Q&A: Raymond Expounds on Open Letter to Sun, McNealy

Q&A: Open-source advocate Eric S. Raymond stands by his criticisms of Sun's flirtation with IBM and restates his interpretation of the infamous "Halloween" memo, which linked Microsoft to SCO's lawsuits.

Eric S. Raymond, an open-source advocate and author of the open-source classic "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," last month called on Sun Microsystems Inc. to open-source Java. In an open letter to Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy, Raymond said Sun should "Let Java Go." Recently, Raymond sat down with eWEEK Senior Writer Darryl K. Taft at the Wharton Technology Conference, put on by the University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School, in Philadelphia. Taft and Raymond reconnected last week following the release of the latest "Halloween" memo regarding Microsoft Corp.s alleged, indirect involvement in The SCO Groups lawsuits.

The most recently unearthed "Halloween" memo that you posted to the Web that has to do with Microsoft allegedly, indirectly funding SCOs Linux lawsuits has been verified as authentic. Do you still stand by your interpretation of it, despite denials by SCO, Microsoft and Baystar Capital of the gist of the contents?

Yes. I believe the Microsoft and SCO spokespeople are lying because the behavior clearly described in the memo is illegal on several different levels, ranging from antitrust violations through stock fraud to barratry.

Well, lets get to the Sun thing. Why did you write that open letter to Sun and McNealy in the first place?

Because Scott McNealy went to an analysts meeting, and he said in front of a bunch of analysts, "The open-source model is our friend." Thats fine. He has every right to say that. But I, as a member of the open-source community, also have a right to say, "Look, if youre going to say the open-source model is your friend, then friendship carries certain obligations with it." And if you dont meet those obligations, were going to call you on it. Now, you make the businesses decisions you need to make. Were not here to dictate your strategy, but if you claim a relationship, youre going to get called on that relationship.

Next page: Suns ill-considered response.