Sun: Trying to do the right thing

12:15 pm freesoftware, marketing

I’ve been annoyed by some of the Sun-bashing that has been going on over the past few months and years. I’ve written in the past about my belief that Sun are trying to do the right thing, and my appreciation for the investment that they’ve put into projects I care about. And yet no matter what they do, it seems like there are nay-sayers working to undermine Sun’s community-building efforts at every turn.

Here’s a few examples of Sun-bashing that I’ve seen recently:

  • No projects primarily sponsored by Sun get accepted to the Google Summer of Code (unless you count MySQL). Rumour has it that Sun were told not to bother applying. Of course the Summer of Code is Google’s baby, and as such they decide who gets to participate and who doesn’t. They don’t even have to explain themselves.
  • Linux Foundation employees repeatedly criticising OpenSolaris and Sun. I suppose that this is to be expected from a group that is representing its members, and sees the OpenSolaris kernel as direct competition to the Linux kernel, but it’s just as disappointing to me as when I see KDE or GNOME hackers ripping into each other
  • Press articles in Slashdot [2] [3] and elsewhere consistently spinning things as “Sun’s free software efforts aren’t sincere” interspersed with “Sun is ruining <insert project here>”.

I feel like a lot of this rhetoric is self-fulfilling prophecy. If you say often enough “Sun is a bad community player”, then Sun’s projects will seem unattractive to prospective volunteers.

All of this completely ignores the many great free software people who are working for Sun – to name just a few, Glynn Foster, Simon Phipps, Dalibor Topic, Ian Murdoch, Rich Burridge. These people are extremely clueful about free software and community interests. And the message which we have seen consistently from Jonathan Schwarz over the past couple of years reinforces that there is a commitment to free, community developed software, and there are many capable people working towards that commitment within Sun.

So why the difficulties? Many of them, I think, are project specific, and stem from this fundamental fact:

Community governance is hard.

Or, to be more precise, building appropriate community governance around what was proprietary software is insanely difficult.

If you look at the major Sun contributions over the years – OpenOffice, Java, OpenSolaris, Netbeans, GlassFish, GNOME, and more recently the purchase of MySQL, the only one of these projects which has been Sun approaching an existing community project and participating in it is GNOME. MySQL is also a special case, where Sun acquired GPL software.

In every other case, the projects have come from freeing a large body of code created in a proprietary environment. And every single project I know which was born like this has had trouble building a community. Ask these guys. This doesn’t just happen on its own.

When Jamie Zawinski resigned from the Mozilla project, it was one year since the code had been freed. When Joel Spolsky criticised them for not shipping product, it was over two years old. When Firefox (then Firebird) shipped its first usable browser, Mozilla was a grand old man of 4. When Firefox 1.0 shipped, the source code had been released over 6 years beforehand.

It is much easier to get governance right when it Just Happens. The guy who founded the project is the Boss. A bunch of active developers fork and become new Founding Fathers. The company controlling the software fully expects to pay everyone who will develop the software, and gets outside contributors to sign away their copyright.

In all of these cases, the expectations are set by the status quo. No-one would expect Mark Spencer to accept a feature from someone who hadn’t signed a copyright assignment. That’s not the way Asterisk works. No-one would expect a feature to be accepted into Linux if Linus doesn’t want it. People expect a consensus-based approach in Inkscape.

And yet from all of what I’ve read, some people expected Sun to go from proprietary kernel development (with a team of proprietary kernel developers, and layers of proprietary software managing managers above them) to a bazaar overnight (or, at the very least, very quickly). Perhaps that’s because of the way Sun presented this to the community, perhaps it’s because certain people knew that was an unrealistic expectation, and set Sun up to beat them over the head with the “you’re not open” stick when they “failed” to completely open the project in the first year.

Personally, I’d like to see as much energy going into helping Sun get things right as is currently going into knocking every effort they make to do so on their own. There are a great many people at Sun who don’t get it, and a great many who do. I’d like the latter to win through.

