Sun created the CDDL (Community Development and Distribution License) for Solaris after rejecting GPL 2.0 as too restrictive for its purposes.
Sun will not consider licensing Solaris under the current GPL for the same reasons it gave when it created the CDDL, which is based in large part on the MPL (Mozilla Public License), Tom Goguen, Suns vice president of software marketing, told eWEEK in an interview.
"We wanted to enable as broad a development community as possible around Solaris, and one part of that is being able to prescribe what you can and cannot do with the code, what other code you can combine with it, and exactly how to do it," he said.
This is one of the strengths of the MPL, on which Sun modeled the CDDL, compared with the "all-or-nothing scenario under the current GPL, which also says nothing about patents, and Im not sure how far the next version will go there," he said.
While Sun is not taking a position on software patents, it will not disagree that most people feel they are very problematic, "but they are the one instrument that we have to work with today, and so we needed a license that addressed that," he said.
Suns refusal to reconsider licensing Solaris under GPL 2.0 also appears to effectively remove any chance that code from that software can be co-mingled with that from the open-source Linux operating system, which is currently licensed under GPL 2.0. Thats because Linus Torvalds, the Linux kernel project leader, has said that he has no plans to relicense the Linux kernel under GPL 3.0 when it is released early next year.
"I dont think the GPL 3.0 conversion is going to happen for the kernel, since I personally dont want to convert any of my code," Torvalds said.
Thus, if the Linux kernel code does not get licensed under GPL 3.0, even if Solaris does, the current restrictions on the co-mingling of code from the two operating systems will essentially remain in force.
In fact, when Sun submitted the CDDL to the Open Source Initiative for approval, Claire Giordano, a member of Suns CDDL team, said as much in a letter accompanying the submission.
"Like the Mozilla Public License, the CDDL is not expected to be compatible with the GPL [2.0], since it contains requirements that are not in the GPL. Thus, it is likely that files released under the CDDL will not be able to be combined with files released under the GPL to create a larger program," she said.