Depending on Engineers

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-08-03 Print this article Print

The way Google releases code is dependent on its engineers and when they feel this should be done. It also has its own build systems and targets the releases to those people who most care about it and tries to ensure they know the code is available.
This is also code that Google uses every day and comes with a certain level of support, he said.
"I want people to see the things we are proud to use inside Google. We dont release things that uses cant run, like software that needs a huge datacenter. There are a lot of open-source engineers at Google and thats growing all the time. We want people to look at problems in a new way, and we want to do things that are great for our users and for us," DiBona said. Jonathan Schwartz, the COO and president of Sun Microsystems Inc., also took the floor during the keynote sessions and was interviewed by Nathan Torkington, the conference chair. Schwartz, a controversial figure as a result of his outspoken comments on open-source and Linux software, was asked about open-source Java and the long-standing view within Sun that it did not and should not be open-sourced. Read more here about Eric Raymond taking Schwartz to task. Having the code to Java being open is different than making it available under an open-source license that could facilitate forking, Schwartz said. "Choice is a good thing. The concerns we have about whether Java should ship under an OSI-approved license is different to whether the code is open and freely available. The threat of forking is the biggest one and one we want to avoid," he said. While the jury is not yet in as to how Sun would continue to evolve Java, Schwartz pointed out that it has more than 900 members contributing to the JCP, "and Im sure folk at Sun will continue to contribute to Apache and other open-source projects," he said. Turning to the recently released OpenSolaris project, Schwartz said it had been "fabulously" received and there had been more than 2 million downloads of Solaris over the past six months. Asked about Suns decision to license OpenSolaris under the CDDL, which was incompatible with the GNU GPL (General Public License), Schwartz pointedly responded that the GPL is the license that does not allow commingling of code, not the CDDL. "It is the GPL that prevents this. Im a big fan of the GPL, but I dont think there is one license that fits all software projects, and I believe that diversity and choice is a good thing," he said, adding that the CDDL gives choice and, as such, is a good thing for developers. At the end of the day, he said, it is the number of users that counts for open-source projects, not just the number of developers. He again vowed that every project at Sun would ultimately be a free or open-source project, including Java "in one form or another," Schwartz said. Turning to the controversial area of software patents, Schwartz said that "I think software patents have been largely misused, but I do also think they can serve a role. But I dont think they are being used the way that they should be, or the way legislation was designed to facilitate," he said, to some applause. "There is a tidal wave washing over the market place, and if you are committed to choice and interoperability, which customers are demanding we be, open is the only way to go. "The price of software is also going to zero, and the industry is moving away from just free software to free services, like Yahoo Search and Google Search and the other free services they offer," Schwartz said. Next Page: The Linux 2.6 kernel.

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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