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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Not news
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

Reply Score: 14

RE: Not news
by -oblio- on Mon 28th Jul 2008 18:41 in reply to "Not news"
-oblio- Member since:
2008-05-27

Do not forget that the Free Software Foundation also requires copyright assignment. In my humble opinion, the problem is not as much with licensing or copyright assignment, as it is with project management and control. Think about GCC and EGCS. FSF has a pretty centralized development methodology, which at some point can suffocate a project's development. Ironically, FSF is more cathedral than bazaar.
From what I hear/read, Sun is pretty similar, they tend to have a pretty tight grip on their OSS projects (see Java for example).

Classical "let's wait and see" material.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Not news
by diegocg on Mon 28th Jul 2008 18:46 in reply to "RE: Not news"
diegocg Member since:
2005-07-08

Do not forget that the Free Software Foundation also requires copyright assignment.

I didn't not forget it.

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)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Not news
by pinky on Tue 29th Jul 2008 15:23 in reply to "RE: Not news"
pinky Member since:
2005-07-15

Ironically, FSF is more cathedral than bazaar.


It's not really ironically. The goal of the FSF and the GNU project was always software freedom. This has nothing to do with a special development model. Open Source advocates often want to focus on an development model (community prjects) but the Free Software movement doesn't really care how you develop the software as long as the users of the software have freedom.

Edited 2008-07-29 15:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Not news
by javiercero1 on Mon 28th Jul 2008 18:48 in reply to "Not news"
javiercero1 Member since:
2005-11-10

I take you don't know how the linux development works...

A lot of people seem to equate free software with lack of ownership (physical or intellectual), which is not even remotely the case.

If novell feels so strongly about OO they are welcome to start and open their own office suite.

The level of entitlement in certain circles is astounding.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Not news
by diegocg on Mon 28th Jul 2008 19:00 in reply to "RE: Not news"
diegocg Member since:
2005-07-08

A lot of people seem to equate free software with lack of ownership (physical or intellectual), which is not even remotely the case.


And I've never said the contrary, so I just don't get your point. In fact, I couldn't have written my previous comment if I didn't know that. Care to explain yourself?

Edited 2008-07-28 19:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Not news
by -oblio- on Mon 28th Jul 2008 19:01 in reply to "RE: Not news"
-oblio- Member since:
2008-05-27

"If novell feels so strongly about OO they are welcome to start and open their own office suite. "

This would be TERRIBLE. Presumably FOSS projects mean a common/shared source base, and less "NIH syndrome". And Novell seem to be investing quite a bit in OO.org, to be fair.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Not news
by rjamorim on Mon 28th Jul 2008 19:30 in reply to "Not news"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

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.

[...]

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.


Well, what do you know... Novell also requires copyright assignment if you want your patch accepted into Evolution or Mono:
http://www.gnome.org/projects/evolution/patch.shtml
http://www.mono-project.com/FAQ:_Licensing#Why_does_Novell_require_...

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Not news
by alexandru_lz on Mon 28th Jul 2008 19:54 in reply to "RE: Not news"
alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

Well, yes, but apparenly, they do it for Everyone's Good while Sun is just ripping people off.

I call bullshiFt on this, really. I'm sure that if a Sun developer had been interviewed about Go-OO, he'd have said the same thing, only reversed (Novell is not open enough with Go=OO, bring us all your codez).

Business is still business, even if you're selling open-source work, and this is the best proof.


Edit: I can already see Balmer's argument. Why switch to open office, when these guys can't even decide which one is really open, and take their time to fight each other instead of actually writing some code? Frankly, I'd really buythat argument.

Edited 2008-07-28 19:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Not news
by Amaranth on Mon 28th Jul 2008 21:36 in reply to "RE: Not news"
Amaranth Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, what do you know... Novell also requires copyright assignment if you want your patch accepted into Evolution or Mono:
http://www.gnome.org/projects/evolution/patch.shtml
http://www.mono-project.com/FAQ:_Licensing#Why_does_Novell_require_...

Actually Evolution no longer has this requirement. It's a recent announcement, the website has yet to be updated.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Not news
by miguel on Mon 28th Jul 2008 22:37 in reply to "RE: Not news"
miguel Member since:
2005-07-27

[redundant post]

Edited 2008-07-28 22:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Not news
by aent on Tue 29th Jul 2008 01:17 in reply to "RE: Not news"
aent Member since:
2006-01-25

Actually, evolution stopped requiring copyright assignment a few weeks ago. Not sure about mono

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Not news
by calc on Fri 1st Aug 2008 00:03 in reply to "RE: Not news"
calc Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, what do you know... Novell also requires copyright assignment if you want your patch accepted into Evolution or Mono:
http://www.gnome.org/projects/evolution/patch.shtml
http://www.mono-project.com/FAQ:_Licensing#Why_does_Novell_require_...


Wow it was hard to find that out, huh? What with him covering that in detail in the article...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Not news
by danieldk on Mon 28th Jul 2008 19:45 in reply to "Not news"
danieldk Member since:
2005-11-18

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.


Oh, please. First there are complaints that their software is not FLOSS software, which may have been a valid criticism in some cases (e.g. Java as a development platform). In the meanwhile, they have open sourced projects that are worth millions if not billions of dollars, and now people tell them they are not FLOSS enough due to the way that they run their projects (or their use of the CDDL license).

These are their projects, so they choose how to run it. And if they want to use copyright assignment, I can fully understand, they have invested a lot in these code bases, so they want to be the owner. Does it slow down development? Maybe, but that's their choice.

Can we please stop talking about these issues as if it is morally wrong to choose different licenses, require copyright assignment, or whatever?

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Not news
by Ressev on Mon 28th Jul 2008 23:11 in reply to "RE: Not news"
Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

And just to follow through with your comment, it is not as if Sun is twisting your arm to contribute or pulling the wool over your eyes: you know what you are agreeing to when submitting code.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Not news
by tomcat on Wed 30th Jul 2008 06:17 in reply to "RE: Not news"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Can we please stop talking about these issues as if it is morally wrong to choose different licenses, require copyright assignment, or whatever?

Ultimately, "open source" boils down to whether the source code is available. That's the heart of the issue, and pretending that the license is the litmus test for "open" is a load of crap. Just show me the source code, and then get the f out of the way, people.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Not news
by trembovetski on Tue 29th Jul 2008 22:05 in reply to "Not news"
trembovetski Member since:
2006-09-30

In SCA (Sun Contributor Agreement, required for contributing to OpenJDK and OpenSolaris) there's no "copyright assignment". There's copyright sharing, which is done by many other open source projects. You still retain your rights, but you share them with Sun.

Also, people who worked on free Java implementations don't seem to have any problems with signing the SCA to work on Openjdk.

Dmitri

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Not news
by sakeniwefu on Wed 30th Jul 2008 01:43 in reply to "RE: Not news"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

But it still means the code is GPL for everyone but Sun who can still release closed source versions without contributing the killer features back. If they used the BSD license everyone would have the same rights. In this case Sun has more rights than the other authors and users. I think it is clear they are abusing the community. Also, an OpenOffice branch that didn't have to be constantly pimping Java would probably be superior.

Reply Parent Score: 2