Open source advocate Bruce Perens and Novell Principal Engineer Adam Loughran appeared on Hawaii’s Think Tech Radio last month, discussing the economic benefits of using open source software (OSS). In the hour-long interview, which is available for download, host Don Mangiarelli provides a forum that allows a wide audience to better understand Linux, open source, and free software.
Interview on open source and Linux with Novell, Perens
2004-10-14 Novell and Ximian 7 Comments
i liked listening to that, i wish more places would offer their interviews in either mp3 or ogg to download as a file, so i can keep them for others to listen to too…
It’s sick that an advocate for open source that was origionally opposed to big software companies now join with them.
Deep down you know novell only cares about money and their patents (that they support) will limit any software they release openly.
There is a solution, and it comes in the form of open source patents. Suppose Novell develops an open source application, licenses it under an OSI-approved license, and patents it. What this means is that the code is available to any customer (paying customers in the case of commercial open source licenses) who wants to see/change it (possibly without contributing changes back to the maintainer, depending on the particular license). However, because Novell patented their implementation, no one other than Novell can sell or distribute their code unless it has been changed in a non-obvious manner (this third party would apply for a patent to secure this right).
This lays the groundwork for how to protect open source software. No matter whether Novell decides to make its open source software free or commercial, it guarantees that no other unauthorized entity can distribute their product.
@ddd – What’s sick is that an advocate for open source software is against allowing companies to profit from open source development. Patenting open source software offers companies the right to be the exclusive distributor of their software. The customer still gets the complete source code to mess with, and the patented software can even be free if so licensed. Any argument that starts with “deep down you know that…” is no better than the FUD that comes from the other side.
In my opinion, every software patent should require an open source implementation (although not necessarily the same one that the patent holder sells). How else can you prove that the claim is legitimate? While the GPL is “viral” in that is prevents the derivative works of GPL software from being non-GPL, it still makes sense to patent GPL software. Why not? The GPL is far more restrictive than a patent, and patent law is more established than the tenents of the GPL.
What is evil is the “method patents,” such as in the Eolas case. Their patent described a method of loading plug-ins for handling web content. No implementation is provided, so any software that follows the same “method” would infringe this patent. If it were required to provide an open source implementation to obtain a software patent, then it would have been clear that the tangled mess that is IE differs “non-obviously” from Eolas’ vaporware in its implementation of this plugin functionality. Or perhaps Eolas would have never been able to file the patent in the first place.
Perens has always been an ideologically motivated OSS activist. Here he realizes that Novell’s commitment to open source development and patenting will serve as an example of why open source is just plain better than proprietary software. Companies can keep their codebase open yet protected from unauthorized use. They can enlist the development help of their entire customer base. They control what is free and what is not. Their customers know what they’re getting and can take comfort in that they’re paying for software and services that have value.
In the beginning their was open source. It was free, and it was good. Then many people started using and developing for it, and it got much better. Suddenly they realized that this stuff is so good that people will buy it instead of proprietary software. It gives the customer more control over their software while the company maintains the same control. The commercial open source software could leverage the functionality of the free open source software making development much more economical. In the end, a utopian society developed where customers had a choice, and where using software that did not come with source code was like using a TV without a remote control: a thing of the past.
Why not? The GPL is far more restrictive than a patent, and patent law is more established than the tenents of the GPL.
both are wrong. patents can be far more restrictive than the gpl and gpl is based on copyright and everything is pretty much established except the point of derivation. thats a copyright grey area and gpl is not responsible for that
“Deep down you know novell only cares about money and their patents (that they support) will limit any software they release openly.”
I don’t know about Novell themselves caring about it. What I do know is their board of directors and stockholders have very high expectations of significant profit. Novell has a long history of delivering good profit flow, and I don’t see the company fathers tolerating less at this point.
Novell has largely wagered the entire future of their existance on their current projects. A lull in getting those dollars rolling in the door will sour their current direction in a big hurry. Even as large as Novell is, they may only have one shot to make something nice of all this, or they too will be attempting to sue their way to profit.
Thanks Eugenia, for posting the link to the radio broadcast. It was nice to hear more about not only Novell’s plans for the company and their services but also about their plans for SuSE Linux. I also liked hearing more about the implementation of LSB (Linux Standards Base) for the Linux community and OSL (Open Standards Legislation) so as to have software that can communicate better no matter what OS you use. Can someone clarify LAMP for me? I understand “L”=Linux, “A”=Apache and “P”=Perl but I missed what “M” stands for. Is “M” in regards to the Mono Project?
Can someone clarify LAMP for me? I understand “L”=Linux, “A”=Apache and “P”=Perl but I missed what “M” stands for. Is “M” in regards to the Mono Project?
Actually the “M” stands for MySQL since most web apps are database driven.
Also, the “P” can stand for either Perl, Python, or PHP.