Linked by Tony Steidler-Dennison on Mon 28th Jul 2008 17:32 UTC, submitted by zaboing
Oracle and SUN In an interview with derStandard.at, Novell developer Michael Meeks talks mostly about Sun's lack of openness in regards to OpenOffice.org. He goes as far as stating that if Sun dropped out of OOo-development this "wouldn't be an entirely negative thing". He also goes on to talk about promoting Go-oo instead, and emphasizes the importance of breaking down the barriers between GNOME and KDE.
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by diegocg on Mon 28th Jul 2008 18:34 UTC
diegocg
Member since:
2005-07-08

Sun requires contributors to transfer their copyright to them if you want to get your code merged in the official openoffice.org project (just like in opensolaris and java, BTW). And then, because they have copyright rights, they're allowed to add closed-source "addons" and sell it in a propietary way. Which is exactly what Sun does.

Yes, Sun opensourced OO.org, and opensolaris and java, but their projects do not exactly encourage opensource development in the same way other FOSS projects do. It feels kinda weird to contribute to a "open source project" and then see how the company that setup the project uses that to force a requeriment of "copyright assignment" if you want to get your code merged in the official repositories. And then see how they use that to release propietary versions of the code you contributed. Yes, you can fork the code. But a single person is not going to succeed, because the "official" version has more developers and your fork will quickly become obsolete.

Its not nice. And it has effectively harmed those projects. IBM put a lot of efforts (mainly performance and accesibility) in openoffice, but did not contribute it back to openoffice.org. Because of the copyright assignment (only recently they agreed to start working in OO.org - which means several years wasted and lots of improvements that are not useful because the divergences in the code). And other companies who contribute to OO.org, like Novell or redhat, they sign the assignment, but they clearly don't like it (that's why go-oo.org exists: they clearly want to encourage sun to drop the copyright assignment, or transfer the openoffice project to a FSF-like foundation), because it's unfair to them. It also doesn't encourages other companies to contribute.

Compare however with, say, the linux kernel: There's no copyright assignment, so nobody can make propietary versions. It's fair to everyone who contributes so everyone tries to contribute, while in opensolaris everything is too focused in what Sun research teams do or stop doing. Or compare it with the FSF: they also require copyright assignment in the GNU projects, but it's a foundation not a company that aims to money, and they don't use the copryright assignment to make propietary versions out of it (IOW: people knows they can trust the FSF)


Openoffice, opensolaris and java will improve so much the day sun kills the copyright asssignment, or the day other contributors join to completely fork the code and try to make sun-controled projects irrelevant.

Edited 2008-07-28 18:48 UTC

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