Interview: Beowulf's Donald Becker

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OSS

T shops are being bombarded by mixed and incorrect messages about the legal aspects of open source software and the current status of grid and virtualization technologies, says Donald Becker, Beowulf Project co-founder and founder and chief scientist of San Francisco-based Scyld Software, a subsidiary of Penguin Computing.

Becker sounds off on these subjects in this excerpt from our interviews during and after the recent LinuxWorld Conference & Exposition in San Francisco.

What do you think of the controversy over Linus Torvald's attempt to enforce his trademark for the Linux name?

Becker: The controversy shows the increasing sensitivity in the open source and free software community. The SCO lawsuit really brought those things into focus for people developing open source, open standard software.

The legal scene for open source and Linux is playing out exactly the way you'd expect a natural evolution of a marketplace should.
In the past, the marketplace found a way to produce proprietary software and successfully make a business and create a commercial marketplace out of it.

The evolution now shows that with Linux you can make a business and create a commercial marketplace, too. So, now that that's been shown, there's a need to make it clear that the licenses, trademarks and copyrights, while being open, have boundaries. Naturally, these boundaries will be tested until everyone understands the nature of the new marketplace that's emerged.

In the open source community, is there great concern about open source software being usurped by proprietary vendors?

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