37 Responses

  1. Mark Phalan Says:

    Great post! As a sun employee I firmly believe that we’re on the right track. These things take time.
    What irks me is that many in the Linux community seem to *want* Sun to fail. This is discouraging and totally counter-productive to the ideals of Free Software that most in the Linux community claim to adhere to.

  2. Simon Jones Says:

    Actions speak louder than words.

    Why won’t Sun let Apache Harmony licence the JCK under reasonable terms???

  3. Dave Neary Says:

    Simon: “reasonable terms”? You don’t think the GPL is reasonable? You might as well ask why Linus doesn’t offer Theo de Raadt reasonable licencing terms for the Linux kernel.

  4. pinky Says:

    Great post Dave!
    I also can’t understand why so many people bashing sun. Sun has done a lot for free software and i’m really thankful for their work on and for free software!

    In the second part of your post you write a lot about a development community and the “open source development model”. Well, i believe that this model often creates better software but i’m not sure if it is always the best software development model.
    And even more important i don’t care about the development model. For me it is important that the software which runs on my computer is free software. Whether the software is developed by a small group of people or by a large community is an side issue. The important part is that the developer respects everybodys freedom!
    Sure i would hope that they choose the development model which creates the best “end product” but it’s a decision which the developer has to make and i accept their decision as long as at the end we get free software out of the development process.

  5. Calum Says:

    Part of the suspicion may be justified; even now, it’s fair to say some parts of Sun still don’t quite “get” open source 100%, so occasionally some folks’ words and actions aren’t always what you’d expect from a company that professes to have open-ness at its core. Looking out from inside, I have no reason to doubt that we really do, though– it’s just inevitably taking some people longer than others to adjust to what ‘open’ means in today’s world (historically, Sun was more of an ‘open standards’ company than an ‘open source’ one).

    I like to think that the Sun desktop team are doing their bit to lead the rest of the company by example though, because we’ve been (reasonably) successfully working in a few thriving open source communities– GNOME, Mozilla, OpenOffice and X.org– longer than, say, the Solaris kernel guys.

  6. Mox Says:

    So how many years does it _still_ take for the OpenOffice.org to become a truly collaborative effort by allowing the major non-Sun contributors to the “top” of the organisation?

    Technologically this could be started by using a truly distributed version control, like git, instead of the high-cost-to-contribute CWS system.

  7. Dave Neary Says:

    Mox: Personally, I think that the time came a couple of years ago for Sun to follow in the footsteps of the Eclipse Foundation, set up an independent incorporation for OOo, get 501(c)6 status, and have a board of people nominated from major contributors. OOo as a project is really too big to be easily accessible to a volunteer community, but the project has succeeded in gaining industry support – an initial board would doubtless include IBM, Sun and Novell as major members, but might also include CollabNet, the French ministry for the interior, maybe NeoOffice and StarXpert?

    In any case, the structure of a trade organisation, which aims more to have an ecosystem than a wide-open community, seems more appropriate for a project like OOo. It provides all of the things which Michael Meeks has been calling for – an independant governing body which owns trademarks and copyright, and is answerable to companies and communities in proportion to their contributions.

    Dave.

  8. Theodore Ts'o Says:

    Community governance is hard? I’m going to have to call bullshit on that. It really isn’t hard. What’s hard is letting go of control, which Sun has proven to have an extremely hard time doing. Look at Eclipse; it was released by IBM in November, 2001. Within 2 years, it had something like 80 companies participating in the code development, and in less than 2.5 years, a non-profit organization was founded where IBM didn’t even have a majority of seats on the board.

    With Open Solaris, it’s been 3 years, and still nearly all of the serious kernel/networking development is still being done by Sun; the SCM is still within the Sun firewall; and the governing board is at this point 100% Sun employees.

