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Sun Microsystems Your Rights Online

Sun to Add GPLv3 to OpenSolaris? 118

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sun-is-shining-in-gpl-land dept.
An anonymous reader writes to mention that sources inside Sun Microsystems claim that OpenSolaris may see the GPLv3 added to its list of licenses soon. From the article: "While Sun officials would not confirm the plan to dual-license OpenSolaris under the CDDL and GPLv3, Tom Goguen, vice president of Solaris software at Sun, told eWEEK that other open-source technologies will play a big role in Solaris going forward. 'Take the GNU Userland, which is an interesting piece of technology that Sun is looking at closely, and we may do something similar with, say, a container flavor,' he said. 'You can also expect to see a renewed focus on the needs of developers and system administrators with Solaris going forward, while individual pieces of the next version will also likely be increasingly delivered first as components or technologies targeted at vertical markets,' he said."
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Sun to Add GPLv3 to OpenSolaris?

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  • by Threni (635302) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @01:52PM (#17650116)
    Just for a laugh. I mean, they're not mutually exclusive, are they?
    • by jonbryce (703250) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @01:54PM (#17650164) Homepage
      And even if they were, it doesn't stop Sun, as the copyright holder, from releasing it under whatever licence they want.
      • by seguso (760241)
        How could two licenses ever be "mutually exclusive"?
        • by madcow_bg (969477)
          GPLv2: If you modify this work or parts of it and release them, you must release it under GPLv2.
          GPLv3: If you modify this work or parts of it and release them, you must release it under GPLv3.

          Yup, it is so easy to distribute mixed derivative work. Only you have to choose the license very, very carefully.

          As, a matter of fact, in GPLv3 there is (going to be) an exception for some licenses just so that they would be compatible. Otherwise ... they won't be.
          • by Threni (635302)
            > GPLv2: If you modify this work or parts of it and release them, you must release it under GPLv2.
            > GPLv3: If you modify this work or parts of it and release them, you must release it under GPLv3.

            That's not an example of mutual exclusivity, because you can satisfy both conditions simultaneously.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Just for a laugh. I mean, they're not mutually exclusive, are they?

      Who cares, let the lawyers figure it out.
    • by vga_init (589198)

      Right, but all it takes is one copy to be released as GPL, and then the community would fork it right away so that they don't have to risk losing any work on it to another enterprise. It would also mean that Sun might risk losing control of their system if they themselves don't stick with GPL, since they won't be able to use improvements made by the community to the GPL version unless they accept that license back.

  • Good Strategic Move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:01PM (#17650266)

    Releasing OpenSolaris under GPLv3 might be a good strategic move. Right now GPLv3 is in limbo, with some projects moving to it and some not. The main purpose of GPLv3 is to try to stop submarine patents from the industry in general, but Microsoft in particular, from being used to undermine the process. So imagine Suse using GPLv2 competing against some other distro like RedHat, or Ubuntu, which has moved to GPLv3 for the code they contribute. They get the added value of swapping code with OpenSolaris, which has some really cool stuff and Sun gets the benefit of undermining MS's new strategy, which of course is as detrimental to Sun as anyone else, by making Suse Linux an outdated distro.

    • try to stop submarine patents from the industry in general, but Microsoft in particular
      Can you please cite some examples of Microsoft using submarine patents.

      Sun gets the benefit of undermining MS's new strategy
      I think you will find the previous CEO of SUN pursued this sort of strategy for years instead of actually focussing the company on doing what it did best. Look where it got them.
      • by a.d.trick (894813) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:15PM (#17650438) Homepage
        Can you please cite some examples of Microsoft using submarine patents.

        It's not so much that they actually go out and sue people over patents. Rather, they use a technique known as FUD and they go around and intimidate their competitors about how they might use their patents. The competitors then have to scramble all about to save their stock from falling into oblivion and spend effort ensuring they are not in violation of some patent they don't know about. Whether there's anything to Microsoft's patent claims remains to be demonstrated.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Can you please cite some examples of Microsoft using submarine patents.

