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Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Friday, May 28 2004 @ 03:10 AM EDT

More Sun silliness about Red Hat, albeit nasty silliness, only this time Eric Raymond rebuts, and, you know, sometimes there is just nobody better. Now Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz says Red Hat is proprietary, not open source. Raymond strongly disagrees and predicts Sun's "campaign of doublespeak" will fail:

"What open source means is simple and obvious—you get the source, you get to use it any way you like, you get to modify it, and you get to redistribute it. There's no "proprietary" in there.'"

eWeek's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols got the scoop, and he publishes it with this title and subtitle, which pretty much says it all:

"Sun Insists Red Hat Linux Is Proprietary But Red Hat and Experts Disagree

"Sun President Jonathan Schwartz explains in detail why Red Hat Linux is proprietary, but others disagree and wonder what Sun is accomplishing with its confusing open-source view"

I'd sure like to see that settlement agreement between Sun and Microsoft. Is Sun obligated to keep saying these nonsensical things? No doubt, somewhere down the road, in some inevitable lawsuit, we will find out. Meanwhile, I'll let esr take the wheel.

First here is Mr. Schwartz's convoluted definition of what *he* thinks the word proprietary means, which rivals manuals that arrive with some new electronic gadget for incomprehensibility:

"Availability of source code isn't what qualifies you as 'not proprietary'—Sun's definition of proprietary is behavior which defeats the customer's ability to compete vendors against one another, or choose from among many 'compatible' implementations. To me, J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] is an open standard—it enables substitution and competition among multiple, competing vendors. Just like Apache."

Got that?

I believe I begin to discern the true meaning of "open standards are better than open source". When Sun says that, they mean buy our stuff instead of Red Hat's.

Red Hat is promoting "binary incompatability", according to Schwartz, and that morphs them into proprietary:

"'But open source is not equivalent to open standards,' Schwartz said. 'An open standard is one for which multiple implementations can be used to drive compatibility up and price/cost down. That's what customers love. Some open source can be proprietary—if it defeats this competition and defeats interoperability by erecting barriers.'

"Again, Raymond disagreed. 'The concept of open source "erecting barriers" is at best dizzyingly stupid and at worst a conscious setup for a snow job,' he said. 'I fear in this case we are seeing the latter.'

"Schwartz enumerated the ways in which Red Hat behaves in a proprietary way. 'One: They provide source code, not binary. The number of customers that have the ability to build their own source trees is vanishingly small—for the most part, this isn't what CIOs or IT execs want their folks doing. This erects a proprietary barrier.'

"Raymond couldn't disagree more. 'So, in Mr. Schwartz's universe, the fact that I may have to type, "configure; make; install" is a bigger anti-competitive barrier than binaries I can't see inside? In other breaking news, war is peace and freedom is slavery. Mr. Schwartz has a lucrative career waiting at Orwell's "Ministry of Truth" after Sun goes belly-up, something I'm back to thinking it will do shortly with a mind like this at the helm.'"

"Schwartz continued, 'Two: They're promoting binary incompatibility at the RHEL level. ISVs and customers don't simply qualify to the kernel—they qualify to the distribution. To that end, Red Hat's forked kernel+distribution disables ISVs from moving from one Linux vendor to another. RHEL is available only through Red Hat. This erects a proprietary barrier.'"

Well, it continues for quite a while like this, and for the sheer entertainment value, it's worth a read. I don't know what he means about providing source and not binary, unless there has been a change. Whenever I've bought from Red Hat, I didn't have to compile from source unless I wanted to. Sun appears to be saying that if you are a business and compete in any way, you aren't open source and if you...gasp...charge money, you are proprietary instead of free. Free as in beer. He never got the "free as in speech, not free as in beer" memo, I guess. He lists, as if it were a crime, that "Red Hat also requires customers to pay for all servers on which Red Hat is running." That is their core business. But Red Hat's product is licensed under the GPL. You most certainly do not have to pay Red Hat to run their product. What is true is that *if you want support from Red Hat*, you have to pay , but this is obviously because if you have 1000 servers you will generate 1000x the support calls. You do have the choice of paying Red Hat for support, or paying zilch and getting no support. Do you have that choice with Sun?

