Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Sun Microsystems Software Linux

Torvalds vs Schwartz GPL Wars 335

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the which-one-is-han-solo dept.
javipas writes "The controversial message published by Linus Torvalds (mirrored) in the Linux Kernel Mailing List was from the beginning to the end an open attack to Sun and its Open Source strategy. Linus criticized Sun's real position on GPL, and claimed that Linux could be dangerous to Sun. Upon his words, "they may be talking a lot more [about Open Source] than they are or ever will be doing." Jonathan Schwartz's blog has been updated today with a post that is a direct response to Linus claims, but in a much more elegant and coherent way. Sun's CEO notes that "Companies compete, communities simply fracture", and tries to explain why using GPL licenses is taking so long."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Torvalds vs Schwartz GPL Wars

Comments Filter:
  • It's flame time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vivaoporto (1064484) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:02AM (#19489787)
    There is nothing like media pitting two public figures against one another and, consequently, pitting supporters and detractors against each other, in order to generate some cheap polemic to exploit for some 15 minutes. Nothing to see here, move along.
    • Re:It's flame time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:15AM (#19489933)
      There is nothing like media pitting two public figures against one another and, consequently, pitting supporters and detractors against each other, in order to generate some cheap polemic to exploit for some 15 minutes.

      It's called "politics".
    • Re:It's flame time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OpenGLFan (56206) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:29AM (#19490095) Homepage
      Good point. It's definitely interesting. I think sometimes it's good to see science and engineering as human pursuits, but even when it may look like the spittle is flying across with the packets, these are just two intelligent guys with differing points of view who would probably buy each other a beer when they're done for the day.

      Even Linus and Andy Tanenbaum respect each other, I think. Otherwise they wouldn't care what the hell the other thought. The verbal fencing is just nerdy snark at DEFCON 2. If you can't read "You would've failed in my class" with a chuckle, then you've been watching too much politics on TV. Linus would've wrecked the curve in Tanenbaum's class. He didn't design a monolithic kernel structure out of ignorance; he had a goal, and he thought that was the best way to go about it.

      I wouldn't quite say "nothing to see here"...but there's no actual malice. These are two guys who are smarter than I am; I read what they think and why, and am smarter for it on both sides.
      • Re:It's flame time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by asninn (1071320) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:24AM (#19491759)
        Hindsight's always perfect. Do you really expect Tanenbaum would have had any qualms about letting him fail if Linux had been a class project, with no actual real-world use? I don't think he would've just done so right away without giving Linus a chance, but it would've been mild coercion at best - the "I'm the professor, trust me, I know what's right and wrong, so why don't you change your design now, son, you'll get a better grade that way... after all, I *am* the professor, and I control your grades, if you catch my drift" kind.

        So without any actual proof (or even evidence) that Linus' design was solid, he certainly would've failed. And even now, I don't think that Tanenbaum admits that monolithic or hybrid kernels (because let's face it, Linux isn't 100% monolithic) are actually better; the most you'll probably get out of him is "yes, they're being used widely, and they haven't failed catastrophically, but microkernels are still be fundamentally better".

        He's a zealot, basically (and I don't automatically mean in a bad way - he's just a zealot the same kind that, say, RMS is a zealot), whereas Linus is a pragmatic engineer (he sure has some strong opinions, too, but he can always back them up and he's willing to change them if presented with convincing evidence that they're wrong). That's the fundamental difference between the two, and it's also why Linus would've failed if he had been in Tanenbaum's class and if he hadn't changed his design according to Tanenbaum's wishes.

        That being said, to not make this an entirely off-topic post, keep in mind that Schwartz is not an engineer, either. He wants to sell you a product - nothing more, nothing less.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gorshkov (932507)

          He's a zealot, basically (and I don't automatically mean in a bad way - he's just a zealot the same kind that, say, RMS is a zealot),
          I understand your point, but I have to disagree with it.

          Tannenbaum isn't a zealot - he's an academic, as in theoretical.

          RMS is most definitely a zealot - as in rabid. He'd have done Simon proud.
      • Could you imagine having Linus Torvalds in your advanced OS design class? **Shudder** He would likely heckle the instructor over every point and then ruin the curve on the exams (Or fail every project and final because of differing viewpoints.)
    • Re:It's flame time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:40AM (#19490241) Homepage
      There is nothing like media pitting two public figures against one another

      I know, this is obviously going to drive Paris back to page 7 of the tabloids. We'll just have to suffer through the 24/7 news coverage on all the cable news channels until this explosive story dies out. I feel bad for Torvalds and Schwartz for having to put up with the constant paparazzi swarming around them, but if you live so much in the public eye like them it's something you just have to deal with.
    • Yes, they're like feral beasts.
    • Re:It's flame time (Score:5, Informative)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:27AM (#19490847) Homepage
      Actually, had you bothered to read TFA, you would see that there is no flaming at all in Shwartz's post. He even invites Linus to dinner at the end. I am no fan of sun (although since GPLing Java I am starting to lean that way, I admit), but his reasoning in the post for several things (licensing choices of Solaris, relationship to Linux, etc.) makes a lot of sense.