          It's not so much that they actually go out and sue people over patents. Rather, they use a technique known as FUD

          So Microsoft are the bastards who tag every story here with "FUD". Thanks for clearing that up.
      • Can you please cite some examples of Microsoft using submarine patents.

        Here ya go: Microsoft Patents [msversus.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by killjoe (766577)
        "Can you please cite some examples of Microsoft using submarine patents. "

        MS has already sued for the use of FAT using their patents as a weapon.

        MS has threatened many companies with threats of suits and had them back down because they can't afford to fight MS.

        Steve Ballmer recently promised to sue people who use linux unless they use Novell Linux.
    • is if they switch to a different kernel -- unless Linux and all the other copyright holders of the various bits and pieces of the kernel have changed their collective minds, the kernel is distributed under a modified GPL v2 -- the modification being that you can't distribute the kernel under anything but v2... (they removed the "or higher" verbiage.)
      • by brennanw (5761) * on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:13PM (#17650428) Homepage Journal
        ...you mean that they move to GPLv3 in the areas where they can -- i.e., non-kernel software that they develop on their own.

        It's much too easy to think of "Linux" as being one thing with one license, and I need to stop thinking that way...
      • Well assumedly this is what Sun would like -- if Solaris became the dominant kernel, rather than Linux, by moving to GPLv3 when Linux is stuck with v2.

        In reality I think the opposite is more likely, Solaris Tools + GNU userland on a Linux kernel, but it's still fun to speculate. I don't really know enough about the Solaris kernel to make any claims of technical superiority or inferiority either way. I do think it would be neat, in some geek-ish way, to have another kernel...but most users are going to stick
        • by htd2 (854946)
          Its highly unlikely that you would end up with Solaris tools on a Linux kernel, for one thing a lot of Solaris tools are also OpenSource tools anyway (Gnome etc). Solaris's strength is its kernel which is well ahead of Linux in terms of capabilities the only thing the Linux as a kernel has over Solaris is a large HCL list which in itself isn't actually much to do with Linux.
    • Right now GPLv3 is in limbo, with some projects moving to it and some not.

      I think you're underestimating just how much software the Free Software Foundation has copyright on: bash and the rest of the userland, GCC, etc. Considering that all GNU code will be moving to GPLv3, I think it's got quite a lot of traction whether Solaris uses it or not.

      Of course, having Solaris too would be even better...

      • by droopycom (470921)
        Actually, you also probably underestimate the number of contributors and copyright holders in all those FSF projects.

        I know that in theory contributions to FSF projects are required to have a Copyright assignement to the FSF, so that FSF probably is the only copyright holder, but the fact is the FSF leadership cannot just decide to switch all their project to GPLv3 if this is going to piss off active mainteners.

        So I assume that switching will happen on a project by project basis and will be driven by mainte
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          All the FSF projects have the "or later" license.
        • I know that in theory contributions to FSF projects are required to have a Copyright assignement[sic] to the FSF...

          I was just about to remind you of that, but I see I don't have to. Unless I'm mistaken, it's actually "in fact," not just "in theory."

          the FSF leadership cannot just decide to switch all their project to GPLv3 if this is going to piss off active mainteners[sic].

          It seems to me that the kind of person who would maintain packages for the FSF would also be the kind of person who would like GPLv3.

    • actually what microsoft really wants is for linux and the oss community to fork. And it will fork because a lot of people don't want gpl3 and a lot of people do.
    • The GPL version 3 is in limbo because its not finalised yet - so why should projects move to it when they dont even know what precisely it is they would be moving to?!

      Some people really need to take a step back and breathe a little - theres no rush to move anything to the GPL v3, its not the cure for cancer and the situation wont have changed much in a year or two when no more changes are being made to it.
  • ZFS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Perhaps we can get ZFS into Linux this way. However, with Linus's position about GPLv3...
    • Not going to happen.

      for one, v2 and v3 are incompatible (backwards wise, anyways) and Torvalds doesn't want a v3 kernel.

      but let's assume for a moment that the licenses weren't incompatible. Solaris' vfs layer is quite a bit removed from linux's filesystem layer. A complete rewrite may be easier than a port in that case
      • What I'm interested to know, is if you read the ZFS source code and then write a specification for ZFS (not how the driver works, but how the data is recorded on disk, and assuming there isn't a public domain spec already), is that spec a derived work, or is it a referenced work in which case you could then write a GPL driver from that spec.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BrainInAJar (584756)
          What you've just described is step one of cleanrooming a driver.