    There seems to be some question about whether this is malice or incompetence. I like to use Hanlon’s Razor, and assume incompetence over malice, but there are examples of code which has been released and processes that are followed where it takes much less than 3 years to get a genuine community developing and contributing code. Saying that “it’s hard” as an excuse starts wearing a bit thin after a couple of years.

    I will grant that some parts of Sun seem to be much better at it than others, and what happened with OpenDS may have been a low-level aberration; but quite frankly, I think it’s better to call a spade a spade, and talk about places where Sun *has* failed, and encourage them to do better.

    I’ve done the same with IBM and Linux; for example, I’ve talked quite frankly about how the JFS filesystem was a failure because it was developed as an IBM-only effort, and not enough effort was made to encourage developers beyond IBM. As a result, a significant amount of PY’s of engineering resource was wasted because that project ultimately failed, due to the fact that IBM didn’t understand how to do organic open source development.

    So sure, it’s valuable to laud Sun where they deserve it, and if they really will have a fully GPL’ed JDK by the end of the year, and release the TCK under a free-as-in-beer terms so that open source distributions can certify Java implementations, Sun should get kudo’s for it if they actually can do it.

    (I’ll reserve praises until they actually do it, since Sun has a habit of releasing press releases months or years before they actually do something, so they can get multiple marketing wins; once initially when they say something, then months or years pass, and then when they do it, there may or may not be an asterisk associated with whether they do it completely, followed by yet another press release and marketing push. So I’m a bit cynical nowadays about any Sun release that says “we will….”, because I want to see the one which says “we have done….”)

    At the same time, though, it is useful to call Sun to account when they don’t do the right thing, or when they don’t follow through with something they have promised or implied in a marketing campaign or on Jonathan’s blog. Like most humans and animals, corporations tend to respond when both a carrot and a stick are used.

  9. Michael Swift Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this posting. I’m a Solaris and Linux admin, but personally I consider Linux a poor mans server OS.

    Perhaps Sun doesn’t meet the rigid standards of some fanatical open source weenies… but look at what all they’ve done over the past 5 years, and now they’ve given us ZFS and dtrace.

    As for Java, I can understand why Sun keeps a tight grip on it. Look what happened to UNIX after it got out Bell Labs… a bunch of splintered, incompatible versions that caused nothing but headaches for the ISV’s. You should be thankful Sun’s trying to keep that from happening with Java.

  10. Charles Hixson Says:

    I considered Sun one of the good guys due to their sponsorship of OpenOffice. Then they subsidized “The SCO Group”s attack on Linux.

    That’s pretty hard to forgive. But they’re still supporting OpenOffice and now opening Java.

    I guess my attitude towards Sun is wariness. They frequently do things that I consider worthy and laudable, but then they do these other things. Things that aren’t promoted and thus are less likely to be heard. (Sun’s subsidy of SCOX might have a moral explanation, but Sun hid it as if they were ashamed of it, and I have never heard an acceptable justification of it…even though I can think of plausible scenarios.

    So. I don’t feel that I can trust Sun. This is, of course, true of all corporations, as they are subject to management change, but I don’t feel that I can trust Sun even while it maintains the same management. What I trust is “irrevocable commitments”. I trust, e.g., OpenOffice.org. And Sun supports that. But I trust it because it’s licensed under the GPL. And if OpenSolaris is licensed under the GPL, then I’ll trust that. If they choose GPL3, I’ll trust it even more, even though that license would make it incompatible with the Linux kernel. It’s an irrevocable commitment. It doesn’t guarantee future support, but it guarantees that what currently exists would vanish.

  11. Anon Says:

    Note that some Sun projects which do have open governance models did pick up sponsorship from Google Summer of Code (specifically, Apache Roller).

