Open is Open.
Posted Nov 13, 2005 6:42 UTC (Sun) by paulj
In reply to: Open is Open.
Parent article: Debian and Nexenta collide
I never suggested _that_. I said that Sun could have licensed with GPL + Exception for _linking_ with other software.
Ok, fair enough. However, all my arguments here before about why the GPL would not have sufficed have revolved mostly around the patent pool+MAD clauses of the CDDL, linkage was just another example. Yes, the linkage thing possibly could be dealt with via exceptions. My point regarding the patent clauses stands though.
Please get your facts straight. IBM _explicitly_ promised not to sue _any_ open source project over about 500 patents they have (applies to all OSI approved licences). Not just the kernel.
Ah, fair enough. I must have been confused. However, go and *look* at the list of patents. Quite a few have absolutely no relevance to software (CPU, token ring, ATM, etc. hardware patents), others do not have much value (though, that's probably more a comment on the state of the patent system) and at least two of the patents don't have anything to do with computers (tamper proof screws, DNA reading assembly).
A unilateral patent grant still does not do anything to try setup a patent pool and patent "peace" around a software project, as the CDDL does. As I said in another post, be careful what you criticise the CDDL for, when there's a fair chance the GPLv3 will try do similar tomorrow (Eben Moglen has stated patent threats are something the GPLv3 may try address). The CDDL's clauses are intended to encourage the build-up of a pool of grants to a project on all relevent patents held by the initial and contributing developers. That's a worthwhile goal IMHO.
Which is legally meaningless.
IBM have *many* more patents than those 500. They can almost certainly dig up patents from their portfolio to sue almost anyone they wanted to, regardless of those 500. So their grant is not *that* meaningful either. So lets be honest: The primary reasons big corporates involved fruitfully in Free Software, like IBM and Sun, neither have nor likely will (in the short to mid-term at least) sue any Free Software developers or projects is because they have absolutely nothing to gain from it and a *lot* to lose.
Anyway, did Sun want to do something different than the GPL? Yes, I've listed some *good* reasons why. Disagreeing with the logic of those reasons is fine. However clinging to the view that Sun chose the CDDL out of sheer perverseness (reasoning I can never really refute, since it hinges implicitely on Sun having hidden motives), when it isn't that hard to come up with more rational reasons is perverse in itself, if not sheer paranoia. Particularly when the objectionable result of this "hidden motive" theory, incompatibility with the GPL, lies *not* in the CDDL but in the GPL and can easily be fixed in the next revision of the GPL, which is due in the next year or two. Further, any GPLv2 copyright holder can *today* avail of CDDL code by simply giving their own GPL code an exception. If you have suggestions on improving the CDDL, you are welcome to discuss them on the opensolaris-discuss list, the CDDL *can* be up-revved too.
I studied under Yoda himself ;-)
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