          The code is free, you're more than welcome to do that with ZFS, but nobody has so far & zfs is really cool... obviously it's not just as easy as you describe... the only reason linux has so much filesystem support is because of the companies that added it... IBM added JFS, SGI added XFS, etc...

          I seriously doubt Sun cares to add zfs to linux.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I seriously doubt Sun cares to add zfs to linux.

            Why bother? There's a ZFS-on-FUSE/Linux [blogspot.com] project that has ZFS working, and is working on making it worth using. It's not clear that having a native filesystem is necessarily faster than a userspace driver, although FUSE probably still needs some work.

            The driver already supports numerous features [wizy.org] (including RAID, pooling, snapshots and more) and is still under development.

            • by geniusj (140174)

              It's not clear that having a native filesystem is necessarily faster than a userspace driver
              Of course it is. One is a much shorter code path with less context switching. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
              • No brainers like these are why Knuth said that premature optimization is the root of all evil.

                Reading and writing bits to the disk takes orders of magnitude longer than context switching.
    • by udippel (562132)
      Perhaps we can get ZFS into Linux this way. However, with Linus's position about GPLv3...

      Can we try to imagine for a minute what the consequences of a move to GPLv3 would be ?
      SunOS already runs ZFS. Everything else (except of the kernel, which happens to be called 'Linux') gets upgraded to v3 as well. So you can compile your any-'Linux'-distro on SunOS.

      The consequence is obvious: Your - cough, cough - 'Linux' distro does run ZFS. Only, there is much less 'Linux' left in it than RMS would have ever thou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:19PM (#17650506)
    Sun is the leading opensource contributer - page 51 [europa.eu] according to the EU.

    So this shouldn't come as a surprise.

    Alex
  • by WED Fan (911325) <(akahige) (at) (trashmail.net)> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:24PM (#17650558) Homepage Journal

    Stallman Takes Control of Sun

    Two minutes after applying GPL3 to OpenSolaris, Richard M. Stallman, pseudoprophet of the New Religion, exercising a deeply buried clause in GPL3, took control of the company.

    "My version of reality, trumps yours," he stated, "And my version of Freedom is better for you, so, we have deprecated all other forms of freedom. The sooner you learn to accept that, the sooner we release you from your bonds. Now take your medicine."

    President-For-Life of Cuba, Fidel "I'm-still-alive-dammit-don't-unplug-that" Castro called to congratulate the new CEO.

  • by starseeker (141897) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:34PM (#17650702) Homepage
    Consider the following points:

    1. Most software that creates the userland for desktop users can run on Solaris as well as Linux, in the sense of using the kernels.

    2. Businesses, which value stability, have watched the Linux kernel abandon the odd-even numbering system in favor of merging major changes into the 2.6 tree (I know there are pros and cons for this, but my money is on this not being a positive move in most commercial business eyes.)

    3. The major lack for Solaris, from the user standpoint at least, is the driver support Linux now enjoys - if Solaris supported all the hardware Linux does and had a good/friendly install routine (haven't tried it myself), there would be little to choose between Linux and Solaris.

    Now, how could GPLv3 help?

    It's true the Linux kernel code, as such, could not be merged straight into Solaris. HOWEVER, key authors of the parts of Linux that actually are better could be contacted and asked if they would license their code for use in Solaris under GPLv3. The CDDL has not, so far, encouraged much of this activity as far as I know. GPL has "street cred" in terms of the open source population, and the key authors of the key parts unique to Linux might be convinced to help Solaris (which has its own bits of Truly Awesome Code).

