Reciprocal licenses are a

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-02-03 Print this article Print

concern"> The whole point of open-source is that by sharing IP, everyone benefits, but you do have to really share it, and Sun doesnt get this.

Larry Rosen, a partner in the technology law firm Rosenlaw & Einschlag and author of "Open-Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law" has another worry about the CDDL.

"My biggest concern about the proliferation of reciprocal license such as the CDDL is that we end up not with one commons of free software but multiple islands of it that cant be interchanged for creating derivative works," Rosen said. "We get some of the benefits of the open-source paradigm but—as the Apache foundation is so fond of reminding us—reciprocal licenses prevent free software from being available to absolutely everyone for modification and reuse."

Exactly. Now some people at Sun, like Suns chief technology evangelist, Simon Phipps, think that Im anti-Sun. In his blog entry of Jan. 26, Phipps wrote, "As usual Steven Vaughan-Nichols of eWEEK is the spokesman for the competition and the leader of the (many) journalistic naysayers who cant just bring themselves to admit Sun might have done a good thing."

The Free Standards Group is planning to subdivide the Linux Standards Base specification. Click here to read more. Actually, over the years, Ive liked Sun. I still like Solaris—I just dont think it will ever be open-source—but what I dont like is Suns constant game playing.

Phipps then went on, "Just to show how far over the edge SJVN and his usual suspects are, take a look at Groklaw, where Pamela Jones has written a long, thoughtful and balanced analysis of the news. It is the opposite of the trade press shallowness."

I wonder if Phipps feels the same now that Jones has listened to the same comments that I have and what he thinks of her latest: "So, about that CDDL. Watch out. Thats what Id say. Use it only if you trust implicitly in Sun. And if you do, Id certainly like to know why. The community needs to watch this company like a hawk, in my view, after what I saw today. They are not yet full members of the Open Source community, to phrase it as positively as I can."

You can say that again.

Listen, Simon, Scott, Jonathan, forget about calling what youre doing open-source. No one says you have to be open-source. Well, OK, so you need to do something about the fact that Linux is eating Solaris market share lunch, but I think youve already got that with your N1 grid model.

Selling it isnt going to be easy, because grid is a new idea, but, from that same speech, it sounds to me like youre finally getting the grid message across. Heck, maybe you can make it profitable at a buck an hour.

And, you can do that without simply calling what youre doing open-source, because, the bottom line is, its not. And, if you keep trying to have it both ways, Sun may end up like the latest version of Star Trek, Enterprise: cancelled. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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