Subject: Re: Sun to free Solaris.
From: <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 02:15:44 -0800
Tue, 25 Jan 2000 02:15:44 -0800
Scott "Free Beer" McNealy is taking half measures.

I've been hearing a bit about Sun's plans WRT Solaris over the past few
weeks.  I'm given to understand that Sun will be releasing Solaris, with
source code, and free of charge, under at least certain conditions.
However, Sun from what I've heard appears to want to retain control over
the development path of Solaris, to the extent that it may be limiting or
prohibiting independent development forks.  A particular concern is
branding Solaris itself.  This should be addressable through means
already widely used in the free software community -- trademarks and
certification marks are the ideal tools for this need.  The point is
that there is no need for Sun to adopt the terms it seems to be laying
out for itself for the reasons it has stated.  Which makes me wonder
about the reasons it's *not* stating.

My particular concern is that Sun hasn't announced licensing terms for the
release.  I suspect they will be very similar to the SCSL -- essentially a
"look, don't touch, but if you do it's ours kind" of license.  I'm pretty
sure it's not going to be anything remotely resembling any OSD license.
Worse, Sun has already announced that in the case of Java/Jini, they
will aggressively use their patent portfolio to defend their products --
particularly with regards to compliance, possibly in market space as well.

I posted a query here a couple of weeks ago whose origins should now be
clear to everyone.  I'm afraid that my current outlook shadows Brian
Bartholomew's -- not something I'd have expected to find myself saying.

And, no, with what I currently know, I wouldn't be inclined to press
Sun's licensors to offer more amenable terms to 3rd party code.


Worse than all that, Sun's actions just don't make much sense.
Offering a free (beer) OS really doesn't do much for either end of the
server OS market.  Major corporate accounts are going to pay as much
(or more) for support as they would for an OS license.  Smaller firms
and independent developers want the freedom offered by Linux and the
xBSDs -- not to mention Slowaris's poor performance at the lower end of
the hardware spectrum.  There might be some impact on NT, but that's
a dying horse anyway.  I'm seeing this as an extremely revolutionary
announcement which means...nothing, at best, and may well alienate the
free software movement at worst.


On Mon, Jan 24, 2000 at 08:16:43PM -0500, Keith Bostic wrote:
> From: "Michael A. Olson" <mao@sleepycat.com>
> 
> Sun to free (as in beer) Solaris, include source code.
> 
> http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/zd/20000124/tc/20000125163.html
> 

-- 
Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com)
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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