    Many of the arguments are similar to using GPL for Java. Solaris is already freely available and as such is not a direct revenue stream for Sun - the question is how to use it to Make Money in other venues. Now there are risks as well as rewards to being able to run Solaris on a wide variety of hardware, and Sun must make the calculation as to whether universal standardization/use of Solaris would promote their hardware as a very stable, powerful integrated core of a complete Solaris solution. This is not immediately clear, but is possible. Certainly, it would increase Sun's "visibility" in the marketplace, if they displace Linux as the major open source operating system. (I know, I know - the userland tools are what count most, but marketing doesn't seem to work that way.)

    Another interesting question is whether the corporations who have made contributions to Linux in order to make it more usable for them might be inclined to work with Sun and Solaris if it becomes available under GPLv3. Corporations seem to be more comfortable working with other corporate entities, and GPL is a good "safeguard" against being taken to the cleaners.

    I hope Sun does release a functioning Solaris under GPLv3, with the key parts (dtrace, ZFS, etc) included. I would certainly be interested in such a system, particularly if the key developers cooperate and the major Linux Goodies can be folded into it.

    Interesting times.

    • by Mr. Hankey (95668)
      That's one possibility, but the other possibility is for code to go in both directions. Both Solaris and Linux could potentially use code from the other, assuming the Solaris code is not tainted in a manner that would preclude its inclusion in the Linux kernel and vice versa. I use both Solaris and Linux, amongst other UNIX and UNIX-like systems, and they each have good points that make them useful.
      • by SETIGuy (33768)
        assuming the Solaris code is not tainted in a manner that would preclude its inclusion in the Linux kernel and vice versa

        If Sun chooses "GPL v3 or (at your option) any later version", that pretty much kills that possibility. Linus's choice of "GPL v2 and no other version" is not compatible with "GPL v3 or later." It's unclear to me whether "GPL v2 and no other version" is even compatible with "GPL v2 or later." Probably not, because by including "2 or later" code into a "only 2" product can't be done w

        • by Mr. Hankey (95668)
          It's difficult to tell - until the GPLv3 is 100% finalized and Linus makes his final decision on this version, we won't really know. Everything's noise until then. The "or later" clause may not be attractive to Sun either, since later versions of the GPL could be written to disallow dual licensing. That probably wouldn't make SUN happy. Still, it's an interesting observation.
          • by Rich0 (548339)
            Linus has already made his final decision on version - he made it back in the early 90s when he didn't use the or-later clause. The only way he can adopt v3 is if he gets permission from every contributor (or in some case their heirs) to change the license, and strips out any code lacking said permission.

            Sun is in a better position - they can pick v3 now, and assuming they require assignment of copyright they can still relicense under v4/5/6/etc later.
        • by Rich0 (548339)
          GPLv2 code could be merged with v2orlater code safely - it just needs to be released under v2. Somebody could take the v2orlater code and re-release it under a v3orlater/v3 license.

          Somebody who has released their code as v2orlater has already given permission for somebody to re-relase it as v2 - the wording says "v2, or a later version at the user's discretion" or something along those lines.

          But, I agree that you could not incorporate v2-only code in a v3-only product, or vice-versa.
          • by SETIGuy (33768)
            GPLv2 code could be merged with v2orlater code safely - it just needs to be released under v2.

            I'm not sure that is true. The if the license terms of some code are "v2 or later" and someone tries to release it "v2 only" that's a violation of the original license. The license explicitly says that you may only distribute it by giving the recipient the same rights as you recieved. In other words, if you received the right to distribute the code under "v2 or later" you MUST give anyone who receives the cod

            • by Rich0 (548339)
              You give me code and in it state:

              This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
              modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
              as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
              of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

              That is the standard FSF license text.

              It states that I can redistribute your code using EITHER v2 OR (AT MY OPTION) any later version.

              I choose the former.

              What's the problem?