After all the entertainment, there is one very important and quite serious point, and Raymond makes it well, in response to this statement by Schwartz:

"Java is better, according to Schwartz, because 'you can select from BEA, IBM, JBoss or Sun's Java Application Server. Some closed source, others more open, but all based on a neutral, compatible standard, which enables competition and choice.'

"Raymond pointed out though, 'Schwartz neglects to mention that because of the way the SCSL [Sun Community Source License] is worded, all these implementations legally exist solely at Sun's pleasure. The SCSL claims ownership rights for Sun of any technology derived from the reference implementation "or the standard." So, in Schwartz's world, a license which hangs the threat of a lawsuit over your head promotes competition more than source code that no one can take away from you.'"

If Sun is interested in coming up with a decent license that isn't like fingernails on a blackboard to the FOSS community, or to any normal person, for that matter, they might start right there.

On the SCO front, for the record, here is SCO's response to OSIA's recent position paper:

"SCO's Australian and New Zealand boss, Kieran O'Shaughnessy, told ZDNet Australia that 'nothing the umbrella group [Open Source Industry Australia] has been reported as saying changes SCO's belief in and commitment to pursuing our [intellectual property] claims and initiatives. 'We have a bona-fide belief in the veracity of our claims.'"

He got a promotion, too, from regional manager to regional director, which he accepted, so he's in this up to his eyeballs. He also issued a moderately veiled threat to maybe sue some folks. I guess that is what SCO regional directors do:

"O'Shaughnessy also said SCO would 'never say never' about examining its legal options over comments made by individuals and groups it believed were incorrect and prejudicial to its interests. However, he stressed his remarks were a statement of commercial reality and not intended as a specific warning to OSIA. He added that SCO was 'quite within its rights to seek redress' from those who made inaccurate or malicious comments that endangered the company's business."

So, no more Mr. Nice Guy. More threats from SCO. Oh, no, I forgot. He said he wasn't threatening OSIA, just expressing his opinion on commercial realities. SCO tried that doublespeak with Red Hat, and the judge didn't accept their pretense. A threat is a threat, no matter how you dress it up. When I read what he said, I took it as a threat to sue OSIA and maybe Con Zymaris.

Interesting concept, that, suing over public statements that are "incorrect and prejudicial" to one's interests. I think he might give some authors of the Linux kernel ideas about suing SCO. OSIA is an organization set up to provide information and advice; it's not a business. I don't know Australian law, of course, but wouldn't suing them be kind of like Red Hat suing Laura DiDio? Heaven only knows she said plenty of negative things and lots that wasn't accurate about Linux. Or SCO suing the US retail organization, NRF, that recently told its members SCO's case appears meritless? It calls to mind Richard Nixon joking, I think, about nuking Congress during the Watergate impeachment process. If SCO intends to sue everyone who thinks they have no case, they surely have their work cut out for them. And they'd probably need another PIPE deal to fund it.

By the way, Reuters just sold Yankee Group. They sold it to a private equity firm, Monitor Clipper, and "a group of private investors", only one of whom is named in the press release, Ted Philip, the former President, COO and CFO of Lycos, Inc. I'm sure that will increase your trust in their impartiality. Not that I ever thought Ms. DiDio was impartial.


  


Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal | 362 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Links and OT thingies here
Authored by: rjamestaylor on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:05 AM EDT
When Bill Joy left Sun McNeely and Schwartz were hatching their plans to snuggle
up with Microsoft.

Coincidence? Dunno. Probably.

---
SCO delenda est! Salt their fields!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections and OT here
Authored by: inode_buddha on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:17 AM EDT
I will begin with para 6 as shown in the html: IMHO the name esr should be ESR
for easier reading. Just a nit to pick.

---
"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." --
Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:20 AM EDT
Sun's ship is sinking. Everything they've got is overpriced five fold over the
competition. When I can put up a Intel box for $3k and it outperforms their
$100k box and OS they are in trouble. Let the ship sink.

Ken King

[ Reply to This | # ]

Counter-Argument to Open standards are better than Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:42 AM EDT

GPL software is automatically "open standard".
The freely available source code
_is_ the standards document.

Anybody can read the source code and then

a) Use
the code in their project (as long as they make the GPL element available as
source)

b) Read the code and develop their own implementation based upon the
"standard" described therin.