      Sure, we may see a nice flamewar here on Slashdot. But Sun, for their part, are not playing into that in any way. Actually even Linus's post was fairly tame (by Linus standards at least, he mentioned that he could be wrong about some things).
      • Re:It's flame time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 2short (466733) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:05AM (#19491463)

        There's no flaming in either post, nor really much at all in Schwartz's.

        Someone on the LKML was talking about how Sun says lots of nice things about what their going to do with open source. Linus said essentially, "Looking at their history, they say lots of nice things, but only do anything substantive when it's in their self interest, as you'd expect."

        Then Schwartz responded by.... saying lots of nice things.

        • To be fair... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Eric Damron (553630)
          "Then Schwartz responded by.... saying lots of nice things."

          Schwartz said more than just some nice things. He explained that moving an existing product to the GPL is more difficult than a product that you start and just put under the GPL to begin with. The existing products can have third party code that was licensed. These parties may not want their code put under the GPL.

          I can see that you would want to know where every line of code came. This could take time. If you found third party code that was l
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by 2short (466733)

            Certainly, re-licensing a significant code base with lots of contributors is not trivial; it is a good point, if one Linus is pretty obviously already aware of. But Linus' point is that historically, announcements from Sun about the great things their going to contribute to the open source community significantly outstrip the amount of great things that have eventually become available for inclusion in GPL(2) licensed projects like the Linux kernel. This is not a point that can be convincingly countered w
    • by Bamafan77 (565893)

      "There is nothing like media pitting two public figures against one another and, consequently, pitting supporters and detractors against each other, in order to generate some cheap polemic to exploit for some 15 minutes. Nothing to see here, move along."
      No one has "pitted" anyone against anyone. These are two people giving opinions. People need to have the room to disagree with each other without being accused of "starting a fight".
  • So this could be a new historical Linus debate.
  • Apparently they don't feel like a /.-ing today. :-)
  • ahh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mockylock (1087585) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:06AM (#19489829) Homepage
    "I see your shwartz is as big as mine."
  • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:08AM (#19489841) Homepage Journal

    Many moons ago, I was at Sun Opcom when they were trying to release Solaris 8 source to anyone who would sign a non-disclosure, and it was insanely hard to find the rightful owners and get permission to do so much as publish the code.

    If my leaky memory is correct, a number of files had to be rewritten from scratch, just to be able to release them to an audince of friendly customers.

    You can imagine how hard it is to hunt down and relicense everything as GPLv3, for either Linux or Solaris! Kudos to Scott and Jonathan for their perseverance.

    --dave

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crush (19364)

      I agree ... kudos to Sun as long as they actually do release everything GPLv3! If that happens then Sun have a winner on their hands for people that want Free software that can't be taken advantage of by manoeuverings like the Novell/Microsoft deal. Coupled with a Free java that makes for a much more appealing platform than a GPLv2 GNU/Linux. I'm sure that Linus is aware of that, and indeed his position has softened from complete hostility to GPLv3 to trying to negotiate with the hated FSF.

      To paraphra

      • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:48AM (#19490351) Homepage Journal

        Oh, I do think Linus wants to help people, it's just that he's a very practical kind of person, and isn't motivated by the same things as either the FSF or a company. And perhaps isn't all that impressed by either (;-))

        I suspect he's going to be impressed if and only if FSF release a clean GPLv3 and Sun releases an GPL'd Solaris. Those would make it far more practical for he and the Solarii to compete in the area which I consider most important: code quality.

        --dave

        • by Pausanias (681077) <pausaniasx@gmail ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @03:23PM (#19495753)
          This is fascinating. It seems to me through the number of references in Linus's post to ZFS that he (or at least members of the kernel team) are drooling over it. This is all actually working quite the way RMS intended. Linux may be a GPLv2 stronghold, but as soon as some piece of GPLv3 software comes along which is a *must have* i.e. ZFS, enough pressure will fall on the major copyright holders that they will consider going through the PITA of upgrading the kernel to GPLv3.

          That may be the major reason for Linus's striking change of heart on GPLv3.