              The viral clause of the GPLv2 states:

              You must cause any work that you

              • by SETIGuy (33768)

                I agree that is what the license says. However, the GPLv2 does not anywhere, that I can see, allow you to prohibit distribution under another version, if you were granted that option, without the consent of the copyright holder. You may choose to distribute under the terms of GPLv2, but that doesn't mean you can restrict distribution under GPLv3 if the source you received says "GPLv2 or later"

                After all you are required to "keep intact all notices that refer to this license." That would include the por

                • by Rich0 (548339)
                  But the end-user CAN redistribute the parts of the code that were GPL v2+ under GPL v2 or v3. They just can't redistribute the parts that were written GPL v2-only under v3. Ie, they can go back to the same sources you used when you changed the license to get the previous license.

                  Agreed the "keep intact all notices that refer to this license" bit is an issue. However, in the sentence "either version 2 of the license, or (at your option) any later version" only the portion "version 2 of the license" refers
      • Even if Solaris gives other developers two options, GPL *or* their more BSD-ish license, things only flow to linux. Unless sun stops their own license, they can't take linux code and give people the option of not doing the GPL..
    • The main reason that I prefer FreeBSD to Solaris (apart from petty squabbles over directory heriarchy and naming conventions) is that Solaris does not have the equivalent of FreeBSD Ports. It still doesn't.
      • by udippel (562132)
        Solaris does not have the equivalent of FreeBSD Ports.

        Fine, FreeBSD's port collection is pretty good. But you don't seem to understand that - with these moves - you'll do 'apt-get' on Solaris. And that's vastly superior. (And if you still want to make && make install, you 'apt-get source' instead of 'ftp://ftp.freebsd.org')
        A reasonable argument rather could be: Which kernel is better, SunOS or FreeBSD. And then chances are, that there will be a shift in momentum.

      • This is not a direct reply to your post, but anyway, http://blastwave.org/ [blastwave.org] provides a pkg-get program which, for all intents and purposes, works like apt-get (I know, this is not ports). A good and big collection of packages too!.
      • by ci4 (98735)
        pkgsrc works just fine under Solaris. And it is arguably better than ports.
  • This makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Serveert (102805) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @02:52PM (#17651034)
    Sun's meat and potatoes is their hardware, all decisions from the beginning go back to that basic tenant. Therefore it's in their best interest to get people to use Solaris which works well on Sparc. Sun has some pretty cool stuff, for example their new filesystem, zfs. Now if they were to release zfs as gpl v2, it could be used in linux, which doesn't help's Sun's bottom line(Sparc). If people use Solaris on x86 then that helps - Sun hopes those people will switch to Sparc. But given Torvalds not liking gpl v3, Sun can safely make Solaris, zfs, etc. GPL v3 and they won't have to worry about helping Linux much. The anti-patent provisions also throw a wrench in Microsoft's plans to use the patent wrench to stop open source.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Sun's meat and potatoes is their hardware, all decisions from the beginning go back to that basic tenant. Therefore it's in their best interest to get people to use Solaris which works well on Sparc.

      Does that mean that Fujitsu no longer has the best-performing SPARC processors?

      I think it's in Sun's best interest to abandon SPARC. I don't think they can afford to maintain their own architecture.

      Sun has some pretty cool stuff, for example their new filesystem, zfs. Now if they were to release zfs as gpl v2

      • by sumdumass (711423)
        Or what If sun releases solaris with GPL3, after a few years, people are picking up on it, they ecide to exercise some pattent restrictions or something else and hold a, this open version is crippled, use this it's better. Then sun becomes a software company with good hardware.

        And if any of the GPL people object, they pull the GPL from open solaris and make a statment about the GPL being poision for IP and this is proof. Now microsoft wins again. If i remeber corectly, they started the gpl poision thing.

        And
    • by udippel (562132)
      I really wished I had mod points and I'd throw all of them to you for your insightful contribution.
      Usually, we Linux-es are simply not really aware of SUN's business.
      If SUN had some business-minded brains instead of technical wizardry, they'd left their singular isolated licensing boat quite a time ago. If Java (now I'm getting OT, I know) had not been hampered by its licensing restrictions since long, the world would look differently. Okay, it would have been forked forth and back; but still, it would be J
      • by Serveert (102805)
        "I really wished I had mod points and I'd throw all of them to you"

        I'm flattered but you would just be throwing them away (see sig).
  • I prefer Linix-Watch's coverage [linux-watch.com].