    I agree with your point, just not sure Google deserves being lumped in with the other haters (especially if they didn’t apply). OTOH, there is no doubt that there are tensions between Sun & Google over their open source strategies (eg, Java vs the Dalvik “JVM” “fork”)

  12. Boycott Novell » Links 29/04/2008: Peru Universities Teach Free Software; Armenia Gets GNU/Linux Distribution Says:

    [...] Sun: Trying to do the right thing [...]

  13. Roblag » Is OpenSolaris an elitist? Says:

    [...] Neary has a great blog post about Sun trying to do the right thing. It was refreshing to read this, and quite insightful. I’ve been watching the naming debate [...]

  14. Michael Meeks Says:

    What an interesting blog Dave. It is noticeable that Sun have got a lot of flack in public: on the other hand – do you think it is normal to take such things public in the first instance ? of course not – first things are discussed in detail man-to-man to the point of tedium & gridlock. Then, and only then do things become publicly ugly – and (in my experience) to a lesser degree.

    The “plea for more time” is something we constantly hear from Sun itself: “sure, the reason we don’t want to do the right thing right now is – we want to do it later!” (I paraphrase) – when you have heard this explanation for many years in a row – it becomes somewhat unconvincing (sadly).

    Faced with serious, persistant maladministration and injustice in the ‘communities’ Sun controls – what can you do ?.

    Admittedly – I’m a big fan of Glynn and the way Sun has engaged with GNOME – but there were many fewer temptations there: they didn’t own the code to start with and couldn’t screw about trying to extract advantage from that at every turn.

  15. Dave Neary Says:

    @Ted: It must be nice living in a world where everything is black & white. You’re right, giving up control is hard – it’s one of the most difficult debates that you’ll every have when convincing someone to turn commercial software into a community project.

    I’ve seen Xara, Wengo, IBM, Sun and others come up against this wall and come off worse. I’ve seen Digium, MySQL, Alfresco, SugarCRM and Trolltech, among others, skirt the question by maintaining unashamedly total control.

    There is no single right answer. I agree with you that IBM’s liberation of Eclipse is a great example of establishing an independent project with an appropriate governance structure. I suggested in comment 7 that OpenOffice.org could benefit from the same type of organisation.

    Right now, I don’t think that’s the right answer for Solaris, because unlike with OOo or Eclipse, there isn’t wide-ranging industry support – for the moment, Sun is the only game in town.

    And while it’s absolutely correct to laud praise on IBM for Eclipse, it’s worth noting that even now, 7 years after the project has been freed and 5 years after the creation of the Eclipse Foundation, 75% of the committers work for IBM, and an even higher percentage of the check-ins come from IBM employees. So yes, the project has succeeded in establishing an independent governing body, but code talks, and IBM still talks loudest.

  16. Safe as Milk » Blog Archive » OpenOffice.org - a candidate for a 501(c)6? Says:

    [...] up from my previous post, there has been some interesting discussion in the comments and elsewhere. One issue in particular [...]

  17. binarycrusader Says:

    Actually, Sun was a Google Summer of Code participant for the last year or two. It was only this year that they opted not to sponsor a project for us. As such, the snipes about open governance really quite unfounded.

    Our current governance is quite open — members of the community elected our current governance board. It doesn’t get much more open than that.

    The governance board controls everything but the trademark — just like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.

  18. binarycrusader Says:

    Quite frankly, as long as Sun is the one spending millions on these projects, I think demanding that Sun turn them into non-profits is silly at best.

    Not only is it fairly expensive to do so, but in what way would it benefit Sun? They’ve already given us the source code. Must they do everything else for us too?

  19. that’s whacked » for the last time, i’m not at Sun anymore Says:

    [...] Dave Neary’s nicely written blog… to Theodore, I’m not at Sun [...]

  20. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Theodore: I’m one of the OGB members, and I don’t work at Sun (I did in the past, but I was re-elected to the board as a regular ‘ol community member who doesn’t work for Sun)

  21. Dave Neary Says:

    @binarycrusader: It all depends on your goals, doesn’t it? If the goal of the people who freed OpenOffice within Sun was to create a vibrant developer community, or a vibrant ecosystem of ISVs building on the platform, or perhaps some other goal that I haven’t thought of, then the means to achieving that goal which are required are different, aren’t they?

