Subject: Re: Sun to free Solaris.
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:19:25 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Rich" == Rich Morin <rdm@cfcl.com> writes:

    Rich> At 1:47 PM +0900 1/26/00, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

    >> This is really not all that different from using a FSF-assigned
    >> GPL application with a cathedral style of development, as long
    >> as Sun maintains it well enough to prevent any thought of a
    >> fork.  (Except that presumably code cannot be borrowed for
    >> unrelated or competing projects, a big loss, but not a total
    >> loss.)

    Rich> The issue of forking is not as cut-and-dried as all that.
    Rich> If Harry Hacker's patch is rejected by Sun, perhaps he can
    Rich> simply publish it as a context diff.  Thus, we may have de
    Rich> facto forks, despite the prohibition of "real" ones...

Agreed (it strengthens my position, after all) with two provisos:

(1) "de facto" forks rarely work very well, and a lot of effort is
    wasted "synching" the trees.

(2) As I understand some of these licenses, they attempt to prohibit
    unauthorized distribution of _any_ code based on the original
    source, thus also preventing "de facto" forks.  If Sun wants to
    take that kind of hard line, they have the resources to make
    Mr. Hacker, and anybody who applies his patch to the Sun source,
    very uncomfortable.

I think they'd be crazy to do that, of course, and I think that that
scenario is an extremely strong incentive for Sun to manage the
distribution well.  That doesn't necessarily mean that such "forks"
won't happen, just that Sun will find ways to incorporate them or make
them otherwise unnecessary rather than fight if they're good enough
that simply ignoring them won't work.  Note: "Manage well" means from
the point of view of conventional customer relations, not what we on
FSB would prefer.

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