    (I hate e-week's site.)
  • Win all around (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Voline (207517)

    This will change things drastically. Solaris is a mature OS with some unique tools that could really benefit Free Software: DTrace [wikipedia.org], ZFS [wikipedia.org], etc. GPL licensed OS's would really benefit from this stuff. DTrace and ZFS will be included in Mac OS 10.5. But up until now they have been licensed under Sun's CDDL which is incompatible with the GPL [fsf.org].

    If Linus ceases to be bull-headed and moves the kernel to GPLv3. The Sun move will be great, Gnu/Linux will be able to integrate these new tools. Sun will be able to us

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mr_da3m0n (887821)
      Uhm... Stop me if i'm spewing nonsense, but isn't the fact that Linus obviously doesn't give a shit about the GPLv3 a very tiny fraction of the problem?

      The main problem being that it would be extremely difficult to track down every single person who contributed to Linux and holds the copyright to agree to the change?
      • by Voline (207517)

        Good question. If I contribute code to Samba or the Linux kernel do I license my code to the project, or do I turn over ownership of the copyright to my code to the project?

        • you retain your copyrights unless you signed a waiver turning them over.

          It being GPL, they ( kernel core, or samba ) only integrated your code based on the license you released it under ( GPL v2 ).

          So yes, if they wanted to relicense it they'd need to track you down and get you to release it under v3, or CDDL, or BSD, or whatever
        • IANAL, but in general, you own the copyright on the code you have written until you explicitly assign the copyright to someone else (as in "I hereby assign copyright of this code to Foo").
      • by Arker (91948)
        Well, you're not completely wrong, but I'd say Linus' attitude is a very large portion. We can agree though, it's only a part.

        At present, the kernel code is licensed under a number of licenses. They are all compatible with the GPL v2. Because he was shortsighted and omitted the 'and later language' from his own contributions, and encouraged others to do the same, it's NOT all compatible with GPL v3. But if he really wanted to upgrade the license, he could do so, it would just take some work and some time. H
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      WOW, I'm trolling right now so don't take this as a serious reply.

      I just find It Ironic when Someone talking about free and opensource software describes the inevitably destruction of someone's opensource product with the hopes of forcing them to use a license they don't agree with.

      It is amazing to read all the posts wich result in "If You don't sucumb to our version of freedom, you won't have anything to participate in" or "You will be ruined if you don't agree with us" Or as you politly put it, Linus coul
      • by Voline (207517)
        You talk as though Linus was the sole author of the Linux kernel. He is not. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people contributed to producing it. Yet, he has sole decision-making power over whether the project changes licenses? The only "force" that can be exerted over Linus is the ability of people to choose to participate in his project or not. If a consensus forms in favor of converting to GPLv3 Linus will not be able to stand against it. This is one way that participants in a voluntary association exert
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          No, actualy the thing thing i said about linus was that I felt for him in hte way he has been treated. The other quote containing a reference to linus was from the GP.

          But you corect, It is a coloberative effort between lots of people. However, linus err lets say the kernel develpoers do have some vioce over code that was contributed because the control was given to them. But the Kernel code as far as i know, Is primarly distributed under GPL2 and cannot be just pulled into a GPLv3 license. People often cite
  • Well, if Linux insists on staying at GPv2, then perhaps RMS will get behind the Nexenta/gnu-solaris [gnusolaris.org] project. Maybe someone in the know can explain (to me and others) whether this would meet the needs of a GNU operating system. While I am a *BSD user, I'd love to see a Linux-free GNU system take off. If for no other reason, Torvalds increasingly seems like an obstinate teenager. And to be snotty about, his kernel certainly does. I'll slip into my asbestos suit, so let it fly....
    • by vga_init (589198)

      That is an interesting point you raise, but I'm not so sure things will come out exactly like that. Even if Linux is kept at GPLv2, Stallman would still recognize that system as Free. After all, he promoted this license for ages.

