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Re: TAO & omniORB license clarification

Ossama Othman <othman@cs.wustl.edu> writes:

> Indeed, these Sun licenses aren't very free.  Do you think Debian has
> enough influence to get Sun to change the terms of its licenses for IIOP
> 1.0 (for TAO) and the IDL CFE (for OmniORB)?

I'm not optimistic and the problem seems not to pe particular to these

Indeed, most of the source code licenses that come out of Sun these
days seem to have as a recurring theme that Sun does not want to lose
control over protocols and interfaces, though they allow people to
hack away on their code.

It looks rather like a conscious corporate policy.

Probably they think they are simply protecting their interfaces from
protocol balkanization a la Microsoft. However, this defense against a
hypothetic threat in itself poses a very real threat to the value of
their software, seen from the point of a free software user:

Suppose that after some time has passed Sun abandons this or that
particular piece of semi-free software and moves on to greener
pastures. Some people continue to use it and one day it is discovered
that one of its seldom-used services has a severe security problem and
it turns out that it is hard or impossible to implement the service
safely at all.

Now, with genuinely free software people could simply decide that they
do not need the insecure service and remove it from the program. Sun's
usual license style prevents that, as it usually reads something along
the lines that one may not modify the software such that it no longer
implements the *entire* protocol *exactly* as Sun specified it.

Henning Makholm

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