          You have to wonder whether RMS talked to Sun at all about this. We do know that he has praised the company for the decision to GPL Java. If RMS wanted to strongarm Linux into a license change, what better way to do it than through ZFS?
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      With a FOSS project as huge and old as the Linux kernel, it may not even be -possible- to track everyone down. Some will be deceased, or simply missing. Heck, there might even be some in the witness protection program, for all we know. There's just too many people from too many different backgrounds to expect to contact everyone or their relatives for permission.

      And that's just assuming all of them WILL consent.

      For newer FOSS projects, it's not as hard. Of course as much time hasn't gone by, but there's
      • by QuantumG (50515)

        For newer FOSS projects, it's not as hard.
        For most projects the "or later version" language is sufficient.

        Personally, I would have preferred it if Linus never used the GPL. He only went with it to make some people happy, then he made exceptions to it. He would have been better off using something that was exactly what he wanted.

        • by Aladrin (926209)
          Ah, I meant license changes in general, not necessarily GPLv2 to GPLv3. I worked on a project that was initially a license that didn't say what they really wanted it to, then switched to a non-commercial license. They later switch again to the GPL, I believe. Because they had obtained full rights to the code, it was an easy transition, even with people that would have been hard to contact.

          As for the GPL... I don't like it. I think the LPGL is a -much- more fair license and still does what it was suppos
      • by davecb (6526) *
        The "assignment of rights" aproach has been controversial: both Sun and the FSF have been flamed at various times for proposing it. Nevertheless, it's not a bad idea, especially if the rightholder is soemthing like a foundation.
  • oh man (Score:5, Funny)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:11AM (#19489871) Homepage
    And to prove the sincerity of the offer, I invite you to my house for dinner. I'll cook, you bring the wine.

    most.. awkward.. date.. ever.
  • The LKML is mirrored into the newsgroups 'linux.kernel' and 'fa.linux.kernel', you can find the message on your friendly local newsserver as Message-ID: <8vgNb-60b-21@gated-at.bofh.it> and Message-ID: <fa.szmWhTWYPwzbOWaH9H0wdBZU76U@ifi.uio.no>, respectively.

    Or via Google Groups:
    http://groups.google.com/group/linux.kernel/msg/87 f6f676dc00c0be [google.com]
    http://groups.google.com/group/fa.linux.kernel/msg /9dae088569c12eb4 [google.com]
    • by C_Kode (102755)
      Thanks, I was reading a one-way street (only able to read Jonathan's comments) in this story. :)
  • Linus is right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815)
    Sun are the proverbial me-too, camp follower company.

    They don't firmly commit to anything, but merely spend a certain amount of time chasing whichever particular ambulance they think is hot with their customer base at a given moment. When the wind changes, they go off in a different direction.
    • by ratboy666 (104074)
      "don't firmly commit".

      SUN is a publically traded company. They, by law "firmly commit" to the shareholders. After that, the rest is:

      - open source Solaris. Been in the works since Solaris 8. Includes ZFS, dtrace, and other good stuff.

      - buy OpenOffice.org, invest in it, and open source it.

      - nfs, nis, etc.

      Exactely what DO you want SUN to do? SUN even opened the processor arch for the SPARC. It was even the IEEE STANDARD processor -- and what happened? The COMMUNITY let Intel "win" with a proprietary arch. The
      • Look, just because Sun have been releasing open code (and hardware), on and off, since the '80s doesn't in any way mean that they're not me-too, Linux-wannabes. Just because they've given the community a Free Software operating system, office suite, language and runtime, etc. doesn't mean that they don't obviously hate open source. You obviously haven't been practising doublethink enough.
    • by l3v1 (787564)
      They don't firmly commit to anything, but merely spend a certain amount of time chasing whichever particular ambulance they think is hot with their customer base at a given moment. When the wind changes, they go off in a different direction.

      You could've just said that much shorter: Sun is a company.

  • TFS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LMacG (118321) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:16AM (#19489947) Journal
    The controversial summary sent by "javipas" to Slashdot was from the beginning to the end an open attack on Linus Torvalds and his "real" opinion posted to a mailing list . . .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:18AM (#19489967)
    It's working together, not working against each other. The F/OSS community is HUGE, but wasting resources is always silly. As Schwartz put it: "Let's stop wasting time recreating wheels we both need to roll forward."

    Very nice attitude.
    • Let's stop wasting time recreating wheels we both need to roll forward."

      This is _classic_ corporate PHB psychological warfare that simultaneously discredits Linus in this case and elevates Sun's position. It's intent is to weaken the stronger party by getting them angry.

      And, no, corporations can't "just get along" with individuals. Sun's job is to return a profit to its investors. They do that by crushing competitors when they aren't abandoning projects that didn't make enough money.