    Perhaps Sun would like to spend less on OpenOffice, once way of doing that is to have others do more of the heavy lifting. But the only way that’s going to happen is if other companies in the OOo ecosystem feel like they are on a fair footing with Sun. And a non-profit gives you the opportunity to accomplish that.

  22. Ian Forde Says:

    I appreciate that Sun seems to be trying to create the perception that they’re constantly improving Solaris in order to compete in today’s *NIX market. But the fact is that DTrace and ZFS are poor excuses for the broken patch/package model that has shipped with Solaris for years. You want Solaris improved? Make it maintainable. Make it safely patchable. Make it so that there aren’t 2 different versions of tar on the box. I don’t want Sun and GNU versions of {tar,grep,whatever} on my box – I want one version of each. And I want it to work.

    Sun has the same problem that all sufficiently large companies encounter over time: momentum and resistance to change. People don’t want to truly gut Solaris and solve some of the deeply-seated problems that have persisted over the years. Solaris is a great OS if you’re a sysadmin stuck in 1995-2002. This is 2008 – I don’t have time to login to Sunsolve, download select patches, test them on a box, and worry about deployment. ‘yum update’ on a RHEL/CentOS box (or apt-get dist-upgrade on Debian/Ubuntu) just plain works.

    So if Sun truly wants to become a player in today’s *NIX market and have people take notice of their efforts, fix that first. I, for one, am finished with installing Solaris boxes that are a nightmare to keep updated. Like I did from 1995 onwards.

    And I suspect that many sysadmins out there are too.

  23. Theodore Ts'o Says:

    Dave,

    And while it’s absolutely correct to laud praise on IBM for Eclipse, it’s worth noting that even now, 7 years after the project has been freed and 5 years after the creation of the Eclipse Foundation, 75% of the committers work for IBM, and an even higher percentage of the check-ins come from IBM employees.

    That’s actually not true at all. Please see this web page:
    http://dash.eclipse.org/dash/commits/web-app/commit-count-loc.php

    Using numbers which are regularly updated automatically from the source repositories, looking at the 2008 YTD numbers, IBM has 32.7% of the active committers (161/493), and 32.8% of all committers (326/993). If you want to compare check-ins, it’s 46.6% (286,640/616,263) and from a LOC perspective, it’s 45.8% (8.5m/18.5m).

    More importantly, the statistics are being publically and openly tracked as metrics, and if code talks, you’ll see that IBM is now under 50% from a code perspective, just under a third from a code committers perspective (both active and overall).

    I do agree with you that code and numbers talks. I can tell you that at Dan Frye, a VP at IBM, has said publically that he’s very happy that IBM has fallen from #2 to #3 in terms of the number contributors to the Linux kernel. The fact that other companies are stepping up to the plate to make Linux kernel development even more organic is a good thing. So we’re happy that every single Linux kernel release in recent memory has had contributions from over 1,000 different developers from over 100 different companies. And we’re happy that organizations measure these so we have hard numbers, and make them publically available.

  24. Dave Neary Says:

    @Ted: For the entire repository, sure – most of the code hosted by Eclipse isn’t even originated in IBM now, and more power to them. But what you’re arguing is the equivalent of saying that Mozilla don’t contribute most of the code to Firefox, because most of the extensions are developed elsewhere.

    I have a lot of the respect for the way the foundation has built up an ecosystem of ISVs around the platform. But when you talk about contributions to Eclipse, the thing that makes sense is contributions to the Eclipse IDE. The platform, the PDT, the SDK, the JDT. The CDT. And that’s overwhelmingly IBM.

    I guess it’s true what they say about lies, damn lies & statistics. We’re looking at exactly the same data, and drawing different conclusions.

