Ulrich Drepper of Red Hat on the CDDL

01 Feb '05 - 04:11 by benr

Ulrich Drepper of Red Hat has posted a [...] message on the Red Hat GlibC dev mailing list, subject line: "regarding the Solaris trap". I won't repost it here, read it for yourself. So much for OSI approval meaning something eh? I'm just alittle supprised that people are looking at OpenSolaris as nothing more than a Pick-n-Pull fest that suddenly got rained on by the CDDL. Is GNU code so bad that it needs to gut any goodies in the OpenSolaris codebase? Of course not! So many people just seem to be approaching this whole thing in the wrong way... CDDL wasn't expressly "intended to be incompatible with the GPL", it was intended to guard some freedoms that the GPL doesn't provide. GlibC is of course LGPL, which is imho a much nicer license. (FYI: in some cases I personally use the GPL specifically because it's viral, but I don't think its for everyone and everything. In the future I will be considering CDDL instead which is a much nicer balance than GPL vs BSD.) Honestly, did people really think that the minute OpenSolaris code was avalible it'd be ripped to shreds and integrated into other projects? Sun isn't out to sue the world, and if they ever looked to be "dubious" I'd be pounding down the doors, I know where Jonathan's office is and I can buy a megaphone in a pinch. This isn't a trap! It's simply an open license that protects the developer, the contributer and the distributer and I for one think its a really well found balance. Sorry to rain on your parade, but CDDL provides a fair and level playing field for all sides involved, too bad if that means a rip-o-rama can't be put on the calander.

I can tell you one thing for certain. As a pilot member I saw and reviewed the license (along with the other pilot members, internal and external) prior to OSI submission. As soon as I got the license I printed it, got a cup of coffee and when out side to chain smoke for about an hour while marking it up. Some changes needed to be suggested and they were accepted by Sun. After reading over it acouple times I liked it but re-read it with the "Would I use this as a general license for my own code with no relation to Sun and/or OpenSolaris?" and the answer was yes. Several good options are around, from "I don't give a rats ass what you do, just leave my name on it" (BSD), to "Friends don't let friends not GPL, touch this code and you too will be GPL... because thats freedom" (GPL), to "You respect me, I'll respect you, share alike and prosper" (CDDL). Anyway, the point is, I'm not evil, I'm not dubious... I'm just a guy at home that likes to code and thinks Solaris is a really great platform even though I like Linux in some instances and I definately like the GNU but don't think it's for everyone... I'm not plotting against Linux or looking to make money or cash in, but I signed off on CDDL. Its the right thing, its the responsable thing. Why thats so outragious I don't know. Remember, it's not the CDDL that won't play with GPL, it's GPL that won't play with CDDL. CDDL and BSD can combine with no problems.

Stay tuned for NC05 Q1 later today... hopefully Jonathan addresses some of these concerns.

- - C O M M E N T S - -

Funny your rip-o-rama comment. Think about who would be doing the rip-o-rama with the IBM contribs if they were under the BSD.
The GPL is about “If you don’t help me, I don’t help you”, none said it was about freedom.

Luis - 01 February '05 - 05:42

I think Mr. Drepper overreacted in his post. My take is that the CDDL is actually a very good license with clear intentions. It even provides patent protection which is a nice advantage over similar licenses. Most people are probably worried about what would happen to them if their own (lets say GPL licensed) projects use techniques covered by Sun patents. There is no CDDL to protect them in this case. But this situation is no different if there would be no CDDL at all. After all patents and copyrights are different animals. I for myself welcome Sun’s contributions to the open source community. I am confident that as time goes by the community will appreciate OpenSolaris.

Anonymous - 01 February '05 - 08:14

Disregarding the inflamatory subject line, the main object of the post is to try to protect GNU library code against the incorporation of Opensolaris code, by requiring
contributors to grant assignments of copyright. This isn’t unreasonable in itself; the injunction not to read the code seems unnecessarily extreme however (a developer can read code without immitating or copying it, although if there were ever a dispute, it is helpful to be able to claim, truthfully, that one has never read it). Of course, any ideas one picks up from reading code may be subject to patents in countries that recognize software patents, but in this case Sun has been making reassuring statements recently, which one hopes will be backed by more precise legal language regarding the scope of their patent grant.
Ben is correct in noting that it is the GPL which gives rise to the incompatibility. A license could be written that offers all the protections of the GPL but which does not require all of the code to be licensed under exactly the same terms, thereby reducing the compatibility problems somewhat.
The CDDL achieves what it was intended to do, and like the MPL offers a clear, file-based criterion for determining what is covered and what is not. Again, the main objections are likely to come from those who think the combining of free and non-free code ought to be discouraged; and those objections apply to many other free software licenses as well.

Jason (Email) - 01 February '05 - 19:16

While individual over reactions can be understood, the response of the Linux community as a whole essentially labeling SUN as a MS stooge or Open Source traitor is surprising. I think the Linux guys are out on a jihad to get Sun. [[http://sidart.blogspot.com/2005/01/lin..]]

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