      Now, if he prefers GPLv3, he might come out and start saying that he prefers Nexenta. Stallman is not tied to Linux, even though it completed his goal of having a complete, Free system. Linux, while GPL, has not exactly been fully behind the Free software movement a la Linus To

      • by xoundmind (932373)
        Stallman is not tied to Linux, even though it completed his goal of having a complete, Free system.

        Indeed, which is why this all seems so intriguing. I think someone else has mentioned the potential for a Debian backed GNU/Open Solaris port. While I cannot foresee them ever abandoning Linux, there is certainly no reason why the open solaris kernel could not become the primary emphasis. Though I choose to use FreeBSD, i certainly have tremendous respect for the ideals/goals of the Debian project. A v3 so
        • Re:Nexenta (Score:4, Insightful)

          by vga_init (589198) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @05:18PM (#17654042) Journal

          Personally, I would find it incredibly amazing if Sun's system suddenly became the vanguard of Free software, "killing" Linux in the process. I had been following the market closely since I started using Linux years ago, and while a lot of GNU/Linux people were going head to head with Microsoft, it was obvious that what Linux was really doing was killing commercial Unix. In fact, the casualties were so bad that all big Unix vendors either converted themselves into Linux companies (IBM, Novell, Sun did Linux too) or died miserable deaths (SCO, SGI).

          Sun's premier system probably had the biggest chance of standing up to Linux (popular, technically advanced), there was no way they could keep up unless they joined in on the "open source" thing. If they went in all the way and made it 100% Free, that could really shake things up. If the dispute between GPL versions becomes a big one, Sun would be poised to win big. Not only would their own system become an order of magnitude more popular, but it would also make them the Free software company. With Free products like Solaris and Java, their software is practically legendary (there is no use denying the popularity of Java, and Solaris has always been a Unix lover's darling system).

          So, after all those years of "Linux is killing Unix," it would be amusing to see Sun turn the tables on that one. Don't think it can't happen, either... if large companies have proven anything, it's that they're good at absorbing the innovations of smaller entities and taking over. It's similar to how politics works in the United States--the two big parties stay on top partly by taking issues raised by small parties and making those issues their own, using their clout to "cover" the issue better and eliminating the need for the third party.

          • by udippel (562132)
            [Someone else who deserves all mod points that I don't have ...]

            If Linus keeps playing the stubborn child, what you say can well happen.
            The only stumbling block when I read your message - aside of the uncertainty if SUN behaves as childish as Linus when giving up their control is concerned - is my curiosity in how far Linux is technically superior and SUN would have difficulties to keep up. I have a distinct feeling that the SUN kernel has some serious advantages over Linux, the kernel.
            Though I could be wro
            • by htd2 (854946)
              The Solaris Kernel is a long way ahead of Linux in scalability and reliability. It has features such as Dtrace, ZFS, SMF etc which only have pale imitiations if anything at all in Linux. The only advantage that linux has over Solaris is a better HCL and even that is arguable, in the server space where Solaris is focussed the Solaris HCL is probably good enough. That said Sun's OpenSource moves are capturing momentum from Linux and some of that will translate into better device support.
        • Shuttleworth isn't in any danger.

          Just how much of Ubuntu's innovation are actually tied to the Linux kernel?

          My understanding is that Nexenta has imported a lot of Ubuntu code. It's still in alpha, meaning a number of issues related to meshing upstream solaris code need to be resolved. But essentially it is Ubuntu with a Sun kernel.

          Re-licensing solaris will make life simpler for Nexenta developers in having changes endorsed by hardline-GPL upstream maintainers in debian.

    • by udippel (562132)
      perhaps RMS will get behind the Nexenta/gnu-solaris project. Maybe someone in the know can explain (to me and others) whether this would meet the needs of a GNU operating system.
      Nexenta says so on http://www.gnusolaris.org/gswiki/FAQ [gnusolaris.org], but I wouldn't bet on it. Though, the very moment SunOS / better: OpenSolaris gets GPLv3 instead / on top of CDDL, I do bet both him and Eben will put their weight (sorry - no pun intended) behind this combination.
  • by solid_liq (720160)
    Does this mean there will be some way to fiddle with the GPLv2 vs GPLv3 licensing so we can get ZFS and DTrace into Linux?
  • OpenSolaris under v3 makes it easier for code to go from the Linux kernel to OpenSolaris and not vice versa, which is good for Sun. A public corporate endorsement like this would spur adoption of v3.

