Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 16th Jun 2007 21:32 UTC, submitted by Oliver
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "There's been a lot of talk on lists and blogs about an exchange between Linus Torvalds, Jonathan Schwartz and Theo de Raadt regarding licensing and documentation. It all started with a 'cynical' message from Linus about Sun's motivation with regard to Open Source. Jonathan Schwartz responded by extending Linus a dinner invitation. What? The romance was briefly interrupted by a message from Theo pointing out the doublespeak."
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RE[2]: Totality of Comments
by ValiSystem on Sun 17th Jun 2007 10:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Totality of Comments"
ValiSystem
Member since:
2006-02-28

I agree with you that linux do not have a "corporate level" in his communications. But i would not be surprised if he simply don't want to.

I agree that it does not seem to be professional, but "professional", here, since everything is analyzed, means "with a strategy". I don't think that linux wants to play the industry game with its machinations. I think that he wants to keep his role of "leader of amateur project" and the naivety that goes with.

Why ? because linux hackers wont like the duplicity and unclear positions that any strategy in communication implies. Hackers are hard enough to manage, and since linux project do not have any mean to keep people working with them, you must not corrupt the soul of the project. And i'am pretty confident that Linus himself hates to calculate the impact of what he says to business.

The other point is that linus do not represent any corporation. He does not represent any business. So then, what are the reason to be happy of sun openness other than technical ? none ! simply none ... And since technical (in computer and legal terms) are not really satisfying, linus says "i'am not satisfied". This is the nature of open source, this is why open source is what it is. Business and open source mix well together under the condition that you do not try to keep your open source project under the business rules. You can run an open source project and try to do business with it, but the opposite will always fail.

This is the "here is my code and do business with it if you want" behavior. The developer might be happy to be paid for his job, but whatever happens, he don't want his work to be conditioned by your business problems, especially if they are political. This is the main reason of open source success, and this is why i want linus to continue to be rude with business. Playing corporations games won't pay, because it is not the how open source works.

[edit: typos]

Edited 2007-06-17 10:22

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Totality of Comments
by butters on Sun 17th Jun 2007 12:57 in reply to "RE[2]: Totality of Comments"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Linus said that there is no reason to move Linux to the GPLv3 unless Sun does the same with OpenSolaris and ZFS in particular. He implied that Sun will not use the GPLv3 if Linux goes GPLv3. Therefore, he claims, the ball is in Sun's court. If Linux does not go GPLv3, it will be because Sun is not interested in license compatibility. Sun is the enemy.

This is Linus playing defense. He started by restating the fact that he doesn't agree with the philosophy of the FSF. But many of the Linux kernel developers do, and they represent an important bloc that could leave if OpenSolaris goes GPLv3 and Linux does not. This is why he's dialing up the rhetoric on Sun's nefarious intentions concerning the GPLv3. Linus had the choice of whether to take the lead on GPLv3 or attack its proponents, and he made his choice.

Linus is wrong about Schwartz. They are so close in terms of their positions on various aspects of free software. I really do think they should have dinner and discover just how much they agree upon. Putting Linux and OpenSolaris under the same license (or mutually compatible licenses) would be a landmark moment in the history of free software. It's bigger than any issue Linus may have with the de-fanged TiVo language.

License proliferation is perhaps a greater threat to free software than software patents. While we can only do so much about software patents, we have an opportunity to make a powerful statement against license proliferation. The first step is for Linus to realize that license proliferation isn't his pet issue that he can use to attack Sun. What the free software community doesn't need right now is for Linus' cynicism to get in the way of a potential breakthrough.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Totality of Comments
by elsewhere on Mon 18th Jun 2007 20:25 in reply to "RE[3]: Totality of Comments"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

This is Linus playing defense. He started by restating the fact that he doesn't agree with the philosophy of the FSF. But many of the Linux kernel developers do, and they represent an important bloc that could leave if OpenSolaris goes GPLv3 and Linux does not.


What's the basis for that statement? There hasn't exactly been an outpouring of support from the kernel community to date for v3. On the contrary, the core developers (an inarguably important bloc) have taken a public unified stance against v3. Aside from that, contributing to openSolaris will require assigning copyright and permitting code use under CDDL as well as giving Sun leeway to license your code in the future as they see fit.

There always seems to be this mildly arrogant undertone from the FSF community that Linus is too obtuse to accept the "spirit" of the GPL, so they fail to accept that developers (and those commercial interests paying the developers' salaries) may be contributing specifically because of his attitude, not despite it.

I'm really not convinced that if Sun goes ahead and dual-licenses openSolaris under v3 that there will be any mass or even miniscule exodus from the linux kernel camp. A significant amount of linux developers are paid, and those that contribute voluntarily are just as likely to be attracted to the open nature of the development model as they are by the four freedoms. Even allowing that some developers may be contributing in the "spirit" of the four freedoms, I can't see them jumping at the opportunity to sign their code over to Sun with no guarantees that it will remain free and open.

If unwilling to submit patches/work upstream, then the alternative is that the v3 proponents wind up forking a v3-only openSolaris and keeping it unavailable to Sun or CDDL developers. I think that would potentially be more damaging and frankly, pointless, than the existing license clash.

Hell, I think the apparent inability of the linux kernel to shift licenses due to self-ownership of code underscores the strength and resilience of the license that Linus chose, and the reason he chose it. Some people will be drawn to that, as much as some will be drawn to v3 for philosophical reasons.

Reply Parent Score: 2