I think this is a really strong argument. Please
pick holes in it or develop it further. I may have misunderstood the legalities
of the GPL. IANAL :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Red Hat Licenses - and what you get.
Authored by: Nick_UK on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:42 AM EDT

I recently purchased 2 Redhat Enterprise 3 ES licences for work (I work for a VERY big Company, and the move to Linux is refreshing :) ).

Here (adslguide.org.uk) I posted the nut & bolts of what you get software wise - remember the licences are only for 100% support of said product:

My post in adslguide.org.uk about RH licensing

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

Source and not binary
Authored by: gvc on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:43 AM EDT
What he means is that Red Hat does not provide binary code gratis (as in free beer). It is true that configuring and compiling from source is some effort.

However, this argument fails to take into account the fact that under the GPL any third party that cares to can configure and compile a binary version and make it available to all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: joeblakesley on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:52 AM EDT
I thought Sun weren't that bad, but, now that they also cannot make any money
(because of free-software alternatives and cheap hardware alternatives to their
software and hardware offerings, respectively, and not adapting to the market
place), it seems to me that they may be doing a copy-cat SCO-style suicide.

Copying TSG is IMO even worse than The SCO Group themselves who were at least
relatively original in the way they made fools of themselves...woops freudianly
slipped into the past tense there. IMO TSG will be a car wreck soon though and
one that will cause everyone (e.g.: shareholders, customers) to ditch Sun very
fast if they try anything similar causing them to go down very fast and without
all the fun of TSG ;-).

This is all just supposition of course, but Sun's comments do seem to be
suspiciously Darlesque--maybe Darl could sue them for "indirect
copying" of his FUD methods(under "copyright" law or Darl's
warped version of it).

---
Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Redhat EULA
Authored by: Nick_UK on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 07:10 AM EDT

Just for the record, I have just put on line 'as is' the EULA supplied with Redhat Enterprise 3 ES edition:

Redhat Ent. 3 EULA

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: blacklight on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 07:22 AM EDT
Apparently, RH is breathing down the Sun's neck. I did a quick comparison
between the contents of Solaris's /etc and /bin directories against their SuSE
Linux counterparts: the Solaris cupboard is almost bare. I no longer mention
that I know UNIX at any of my interviews: I just say that I know Linux and that
I can work with BSD.

No more proprietary UNIX extensions, no more mysterious proprietary UNIX
idiosyncrasies, and no more inter-vendor "how many angels can dance on the
head of a pin" disputes for me: if someone wants me to work with Solaris,
AIX or HP-UX, he'll have to go past the fact that I no longer pay any attention
to any of them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Existence of RHEL clones rebut Sun's Schwartz
Authored by: macrorodent on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 07:33 AM EDT
"Schwartz continued, 'Two: They're promoting binary incompatibility at the RHEL level. ISVs and customers don't simply qualify to the kernel—they qualify to the distribution. To that end, Red Hat's forked kernel+distribution disables ISVs from moving from one Linux vendor to another. RHEL is available only through Red Hat. This erects a proprietary barrier.'"

There is a devastating counter-example to show the falsity of that claim (or actually many, but one particularly good I'm about to show), and it is too bad ESR did not point it out:

The existence of the RHEL clone distros (like White Box, Tao, and some others) that are actually built from RHEL sources, quite legally, as permitted by GPL and Red Hat's license.

They are for most intents and purposes equal to RHEL, except of course for Red Hat support.

The main difference is you cannot call such clones Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but that is a trademark issue.

Sun does not come even within light-years of this kind of openness. To do so, they would have to publish Solaris sources and allow everyone to build (and even sell) a compatible Solaris distro, as long as it does not claim to be Sun Solaris.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT?:A Bone to Pick with Red Hat (and Intel)
Authored by: coats on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 07:35 AM EDT
On the topic of "proprietary mods" I have a bone to pick with RedHat, about what they've done with mozilla

I'm presently doing meteorology research using an SGI Altix supercomputer "merlin" that runs RedHat Enterprise 2.1., using the Intel compilers. I ran into some trouble, and needed to look at the Intel documents, which are HTML files in the same sub-directory as the rest of the compiler system. After all, this is an X-windows system, for which remote browser-execution and local display should be trivial.

