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Re: Debian based GNU/Solaris: pilot program

On Thu, Nov 03, 2005 at 11:51:31AM -0800, Erast Benson wrote:
> The great thing about CDDL is that it is file based. So, all files which
> are licensed under CDDL-terms works exactly as GPL does. i.e. any change
> made by anybody (including propriatery distributors) *must* be contributed
> back to the community.

That's not how the GPL works, but it's an amazingly common misconception.

> This makes CDDL much better than BSD and almost as better as GPL for what
> it was invented. So, CDDL will not stop progress of dpkg. Quite opposite
> in fact, it should speed up dpkg development since there will be more
> *payed* forces working on it and all changes to
> *existing* CDDL files will be contributed back to the community.

I'm sorry, could you point me to the part of the CDDL which guarantees paid
development of CDDL-covered work?  I must have missed that clause in my
(admittedly brief) reading of the CDDL.

> That is why OpenSolaris CDDL'd kernel allowes HW vendors to hide their
> IP in their own proprietery files but at the same time forces HW vendors
> to contribute their changes to CDDL-licensed files back to the
> OpenSolaris community. This fact is a killer for Linux kernel. IMHO.

I have my doubts that any of your Os could be H.  What you've just described
here, though, is the LGPL.  So why didn't Sun just pick that licence instead
of writing a new GPL-incompatible one?

> Since Linux kernel suffers big time from not having wide HW vendors
> support.

It's a pest every now and then, but it doesn't appear to be killing Linux in
any major way.  The reason why more hardware vendors aren't supporting Linux
is fear and lack of percieved commercial benefit.  Neither of which your
average wintel hardware vendor is going to see any differently in

There *are* ways around the "GPL all your source" problem in the kernel --
look at nVidia and ATI, for instance.  They're also amazingly good examples
of why proprietary drivers suck: they're not wonderfully stable, and are
missing (in the case of ATI, at least) support for a couple of fairly common
failure modes (like not handling resume at all well).  Open Source drivers
likely wouldn't suffer from those problems for more than a few days.

I see nothing in the CDDL which would magically ensure that vendors properly
and completely supported their hardware on OpenSolaris.

> I have 10+ years of writing drivers experience for all kind of OSes, so
> I know what I'm talking about. HW vendors will *never* open their IP in
> drivers.

There's quite a number of vendor-contributed drivers in the Linux kernel, so
I call bullshit.  On top of that, this exact argument was made about
proprietary software in general some years ago, about how Open Source could
never, ever succeed.  Yet, you don't have to look very far at all to see
what a crock of excrement that argument was.  I see the exact same crock
when I look at this new version, too.

> Some HW vendors will never give NDAs for their user guides. So,
> GPL kernels will always suffer as the result it forces Linux community
> to reverse engineer binary drivers. Without user guides publicly
> available, those drivers will allways miss many features which M$
> Windows users (as an example) having and enjoying using every day.

Never say never.

> The idea behind Nexenta OS is to bring GNU software to the level, when
> end-user will not suffer from GPL kernel *limitations*.

You're not exactly a proponent of Dale Carnegie's methods, are you?

> Hopefully, now you understand why our "Pilot" program was a *good
> thing*. Without it, we could hit streets with unresolved legal issues.

You can have an openly-readable wiki without shipping code, you know.

> Now, when Nexenta team fully understands the issues, we will resolve
> them first and will make ISO images available for developers only by
> personal request. And once ISO polished, we will open them for public.
> Meanwhile I do not see any other issues why we should keep web site
> closed, so, we will clean it up and open it up soon. But ISO images will
> not be publicly available till all legal problems resolved one way or
> another.

But if you're shipping infringing code to those who ask for it personally,
you're still infringing.

- Matt

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