Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 3rd Aug 2007 15:42 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "Last week at OSCON someone set up a whiteboard with the heading 'Tools We Wish We Had'. People added entries (wiki-style); this one in particular caught my eye: 'dtrace for Linux, or something similar'. So what exactly were they asking for? "
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zztaz
Member since:
2006-09-16

Or you could say that's between CDDL and the rest of the world.

Licenses matter. Putting code into the public domain has a poor track record in terms of building communities and long term support. Typical closed-source EULA's are even worse. A number of licenses, open and free in slightly different ways, have proven track records. The successful licenses all have limits or requirements of some sort.

The GPL is one of the most successful licenses available, so it must achieve a good balance between the conflicting goals of developers and users. Companies seem to like the fairness that comes with the tit-for-tat aspect; you can use my enhancements only if you make your own available, too. But the very features that make the GPL work make it incompatible with some other licenses.

The CDDL meets Sun's corporate needs. Again, the very features that Sun desired make it undesirable to others. That's the nature of licenses, and engineers should be used to the idea that optimizing for one parameter means trading off something else.

There is no one license that works for everyone. Some want the very feature that others object to. The licenses for the Linux kernel and DTrace don't mix, and neither will change. Perhaps that might have been avoided, but each project chose a license, and we must live with those choices. It's a done deal, drop it and move on.

Reinventing the wheel is not always a bad idea. Wheels were in use for thousands of years before someone thought of putting wheels on rails. Wheels had been in use for thousands of years before someone invented the pneumatic tire. You have to willing to reinvent the wheel before you can improve the wheel.

Linux developers may be behind in this sort of tool, but they now have an opportunity to observe DTrace in real-world use. Maybe they can reinvent the parts of DTrace that work the best, drop parts that are less useful, and improve on it here and there. There were license issues with BitKeeper, too, and that resulted in Git.

Reply Parent Score: 7

renox Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with your points except this one:
>>Putting code into the public domain has a poor track record in terms of building communities and long term support.<<

Uh, I wouldn't consider all the BSD OS, X Windows, Apache, a 'poor track record' sure Linux is even more successful but still that doesn't make those project unsuccessful..

Unless you consider 'gift' licenses (BSDv2, MIT, Apache) and 'public domain' different?
For all pratical purpose, there is no difference as those 'gift' licenses have basically no restriction.


About CDDL filling Sun business need: yes, and one of the big business need is to be incompatible with the Linux kernel.
I have no problem with this, I just wish that Sun would stop saying that Linux developers should port their CDDL code and acting surprised when Linux developers don't: that's also dishonest!

Reply Parent Score: 4

zztaz Member since:
2006-09-16

Releasing software under ANY license differs from placing it in the public domain. You surrender ownership when you place your work in the public domain. With the BSD license, you keep the copyright but grant broad permissions to people who don't hold the copyright. I use the BSD license as an example, but the effects are similar across a range of licenses.

BSD might seem as permissive as public domain, but there is an essential difference: a copyright notice indicating who owns the rights. It's hard to build a community if you don't know who the founding members are.

BSD, X, Apache and other projects are successful because they impose at least some terms, however minimal, on distribution. That was the point I was trying to make. They are also successful because the projects have a formal organization with rules regarding membership, who can commit code changes, and mechanisms for resolving disputes. Projects often fail when they neglect to define rules.

DTrace and Linux follow different rules. I don't care how many developers tell me not to worry about how those rules may or may not conflict. It's not a technical issue. Show me a professional legal opinion that CDDL code and GPL code may be combined and distributed by third parties, and I'll stop worrying.

'Open' is not a synonym for 'anarchy'. 'Open' does not mean 'no rules', it means that the rules are published and apply equally to all. I respect the GPL and CDDL, among other licenses. I don't speak for Linux or Sun, nor am I a lawyer, so my identity doesn't matter. But I have a question for the 'just do it' crowd:

Which license do you want me to violate? Either, or both?

Reply Parent Score: 1