      If Sun sticks with th
  • by HairyCanary (688865) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:28AM (#19490087)
    Unfortunately, due to his position, his personal opinion counts for too much. He needs to be more careful posting incendiary comments like this, because the public at large interprets his comments as the position of the rest of the Linux (and dare I say, open source) community. It does not help that his comments are so obviously not well thought out. At least think it through before inserting your foot squarely in your mouth.
    • by fimbulvetr (598306) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:45AM (#19490317)
      What exactly is not well thought out about his comments? Incendiary? Which part? All I saw was caution and some speculation, no attacking. In addition, I saw several other high visibility maintainers agree with him.

      I also think it goes without saying that they speak for Linux, the kernel, when they offer their opinions. It seems like they've made good decisions up to this point, so we have no reason to not trust them. Sun has promises, but not much else outside of some garbage apps, which isn't much reason to trust them.
      • by gkhan1 (886823)
        I agree. I don't think he was all that incendiary, and he made some very good points. Also, while it is true that no one person can speak for Linux (like Jobs can speak for Apple or Gates for Microsoft), Linus still has the most important job in the entire Linux community, perhaps for all of open source. He's the project coordinator for the kernel, and he has the final say on what goes into it. Like it or not, he wields a lot of power and influence.
      • What exactly is not well thought out about his comments? Incendiary? Which part?

        The whole thing?

        first off: they may be talking a lot more than they are or ever will be doing.

        This is incredibly unfair given that Sun has released OpenOffice, Java, NFS, major GNOME improvements, Solaris, SPARC, and a variety of other significant items into open source. While Sun struggled for a while before they got it right (they were hesitant to give up their favorite lawsuit club for beating Microsoft over the head), they did eventually embrace true OSS licensing.

        While I understand his frustration with Sun's glacial pace, he needs to remember that Linux usage would be nowhere near where it is today if not for several key contributions by Sun.

        they sure as hell don't want to help Linux.

        Similarly not fair and incendiary. Yes, Sun has their own operating system. But they also sell a lot of Linux servers and even tried jumping on the distro bandwagon for a while. Again, Sun is having a lot of difficulty rationalizing the two different OSes. But that does NOT mean that they are hostile toward Linux development. Open sourcing Solaris isn't so much as an attempted coup (IMHO) as it is a rational attempt to find a middle ground between Sun's existing codebase and the Linux codebase.

        they'll not be releasing ZFS and the other things that people are drooling about in a way that lets Linux use them on an equal footing. I can pretty much guarantee that.

        I'm fairly certain that Linus will be eating those words in the future. ZFS is already under the CDDL license, which means that it can be included by distributions already. Just not folded into the core code. I'm certain that this will change with time, and that the CDDL will eventually be eschewed in favor of the GPL. Sort of like Sun's 500 licenses for Java before they finally got where they were going.

        See the OpenSolaris stuff - instead of being blinded by the code they _did_ release under an open source license, ask yourself what they did *not* end up releasing.

        Ok.

        Q: Self, what did Sun not release under OpenSolaris?
        A: Oh, that's easy self. They didn't release any code encumbered by previous licensing problems and/or someone else's trade secret. These components are the reason why most companies refuse to OSS their software even after they have no use for it anymore. Sun took a different approach and cleaned the codebase before release. They had the same problem with releasing the Java2D and JavaSound implementatons under the GPL. They were unable to release these components because they were owned by Kodak and Dolby respectively.

        Yes, they finally released Java under GPLv2, and they should be commended for that. But you should also ask yourself why, and why it took so long. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that other Java implementations started being more and more relevant?

        This is just plain hubris. Anyone who has spent time in the Java community knows why Sun was so difficult about releasing control over Java: Microsoft.

        Microsoft tried the whole Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish with Java. The only thing that saved it was Sun's legal department. It wasn't until MS was fully committed to their COOL project (ni, .NET/C#) that Sun felt they were in the clear. So they slowly released it, with a strong eye toward potential forking and incompatibilities. And to be perfectly honest, Sun never understood why the community wanted their codebase so badly. But the community pushed, and Sun eventually gave in. (Primarily due to Schwartz's leadership!)

        FWIW, I've worked with Sun several times. They really do work hard to be helpful, but they are also very methodical about it. For example, when the primary maintainer of a Linux distribution and I got in an argument about whether or no

        • by iggymanz (596061)
          Sun hasn't embraced open source, they only give away that which hasn't made them money and for which they are desperate to get more community input. (including Java). And note that opensolaris is not Solaris, two different operating systems. Sun is in trouble, and they're floating ideas to try to get some mind share they lost years ago.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ciggieposeur (715798)
          This is just plain hubris. Anyone who has spent time in the Java community knows why Sun was so difficult about releasing control over Java: Microsoft.

