Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Sun joins open-source-hating corporate club

Filed under
OSS

Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz last week justified the company's controversial open-source strategy with an attack on the GPL (GNU General Public Licence), which he characterised as a tool allowing United States businesses to pillage developing countries of their intellectual property.

The attack represents a new tactic for Sun, which is trying to attract interest in its OpenSolaris project and fend off criticism of its decision to keep Java under proprietary lock and key. While the company hopes to create an image of itself as an open-source leader - and to reap the development work of the open-source developer community - Schwartz's speech to the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco last week was reminiscent of Microsoft's anti-GPL rhetoric.

The speech came on the heels of Sun's announcement of the five members of its OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board, intended to help develop and guide a developer community around the open-source version of Sun's flagship Solaris operating system. The board includes Roy Fielding, the co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation - the Apache Web server is one of the more visible open-source successes. The board also includes two outside Solaris developers and two members from Sun.

Like Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who once compared the GPL to Pac-Man, and president Steve Ballmer, who famously called the GPL a "cancer" feeding off of intellectual property, Schwartz believes the licence goes too far. On top of the danger to respectable business practices, he argued the GPL is "IP colonialism", a threat to poorer countries who need to use intellectual property to compete in the world marketplace.
On those countries the GPL imposes "a rather predatory obligation to [give back] all their IP to the wealthiest nation in the world", the United States, which developed the GPL, Schwartz said, according to various reports.

He took a swipe at the GPL's creators, implying they are more interested in social economic ideals than "intellectual property models". The GPL was originally created by Richard Stallman in the 1980s for use with the GNU (GNU's Not Unix) project.

Like Microsoft's GPL attacks, Schwartz's talk was designed to reflect Sun's own efforts in a better light - in this case Schwartz talked up Sun's Community Development and Distribution License (CDDL), which will cover OpenSolaris. Sun is introducing more permissive licences for Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE), the Java Internal Use License (JIUL) and the Java Distributed License (JDL), to take effect next year, but these don't qualify as open-source. Sun has always argued open-sourcing Java would lead to the development of incompatible forks, something critics dismiss as far-fetched.

Audaciously enough, Schwartz even levelled criticism at companies who talk up open-source while keeping their own products proprietary, though he didn't mention specific examples. Such companies would eventually be unmasked as hypocrites, Schwartz said.

Open-source developers continue to support the GPL, apparently unaware of its evil. The Freshmeat project-tracking site currently lists about 68 percent of its projects as covered by the GPL; the next most popular licence is the Lesser GPL (LGPL), at about 6 percent. The licence also covers the majority of projects on SourceForge, the biggest online open-source development management system. The Linux operating system kernel and many components, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), the Samba networking system and other high-profile projects use the GPL.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Canada’s Spy Agency Releases its Cyber-Defense Tool for Public
  • Canadian govt spooks open source anti-malware analytics tool
    The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said the AssemblyLine tool is designed to analyse large volumes of files, and can automatically rebalance workloads.
  • Microservices served on blockchain, in open source
    Cloud application marketplace company Wireline is working with open source blockchain project developer Qtum The new union is intended to provide a conduit to consuming microservices at [web] scale using blockchain at the core. As we know, microservices offer the ability to create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) without having to manage the underlying hardware and software infrastructure. [...] The Qtum a blockchain application platform combines the functions of Bitcoin Core, an account abstraction layer allowing for multiple virtual machines and a proof-of-stake consensus protocol aimed at tackling industry-use cases. The Qtum Foundation, headquartered in Singapore, is the decision-making body that drives the project’s development.
  • Rendering HTML5 video in Servo with GStreamer
    At the Web Engines Hackfest in A Coruña at the beginning of October 2017, I was working on adding some proof-of-concept code to Servo to render HTML5 videos with GStreamer. For the impatient, the results can be seen in this video here
  • Working Intel CET Bits Now Land In GCC8
    A few days back I wrote about Intel's work on Control-flow Enforcement Technology beginning to land in GCC. This "CET" work for future Intel CPUs has now landed in full for GCC 8. The bits wiring up this control-flow instrumentation and enforcement support are now all present in mainline GCC SVN/Git for next year's GCC 8.1 release.
  • Using Gitea and/or Github to host blog comments
    After having moved from FSFE’s wordpress instance I thought long about whether I still want to have comments on the new blog. And how I would be able to do it with a statically generated site. I think I have found/created a pretty good solution that I document below.

Security Leftovers

  • Where Did That Software Come From?
    The article explores how cryptography, especially hashing and code signing, can be use to establish the source and integrity. It examines how source code control systems and automated build systems are a key part of the software provenance story. (Provenance means “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.” It is increasingly being applied to software.)
  • Judge: MalwareTech is no longer under curfew, GPS monitoring [Updated]
    A judge in Milwaukee has modified the pre-trial release conditions of Marcus Hutchins, also known online as "MalwareTech," who was indicted two months ago on federal criminal charges. Under US Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s Thursday order, Hutchins, who is currently living in Los Angeles, will no longer be subject to a curfew or to GPS monitoring.
  • [Older] Leicester teen tries to hack CIA and FBI chiefs' computers
    A teenager attempted to hack senior US government officials' computers from his home. Kane Gamble, 18, from Coalville, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to computer hacking. His targets included the then CIA director John Brennan and former FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano.

Debian: pk4, Freexian and More

Kernel and Graphics: ZenStates, AMDGPU, RADV, Vulkan, NVIDIA

  • ZenStates Allows Adjusting Zen P-States, Other Tweaking Under Linux
    ZenStates is an independent effort to offer P-States-based overclocking from the Linux desktop of AMD Ryzen processors and other tuning. ZenStates-Linux is an open-source Python script inspired by some available Windows programs for offering Ryzen/Zen CPU overclocking from the desktop by manipulating the performance states of the processor.
  • AMDGPU DC Gets A Final Batch Of Changes Before Linux 4.15
    The AMDGPU DC display code has a final batch of feature updates that were sent in this weekend for DRM-Next staging and is the last set besides fixes for the "DC" code for the 4.15 target.
  • Valve Developer Lands VK_EXT_global_priority For RADV Vulkan Driver
  • Vulkan 1.0.64 Adds In Another AMD-Developed Extension
    Vulkan 1.0.64 is out this weekend as the newest specification refinement to this high-performance graphics/compute API. As usual, most of the changes for this minor Vulkan revision are just documentation clarifications and corrections. This week's update brings just under a dozen fixes.
  • NVIDIA TX2 / Tegra186 Display Support Isn't Ready For Linux 4.15
    While the Jetson TX2 has been out since this past March and it's a phenomenal ARM development board, sadly the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver support for it still isn't ready with the mainline Linux kernel. Thierry Reding of NVIDIA sent in the Tegra DRM driver changes for DRM-Next that in turn is staged for Linux 4.15. Reding commented that there is prepatory work for the TX2 (Tegra186) but it's not all ready for upstream yet.