  25. Theodore Ts'o Says:

    @binarycrusader,

    Not only is it fairly expensive to do so, but in what way would it benefit Sun? They’ve already given us the source code. Must they do everything else for us too?

    My point is that by using a corporate centric model, Sun is doing everything for you. They are doing all of the development. And in the long run, that’s not healthy for the project. Just simply making the source available is not that big of a deal; back in 2000, Sun made Solaris 8 source code available for free download, and $75 if you purchased the media kit. The whole advantage of open source though is that you have a large development community; not just that you can look at the source.

    If you are a big customer, or at a large academic site, you can get access to the source code. We had that when I was at MIT Project Athena. So merely access to source code isn’t that big of a deal. It’s having a vital community which is what is most important. And that means you have to let go of a certain amount of control.

    To take a quote from Star Wars: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

    Or if prefer a quote from the Tao, “If you rush into action, you will fail. // If you hold on too tight, you will loose your grip. // Therefore the Master lets things take their course // and thus never fails. // She doesn’t hold on to things // and never looses them. // By pursing your goals too relentlessly, you let them slip away.”

  26. Ian Skerrett Says:

    I think this is a great post and I agree with a lot of your points, especially ‘community governance is hard’. IMHO I think Sun is trying too hard in terms of community governance.

    It is also appreciated your points about Eclipse. For obvious reasons, I tend to think we have a great model for community governance.

    However, I would like to correct some points about the stats. IBM is very much the main contributor to JDT and the Platform. However, Zend is the major contributor to PDT. IBM is definitely involved in CDT but over time the community have become very diverse.

    I am not sure why you say ‘the thing that makes sense is contributions to the Eclipse IDE. I appreciate you might still think of Eclipse as a Java IDE but lots of people think of Eclipse as being more than that. For instance Eclipse BIRT, our modeling projects or our embedded projects which have lots of different companies participating, including IBM. These are more than just extensions but vibrant open source communities in technology spaces away from a core IDE. Therefore, I think it is very valid to consider these contributions.

    Thanks again for the post.

  27. tecosystems » links for 2008-04-30 Says:

    [...] Safe as Milk » Blog Archive » Sun: Trying to do the right thing half a dozen folks have sent this in, in which dneary – a #redmonk regular – looks at Sun’s behavior with respect to open source (tags: sun opensource gnome opensolaris linux solaris foss) [...]

  28. UX-admin Says:

    @Theodore:

    It’s great to see that some of the Linux kernel developers are engaging in a conversation with the OpenSolaris community, and I see this as a start of great things to come.

    You seem to really want Sun to release control of OpenSolaris code and make the community be able to contribute more easily.

    At first, I regarded your essays as nothing more than slamming on the competition. But now that I think about it, will you answer me this:

    since you seem to want Sun to release control, and since you seem to want Sun to make it easy to contribute to OpenSolaris… let’s say they do that.

    If Sun does release control of OpenSolaris, will you contribute to OpenSolaris? You seem to want Sun to do what you say, well, are you asking them to do this just because you want to slam OpenSolaris in a big scheme of things(TM)…

    …or do you ask out of genuine interest and want to contribute and be a part of the OpenSolaris community?

  29. Dave Neary Says:

    UX-admin: On top of governance issues, there are also licence issues. Ted must not read Solaris source code as a Linux hacker, if he wants to avoid the possibility of writing code for the Linux kernel which is inspired by code from Solaris. The licence of Solaris (CDDL) is incompatible with the licence of Linux (GPL). Both are fine licences, they just don’t play well together.

  30. UX-admin Says:

    I don’t understand. What does licensing have to do with anything?

    Are you saying Theodore is somehow prevented from contributing code and/or patches to the OpenSolaris project?

    I can’t fathom how a person would be legally prevented from working on existing piece of OpenSolaris code, or writing new OpenSolaris contributions from scratch.