          I think Linus is right and you are wrong on Java:

          1. Sun still retains "control" over Java-the-platform through the JSR/committee process. GPL'ing the reference implementation doesn't affect their control of the trademark.

          2. The Microsoft lawsuit was settled for a LONG time before Sun started talking seriously about GPL. In the meantime MS was committed to
    • He needs to be more careful posting incendiary comments like this, because the public at large interprets his comments as the position of the rest of the Linux (and dare I say, open source) community.

      In order for OSS community to prosper, Linus needs to stop speaking at all. His arrogance alienates many people (including me) and (probably) companies.

      • In order for OSS community to prosper, Linus needs to stop speaking at all. His arrogance alienates many people (including me) and (probably) companies.

        Good idea. That would allow someone like Stallman or Raymond to become the OSS poster child. Talk about arrogance and alienation.

        • There are alternatives to all three you know. I've always thought Bruce Perens did a pretty good job of representing both the open-source and free-software communities.

          Torvalds is influential because of his success at promoting a single piece of software (the Linux kernel), but he's not even a fan of open-source or free-software, making often pseudo-pragmatic decisions (such as the terrible BitKeeper fiasco) that go against the grain of what the communities want and need. His attitude to the GPLv3 proces

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iggymanz (596061)
        you can't move without making friction. I for one don't want a compromising, wishy-washy, don't-offend-anyone type of leader, see those useless pukes every day in the corporate world. to hell with those kind. Open source and Linux are growing by leaps and bounds, doesn't seem to matter if folk like you are offended
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      the public at large interprets his comments as the position of the rest of the Linux (and dare I say, open source) community.

      I'd rather have Linus Torvalds speaking on behalf of the open source community than, say, Richard Stallman or Bruce Perens. The latter two are more than happy to explicitly declare that they're speaking on behalf of all of us, and more often than not they're making embarassing declarations that not all of us want to be associated with. Linus is an engineer; he cuts to the chase an

      • by asninn (1071320)
        I wholeheartedly agree.

        Linus' opinion and his statements are just like his kernel tree - he's often said that there's nothing special or "official" about it and that people only use it because it works, and that if somebody else will start (and maintain!) a better tree, people will use that instead. (Well, in reality, people might be sheep who will use Linus' tree because it's, well, Linus' tree, but that's not what he's advocating.)

        I think the same's true here; there's no a priori reason why Linus' opinion
      • Just substitute "Bill Gates" for "Linus Torvalds", and a similar argument can be made for the opinions of ordinary computer users, who would favor Gates over some relative unknown. Moreover, you are buying into some kind of myth about Torvalds. In fact, he is well known for saying more than needs to be said, and often it is insulting, self-serving material (e.g., Bitkeeper mess; ugly insults against CVS and Subversion; regular, unprovoked insults against FSF, etc.).
    • by Bamafan77 (565893)

      "It does not help that his comments are so obviously not well thought out. At least think it through before inserting your foot squarely in your mouth."
      Are his comments "not well thought out" or do you simply disagree with what he's saying (or so conflict-averse that any disagreement is looked down upon)?

  • by fsmunoz (267297) <{gro.fsf.rebmem} {ta} {zonumsf}> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:31AM (#19490117) Homepage
    People are perhaps reading to much into it. Linus advanced some scenarios, while at the same time giving his reasons. He was blunt, in his style, about some things but I don't see it as an all-out attack on Sun. Even more interesting is that he says that he could be wrong, and that he hope he is wrong, and that releasing Solaris under the GPLv3 would be a very good thing.

    Also of note is Theo's de Raadt message in Sun's blog: "Jonathan, I wish the above was true. 15 years ago I was the biggest Sun fan. Today I speak as the project leader for another set of open source projects -- OpenBSD and OpenSSH. OpenSSH will be better known to your audience, as it is what they use daily to connect securely to and from their Solaris (or Linux) machines. OpenSSH killed telnet and rlogin, for those who still remember those mechanisms. We give our software completely freely to the world, without even the standard encumberances people see in the GPL or CDDL. Yet when we turn around and ask Sun to give us documentation for the chips on their machines -- chips Sun themselves designed, not via contractors -- Sun drags their feet. Recently we tried to reopen these 10-year-old repeated requests, and once again nothing positive happened. You may remember, because you and David Yen were in an email conversation with us. Lots of nice open words were exchanged, but no action. However, let me give an example of the duplicity of Sun. (I wish I could use a lighter word). Two operating systems run on Sun's latest PCI-e based (smallish) Ultrasparc-III machines, the v215/v245 -- Solaris and OpenBSD. The latter system runs on those machines because the code to support the non-processor chips on the board had to be written after painstaking reverse engineering, because Sun refuses to make available documentation for how these chips are programmed. Now we will readily admit that not every programmer in the world needs to know how to program these chips. But does every programmer in the world need to know how to program every little detail on Sun's processors, in system mode? Sun gets great press out of UltraSPARC being all "open", but what use is supervisor-mode documentation when the rest of the chips that the supervisor-mode code has to communicate with are entirely undocumented??? The press does not spot this problem, but Jonathan, you should clearly understand this is a fallacy. There are two operating systems which surprisingly do not run on the Sun v215/v245 -- Linux and OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris?? Yes -- Sun isn't even open enough to give the OpenSolaris community enough documentation to support their new machines. So I think that Linus is right, and Sun has a long road ahead."