    Sun makes a big deal about adding licenses and not replacing them, so merely adding a v3 option to the CDDL one would do nothing for developers not wanting to help Tivoization a la Linux. In general, new contributors want to know their benefit in exchange for assigning copyright to Sun. Sun will have to apprec
    • OpenSolaris under v3 makes it easier for code to go from the Linux kernel to OpenSolaris and not vice versa, which is good for Sun.


      Er, no. As long as the Linux kernel remains under GPLv2 without the "or any later version" clause, code from it cannot be taken by Sun and incorporated into a product offered under GPL v3. Neither, of course, could code be taken from OpenSolaris under GPL v3 and incorporated into the GPL v2 Linux kernel.

      • by Freed (2178)
        No, you have fallen for a common misconception. While the kernel itself cannot be forked to v3, much of the code in the kernel is indeed licensed with the v2 or later clause and therefore can be used towards contributions to OpenSolaris under v3.
        • No, you have fallen for a common misconception. While the kernel itself cannot be forked to v3, much of the code in the kernel is indeed licensed with the v2 or later clause and therefore can be used towards contributions to OpenSolaris under v3.

          Such code would seem to be potentially problematic to start with, since if its in any way dependent on material (including interfaces) from the GPL v2-only kernel code, licensing under GPL v2 with the "or later" clause would seem to be a violation of the GPL v2-only

          • by Freed (2178)

            Such code would seem to be potentially problematic to start with, since if its in any way dependent on material (including interfaces) from the GPL v2-only kernel code, licensing under GPL v2 with the "or later" clause would seem to be a violation of the GPL v2-only license on the kernel itself.

            There are no problems. Clearly, the linux kernel source contains both v2 and v2+ code and so as a whole can only be distributed under v2. Nothing including Linus Torvalds can stop anyone from taking v2+ code and d

    • Sun makes a big deal about adding licenses and not replacing them, so merely adding a v3 option to the CDDL one would do nothing for developers not wanting to help Tivoization a la Linux. In general, new contributors want to know their benefit in exchange for assigning copyright to Sun.

      Ahh, but who says that contributors will be assigning their copyright to Sun? If Solaris is GPL, then contributors can modify and add to it without reassigning copyright to Sun. Then Sun has a choice between trying to acqu

  • Response from Sun VP (Score:5, Informative)

    by acoopersmith (87160) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @04:48PM (#17653348) Homepage Journal
    A non-anonymous source inside Sun, who just happens to be Sun's VP of Software, has refuted eWeek's rumor spreading [sun.com].
    • by Freed (2178)
      He's not saying that it will not happen. Indeed, he has been positive in this link and elsewhere on v3 and its drafting process.

      Here is a helpful reminder about Sun's considerations:

      "I made it clear, back at launch time,'" said Phipps, "that we couldn't use GPL 2 because the source licensing in Solaris was so diverse. It's really not even an option, although we did explore it."

      So license compatibility was a sticking point that v3 likely solves for Sun. I wish they would comment on why v3 and its permissio
  • This is great if you want to just use their applications.

    But wake me up when they use a non-viral license.
  • How is that going to work? The second they incorporate a thirdy-party GPL library they loose they ability to legally distribute it under CDDL. Ten bucks says they give it a half hearted shot then announce they're dropping the CDDL version as it's too hard to pull off. Another 20 bucks says half of the Sun people working on this know that it's impossible to do and can't convince the other half. If anything is going to get forked in this scenario, it'll chunks of the CDDL version when Sun drops support fo
  • ... one should be able to release something usefull under v3 and use it in a combined v2 and v3 project.

    This assumes, of course, that one doesn't actively prohibit v3, of course (;-))

    ---dave

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