  31. Dave Neary Says:

    Allow me to explain.

    OpenSolaris code is licenced under the CDDL. You may not copy code from CDDL licenced projects to GPL licenced projects, and vice versa.

    In addition to copying code, there is also the possibility of tainting it by other means.

    Let’s say a former Adobe hacker started contributing code to the GIMP, Adobe could reasonably claim that the hacker was reproducing Adobe copyrighted stuff as free software without having the right to do so. They might also make patent claims, for example.

    So while there is absolutely no problem with Ted contributing to OpenSolaris, if he’s contributing in the same area as he contributed to the Linux kernel, then there’s a chance that he’s reproducing (perhaps subconsciously) code which is non-trivial, and which came from Linux.

    Which is a licence infringement.

    Concretely, I don’t expect any Linux kernel hackers to start helping with OpenSolaris, and vice versa.

  32. Simon Phipps Says:

    On tainting, I am not sure your fears are well-founded, Dave. You can only breach copyright by actual copying substantially from another work. Using residual knowledge to re-implement a feature would not IMO be a copyright infringement. It might use trade secrets that the employee learned if the feature is from a closed-source work, but that can’t apply in the case you posit of a GPL -> CDDL transfer. Patents could be a problem but they would probably be a problem for anyone implementing a feature that ‘clones’ one in a closed-source work.

    There’s far too much FUD around tainting, as I discovered when we were getting OpenJDK off the ground. My view is that there is little risk of tainting for most of us, and the the measures most communities have in place relating to it are a double-protection thing. I think it serves more to divide us as a FOSS community when it is applied community:community and I think that’s a shame.

    (Naturally IANAL and TINLA)

  33. Simon Phipps Says:

    Ted: The latest releases of Fedora and Ubuntu feature OpenJDK-based implementations of Java. All the code necessary for a 100% compatible Java runtime are under the GPL, which is how the fine folks at Red Hat were able to do it. Kudos especially to Lillian and Andrew at RH. Thanks also to Kodak for finally allowing us to GPL the code that was in the way. The remaining task is to rewrite the SNMP code which, although not needed for a compatible implementation, has traditionally been part of the JDK.

  34. UX-admin Says:

    One can not hold one in violation of an EULA or any other kind of license engineering. These kinds of cases already went to U.S. courts and have failed miserably, so that is absolutely a non-issue.

    That’s one. Two, and this is even recognized legally, you cannot be found in violation of a license for reimplementing something which you have a knowledge or understanding of, because nobody can take away from you that which you know.

    So a developer X working on technology Y is prefectly within his legal rights to go an implement the same algorithm/code/idea so long as the code is written from scratch, i.e. not identical or a clone of the original (in which case, it’s just a regular copy, and that would be infringement.)

    Lastly, the CDDL does not prevent any code licensed under it to be integrated elsewhere; it is the GPL that is problematic and that tries to prohibit such actions by imposing restrictions.

    I do not believe that a license discussion is in order here.

    My question to Theodore is very simple:

    is Theodore Ts’o criticising because he wants to bash on Sun and on OpenSolaris, or is he criticising because he would like to become a memember of the OpenSolaris community, and contribute to OpenSolaris?

    That is a very, very simple question, and I expect a very, very simple and straightforward, honest answer.

  35. UX-admin Says:

    “One can not hold one in violation of an EULA or any other kind of license engineering.”

    What I meant to write was:

    One can not hold one in violation of an EULA or any other kind of license because of reverse engineering.

    Reverse engineering is perfectly legal, in addition to being unprovable. Nobody can prove that someone else reverse engineered something.

  36. bronson Says:

    UX-admin: I have a question for you. Do you kick your cat because you enjoy kicking cats, or or do you kick your cat because you’re trying to teach him proper discipline?

    That is a very, very simple question, and I expect a very, very simple and straightforward, honest answer.

  37. UX-admin Says:

    I don’t have a cat.