Debian and Nexenta collide
Posted Nov 10, 2005 4:41 UTC (Thu) by paulj
In reply to: Debian and Nexenta collide
Parent article: Debian and Nexenta collide
>> That the GPLv2 is old, needs updating and doesn't provide for
>> patent-pooling is hardly a drawback of the CDDL ;).
...is typical of Sun Microsystems and is the reason why I suspect you
won't ever be real open-source competition for Linux. Sun isn't the god
that it thinks it is.
Odd, the above is a view held by the FSF - nowt to do with Sun. One of the greatest challenges today is what to do about the climate of patent-trolls, particularly in software. The CDDL attempts to do something about it, the GPLv3 almost certainly will attempt to introduce wording to tackle patent-risks too. As an FSF supporter, I certainly hope so anyway. The above was not intended a comment as a Sun employee, more with my Joe Bloggs (FSF supporter) hat on if anything. Sorry if came across as snide.
Your assertion that GPL software could link CDDL software and enjoy its
patent is specifically identified in the CDDL as false:
"(d) Notwithstanding Section 2.1(b) above, no patent license is
granted: (1) for code that You delete from the Original Software, or
(2) for infringements caused by: (i) the modification of the Original
Software, or (ii) the combination of the Original Software with other
software or devices."
I don't actually know if my assertion is false or not. I *think* is true, but my assertion carries no weight - hope that's obvious. However, with respect to this 2.1d clause, note the "Notwithstanding", hence clearly 2.1d does not trump 2.1b. 2.1d therefore, by my layman's interpretation, is there to state the obvious:
"You can't infringe on Suns' patents in your own code and claim you have a patent licence through 2b simply by linking to, or wedging your infringing code in, with Suns' CDDL code".
In the latter case, you'd have to CDDL your code anyway, or breach the copyright. Note that even if you infringe on a patent of Sun, that still does not mean Sun are going to sue you, it is entirely at the patent holders discretion whether to sue or not. There are lots of things that can be done to resolve infringement other than suing people, e.g. you may be contributing to OpenSolaris, it's quite unlikely Sun would then sue you. Sun does not have a record of running around suing people, further if it's quite inconsequential Sun can easily just ignore it, at its discretion. Patent law is not like trademark law, your claims are not affected by ignoring infringement (AIUI).
(Any large corporation which does R&D almost certainly already has lots of patents in its portfolio which are being infringed here and there. By and large, corporations don't care as long as they're not sued themselves - only then does the portfolio come out ;). That is the current climate, for better or worse.)
I'll take the GPL over the CDDL any day. Thankfully, I suspect that the
silent majority agrees with me.
You can use what you want. Sun uses the GPL too. Most of my work to date at Sun has been on GPLed software. Ditto for quite a few other Sun engineers. As for the CDDL, its fundamentals are fine - RMS has stated this too.
Whether it would have been possible to find the wording to allow the patent grants to follow modified works, I don't know. From a reply of yours in another thread, you obviously think that wording should have been put there. I'd agree in principle, but have doubts about whether it could be done without resulting in a vague and unclear licence.
Anyway, it's late, plus I still have to read the weekly edition! Night.
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