    I tend to listen to Theo's opinion carefully on this subjects. I'm an "FSF fanboy" to the bone, card carrying and all, which curiously is one of the reasons I tend to view Theo's opinion on this subjects with interest, more so than Linus. When it's not a GPL vs BSD thing (which is a fait-diver discussion in my sense of priorities) the fact remains that he seems to see the problems with licencing with a greater depth and in general is more "idealistic" than "pragmatic".
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Theo is a good barometer. When he cracks, you know the pressure is too high.

      I don't really like the metric of "idealism vs pragmatism". People always seem to put Linus on the pragmatic side of that gradient and Theo and the FSF on the idealistic side. Personally, I think Linus is just as idealistic as Theo.. just a different kind of idealistic. Linus has said things like "programmers get to decide what you can and cannot do with their code, and that's the way it should be" which is the kind of thing you
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        ...or to paraphrase, respecting the desires of the people who have done the work is "idealism" while subjugating those individuals for the interests of the uninvolved is pragmatism. Quite a perspective you have there.

        Linus and Theo concern themselves with what it takes to do their jobs and accomplish their goals. That's pragmatism. RMS concerns himself with imposing his terms on as many programmers and projects as he can. That's idealism.

        "Theo, on the other hand, is willing to brow beat vendors until the
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          Uhhh, if you don't think Theo is idealistic then you have a very different idea of idealism than the norm.

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Linus was speaking of freedom of creator to choose license, which is just reality of copyright law if creator has no obligation to give away ownership of his code. A programmer employed by another may not have that freedom, including Microsoft's programmers. Having WiFI drivers and graphics drivers in BSD has been a great result of brow-beating vendors. I for one hope the browbeating continues, the benefits are lasting. No damage!
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          No. Linus was saying that regardless of copyright law people should not do with software that which the programmer who writes that software would prefer them not to do. Specifically, he was talking about if people come to him and say they don't want their code in the kernel tree anymore, he will rip it out.. and that if people want to incorporate a driver in the kernel tree that they didn't write, they should track down the person who wrote it and ask them for permission first, even if that code is licens
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by asninn (1071320)

      Also of note is Theo's de Raadt message in Sun's blog: "[...] So I think that Linus is right"

      Wow. Hell must've frozen over...

  • ... to sell ink, photons and electrons.

    Frankly, I see very little difference here. Linus says, as he always does "Show me the code!". He draws a line in the sand with ZFS. Schwartz says "we will", but note, no promises about ZFS. The most remarkable thing is that Sun is currying favor with Linus.

    Move on, nothing to see here. The dogs bark, the caravan passes.

  • Not really a war (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maroberts (15852)
    This is just Linus speaking bluntly as always. In fact its comparatively mild compared to some of the things he says. He is never afraid to call a dirt extraction device a spade.
  • communities what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:52AM (#19490381) Journal
    Companies compete, communities co-operate.

    It remains to see who participates and the nature of the co-operation. Sun contributing Java, even for cynical reasons, says more about Open Source as an evolving business model than a fracturing community.

    And so what if it fractures anyway, maybe that makes software evolve in a more "natural" way.

  • by thethibs (882667) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:29AM (#19490869) Homepage

    To my mind, the relationship between Sun and Open Source has always been coloured by Sun's Big Thing: Java.

    As a development platform, Java only had one new thing to offer. Perl, Python, PHP, C et al. are "write once, run anywhere" languages, as long as you publish the source. Sun's contribution is a language that supports "write once, run anywhere" without publishing the source.

    In other words, Sun's most interesting contribution to the software industry is a powerful (if painful to use) tool for distributing proprietary closed source applications.

