPL does not allow you to have a mix of licenses. We would have had to cut out essential elements of Solaris to do so. The things that make it possible to consider GPL 3 is its consideration of compatibility and of compatible licensing. That is what we are closely watching to decide whether we are able to do it or not. That is why its much to early to make a decision, Phipps said. "What we are doing is genuinely engaging and participating and contributing to the process and want to see it succeed," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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