Seeking a Consensus
"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.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.
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.