    I keep wondering whether they just stumbled into this or whether it was a strategic move. In either case, it's hardly a testimonial to Sun's support of Open Source.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      Not a valid argument as you can put out vm bytecode for perl, php, python, ruby too (either finished vm or one in active development led/supported by language's creators)
      • by thethibs (882667)

        True enough, but vm bytecode for for those languages wouldn't have an audience; the developers didn't advertise a WORA system and make the vm available to everybody's grandmother.

        Does anyone who isn't a php developer know how to get the vm only for php?

        Sourceless distribution is possible for these languages, but it's rare, and not the intent. In the case of Java, sourceless distribution is the intent, it's common, and Sun has made sure the vm is on every machine.

        In any case, this doesn't change the fact

    • by MobyTurbo (537363) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @01:07AM (#19501411) Homepage

      As a development platform, Java only had one new thing to offer. Perl, Python, PHP, C et al. are "write once, run anywhere" languages, as long as you publish the source. Sun's contribution is a language that supports "write once, run anywhere" without publishing the source.
      I'm no big fan of Java, but allow me to point out that GNU's biggest contribution to the open source world is arguably GNU C and glibc, which just as much aren't designed as vehicles for publishing source (i.e. what interpreted languages, well, unlike, say, Microsoft BASIC, Perl and Python are technically bytecoded too, but humor me.) Considering the environment that Java was originally marketed for (browser apps) there are good security, portability, as well as performance reasons more relevant at the time, for making client-side browser apps pseudocompiled.
  • Linus wrote:

    So to Sun, a GPLv3-only release would actually let them look good, and still keep Linux from taking their interesting parts, and would allow them to take at least parts of Linux without giving anything back (ahh, the joys of license fragmentation).

    If I'm not mistaken, Linus is saying Sun would only release code under GPL3 just to make it so Linux couldn't use it. But Linus was the one who chose *not* to release Linux under GPL3, right? Is his argument contradictory, or is it just me? I'm really

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dan Ost (415913)
      Linus doesn't own the copyright to all the code in the kernel, therefore, he can't change the license even if he wanted to.

      If, down the road, the GPL3 is determined to be a good thing, then it might be worth the enormous effort required to (1) get permission the change the license from all the copyright owners we can find, (2) replace code that is owned by coders we couldn't find or wouldn't give permission, and (3) try to do all this without detracting from the real work of developing the kernel.

      It's possi
  • So we have Schwartz, Linux and Theo on record. Now all I need for my collection is something from RMS, Bruce Perens, a couple of the FreeBSD Founders and NetBSD founders to REALLY get things going :)
  • by MarsDude (74832) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:52AM (#19491221) Homepage
    I really don't see what's so controversial about that message from Linus.

    - Sun says it'll do A
    - Linus says that based on Sun history he is sceptical that they will actually do A, and thinks that they say A but will do something like it, but not completely
    - Then he says he thinks Sun should be commended for the things they did.

    That's not a war. That is just an opinion that isn't even remotely controversial.

    And then someone replies...
  • by renoX (11677) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:16AM (#19491609)
    If they were really interested in seeing ZFS everywhere, why did they release it in a license incompatible with the GPL license?

    • by xtracto (837672)
      Go and read Mr. Schwartz blog post. The reason is there, and as with other propietary software wanting to be opened, it is because sometimes it is not on the hand of the company to open up the software, i.e., there are third parties involved, and it might be difficult if not impossible to contact all of them to get their permission for the license... It is similar to what happens with the so hated graphics drivers...
  • SPARC Performance horribly slow? Have you tried a modern SPARC processor? I'm talking say an UltraSparc T1 here, not an old US II or US III processor. Performance on web based applications with the T1 cpu blows the doors off of most Linux based OSes. oh and "Linux code _is better_" - I'm sorry. Today's Solaris 10 is more stable, more capable and more compatible than any Linux variant I've ever tried. Couple this with ZFS, Fire-engine, Containers/Zones and we've got an all in one solution to consolida
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Performance on web based applications with the T1 cpu blows the doors off of most Linux based OSes.

      Single-threaded SPARC performance is for shit. Niagara gains its power from parallelism. If your task isn't parallelizable then it runs like dookie.

      I've never had a stability problem with a stable-release Linux, so I don't know what you're crying about. I haven't had one with Slowlaris either, of course. And yes, zones/containers, dtrace, and ZFS are all very exciting. But what I find particularly telling is

      • by GuyverDH (232921)
        Single-threaded SPARC performance on modern processors is perfectly fine. In fact it's better than on Intel / AMD in that it's always the same. ie - it runs the same speed, regardless of load. It's throughput, not race to the finish, with long waits in between. I've had horrible experiences with RedHat in particular, with modern, patched up versions blowing chunks due to patches loading, breaking either itself or other software on the system. We've had systems that we've had to hack to get them to see
        • Single-threaded SPARC performance on modern processors is perfectly fine. In fact it's better than on Intel / AMD in that it's always the same. ie - it runs the same speed, regardless of load.

