The complaints and concerns over Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems and open source MySQL database grew this week to calls for the acquisition, or at least the relatively small MySQL part of it, to be blocked. The Open Rights Group calling for such blockage was joined by none other than the father of the free software movement, Richard Stallman. However, I have to once again question how free and open are these free and open source software advocates? Is the movement and FOSS open to all (except Microsoft, Oracle or anyone else the Open Rights Group, Richard Stallman or any …[Read more]
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Following the release of our report, ‘The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation’ and during research for it, we heard and sensed a feeling that open source software licenses had evolved to become a generally well-accepted piece of the the enterprise IT and IP market. However, we also heard from numerous vendors, developers and other individuals that the next battlefront is obviously software patents, which are in need of reform, according to many supporters of free and open source software.
This week, we saw some of the software patent skirmishes that are driving and validating this thinking. There was first news that the Open Invention Network, the consortium dedicated to legal and IP defense of Linux, had bought some software patents that related to …[Read more]
UPDATE: The final vote is in and a winner has been declared, with Matt Asay and his arguments for the GPL taking the prize. You can see the debate or follow links to the other judges’ votes and thoughts here.
This is my assessment as a judge of the recent open source license debate held by the FOSS Learning Centre. We’ll have to begin with some qualifications and definitions, starting with the fact that there is no ‘best’ open source software license. Still, a star-studded open source software panel provided a lively, informative debate on the merits of some top open source licenses. For that, I congratulate and thank the panelists, Mike Milinkovich from the Eclipse Foundation arguing for the Eclipse Public License, Matt Asay of Alfresco arguing in favor of the GPL and David Maxwell from Coverity arguing for …[Read more]
Code scanning and management vendor Black Duck reports the GNU General Public License v2 (GPLv2) now dipping below 50% share of open source software. While we already knew that GPLv2 was somewhat in decline from its far greater share of open source code over the last 5-10 years, it is useful to know what pool of code we’re talking about. We must also remember that while GPLv2 may not be as dominant as it once was and that other licenses, particularly GPLv3, are quickly gaining share, GPLv2 is still quite relevant to enterprise open source software, is used in a variety of newer and popular applications across the enterprise stack and is likely to remain in the top 10 licenses for a long time.
Regarding GPLv2 and Black Duck’s findings, some folks are rightly asking what code and how much of it are we considering where GPLv2 accounts for half or less of the …[Read more]
There has been no shortage of lively discussion on open source software licenses with recent shifts in the top licenses, perspectives on the licenses or lack of them for networked, SaaS and cloud-based software, increased prominence of a Microsoft open source license and concern over the openness (or closedness, depending on your perspedtive) of the latest devices. Amid all of it, we’re pleased to present our latest long-form report, CAOS 12 - The Myth of Open Source …[Read more]
Sun continues to take a performance pounding, and the rumors of replacements, layoffs and revamps are beyond swirling and now perpetuating skepticism of the company. It strikes me as odd that Sun, which has embraced open source and is also the defacto leading corporate open source software contributor, is continually dogged by doubts about its transitions and tenures despite well-respected technology and participation in open source. Part of this lies in the company’s continuing dichotomy in strategy — a reference to tepid support for Linux and continued preference for and focus on Solaris. This is a large part of Sun’s ‘handicap,’ IMHO when it comes to Linux and open …[Read more]
I spent part of yesterday attending the Open Source Summit at Portland’s Innotech Business and Technology Conference, and moderating a panel on ‘IT Giants and Open Source.’ We had a great discussion about the reasons, roles, responsibilities and rewards for big vendors to be acutely and adequately participating in open source software development and commercialization. Our fabulous panelists were Danese Cooper, open source diva, knitting machine and present to give perspective from Intel, Stuart Cohen of OSDL fame and current leader of startup CSI and …[Read more]
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