          What? What the hell are you talking about?

          "runs the same speed" regardless of "load"? Could you please use some technical terms here? x86 instructions complete in a given number of cycles (barring branch misprediction, to which SPARC is not immune) so intel/AMD chips also always run at the same speed (barring throttling.)

          I've had horrible experiences with RedHat in particular

          Well, that's fair - so has everyone else. (Some people are simply willing to overlook them)

          They aren't making Solaris look like Linux, they are however, making Solaris cross platform (Sparc/AMD/Intel)

          *cough*bullshit*cough* As a newborn Sun employee, Murdock is thinking about making Solaris more Linux-like [zdnet.com]. "When people say Linux what do they mean? Linux is a kernel. Cool apps are not written to the kernel. The OS powers higher levels of the stack. What we want is an open OS platform and to make sure that the existing skill sets and knowledge and training investments are leveraged. We don't want to make them learn a new product or rip and replace," Murdock said. "You can make a real argument that Solaris innovated more than Linux in the last few years--such as DTrace and ZFS--but usability stands in the way of appreciating that," Murdock said. "Part of what we are working on is closing the usability gap so that it doesn't stand in the way." (next para, emphasis mine:) "There is no reason we can't make Solaris look and feel more like Linux," he continued. "There are a couple of ways we could do it. We could stick a penguin on it or take a Linux distribution and put a Solaris kernel in it. There are a few Solaris-based distros that have done that. Personally, as the person charting the course and looking at the strategy question, it becomes how to keep the competitive differentiation of Solaris while closing the usability gap."

          Perhaps you should try to be informed before you attempt to refute my statements? Especially since you're wrong.

          Also, it's worth noting that there's Sun SPARC-based hardware that OpenSolaris doesn't run on, because Sun won't give out sufficient specifications. Theo's way of putting it [kerneltrap.org] was "Sun released CPU docs, but that's useless. It is kind of like trying to fix a car engine with the owner's manual. The rest of the hardware is not documented."

          Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.

  • Wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:24AM (#19491751) Homepage Journal
    Companies compete.
    Communities EVOLVE.
  • Sun should not be hugging Solaris like it is some great asset. Maintaining an OS is expensive, and thankless as far as revenue is concerned.

    It's too late for Solaris to attract an open source developer community by itself. What Sun must do now in order for Solaris not to slide into an untenable position of being too expensive to maintain, but not worth paying to get, is to merge it with the Linux family tree: Make the parts of Solaris, including ZFS, upstream projects of any distribution that wants them, an
  • by feranick (858651) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:17PM (#19494781)
    ... in response to Mr Schwartz. "Jonathan, I wish the above was true. 15 years ago I was the biggest Sun fan. Today I speak as the project leader for another set of open source projects -- OpenBSD and OpenSSH. OpenSSH will be better known to your audience, as it is what they use daily to connect securely to and from their Solaris (or Linux) machines. OpenSSH killed telnet and rlogin, for those who still remember those mechanisms. We give our software completely freely to the world, without even the standard encumberances people see in the GPL or CDDL. Yet when we turn around and ask Sun to give us documentation for the chips on their machines -- chips Sun themselves designed, not via contractors -- Sun drags their feet. Recently we tried to reopen these 10-year-old repeated requests, and once again nothing positive happened. You may remember, because you and David Yen were in an email conversation with us. Lots of nice open words were exchanged, but no action. However, let me give an example of the duplicity of Sun. (I wish I could use a lighter word). Two operating systems run on Sun's latest PCI-e based (smallish) Ultrasparc-III machines, the v215/v245 -- Solaris and OpenBSD. The latter system runs on those machines because the code to support the non-processor chips on the board had to be written after painstaking reverse engineering, because Sun refuses to make available documentation for how these chips are programmed. Now we will readily admit that not every programmer in the world needs to know how to program these chips. But does every programmer in the world need to know how to program every little detail on Sun's processors, in system mode? Sun gets great press out of UltraSPARC being all "open", but what use is supervisor-mode documentation when the rest of the chips that the supervisor-mode code has to communicate with are entirely undocumented??? The press does not spot this problem, but Jonathan, you should clearly understand this is a fallacy. There are two operating systems which surprisingly do not run on the Sun v215/v245 -- Linux and OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris?? Yes -- Sun isn't even open enough to give the OpenSolaris community enough documentation to support their new machines. So I think that Linus is right, and Sun has a long road ahead." Posted by Theo de Raadt on June 13, 2007 at 02:25 AM PDT #

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.

Working...