OK. A quick check shows that mozilla is available. But when I tried to launch "merlin"s mozilla, I got this mozilla-xremote process on "merlin", connected to a local mozilla on my local desktop "hilbert", for which "file:" access is local to the filesystem on "hilbert" and I can't get to those docs on "merlin"

OK. "merlin" is a Linux system (albeit an Intel Itanium one, not an x86), so there should be alternatives. Try konqueror. It comes up, and it can look at other files on "merlin", but Intel has such badly screwed up, non-standard HTML that it refuses to display it.

Well, I complain to "mozilla.org" about the mozilla behavior (Intel makes it very hard for anyone except the license-holding sysadmins to complain to them...); filed BugZilla bug 244096. Quickly get back the reply

Blame the vendor from which you got your mozilla in /usr/bin (SGI?). Mozilla builds from www.mozilla.org do not use X-Remote unless explicitly asked to.
They're right... I have a look at the mozilla script on "merlin", compare it with the mozilla scripts from clean downloads, from other RedHat desktop x86 systems, and from a Mandrake distribution at home. I see that RedHat has made such mods. And have not put in any in-code attribution about their having done so!

RedHat Enterprise 2.1 is supposed to be a server linux release, particularly the version for supercomputers like this Altix. Independent of Intel's bad HTML, how are all those HTML files in /usr/share/doc going to do users any good on a server if RedHat has broken the browser's access to them?

[ Reply to This | # ]

..Reuter sold Yankee Group, for what? ;-)
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 07:37 AM EDT
.."The Yankee Group hopes to get a shot in the arm after
Monitor Clipper Partners--the private-equity investment
arm of global consulting firm the Monitor Group--acquired
it from Reuters on Thursday for an undisclosed price."

..my 2 cents: A shot in the arm, like those Death Row
inmates? ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 08:33 AM EDT
I think this just goes to show how much the top-level executives at Sun are out
of touch with their customers. Never has their been a time when so many people
are choosing Linux over Solaris. I think it's time that Schwartz et. al. began
listening to their customers NEEDS, instead of badmouthing someone who provides
it to them for half the price.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Quick to hate Sun?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:09 AM EDT

My comment on SVN's article is online. In among all the Sun- trashing maybe there's actually a real issue trying to get out?

S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How long can it be now
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:15 AM EDT
Before SUN starts suing their own customers for Breach of Revenue Stream?

Oh - and never mind IBM buying out SCO to end the annoyance. What if SUN buys
them out to continue the suits? I guess their new buddies at Microsoft would be
quite content over that outcome.

I give SUN six months before they're New New SCO.

Incidentally, mistrust of SUN is also why I've never used Java, and instead went
straight to C#. Oh, I don't like Microsoft either, but I prefer my abusive
rights owners to at least be *honest* thugs, and if I'm going to sell my soul,
I'll do it for the biggest price and in the biggest market. The C# and the .NET
CLR wipes the floor with Java and the Java VM, and if SUN thinks that they can
compensate for that by going for a lock-in on their existing customers and
developer base, then they are on the fast track to irrelevance. I for one won't
miss them at all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I am disturbed!
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:31 AM EDT
Strange, I thought Sun was a distributor, too?

Linux from Sun

So Sun == RedHat?

I quote: Sun's pioneering Java Enterprise System will be available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux in our next release. Sun is one of the largest contributors of intellectual property to the open source community.
So if I use "Darl" like logic, RedHat is bad, Sun's Java runs on RedHat, then Sun is bad!
I call this good PR...

[ Reply to This | # ]

HaraSCOri
Authored by: zapyon on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:33 AM EDT

After my opinion Sun's recent utterings more or less prove they have turned themselves over to the Dark Side of the Force. Sad. They are going to commit HaraSCOri in a whole new interesting way and we are about to watch them do it.

Kind regards

Andreas

[ Reply to This | # ]

Funny: Sun's Javascript, m$'s XP and Opera
Authored by: edumarest on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:36 AM EDT
I am beginning to suspect that Sun's Java and m$'s XP are in cahoots with
regards to alternative web browsers.

I use Opera (I even paid for it) on my personal notebook. Everytime I turn on
Javascript Opera crashes soon thereafter. Everytime. XP then asks me if it is ok
to send an error message to m$. I am reminded of how m$ would change Windows and
its network services so that Novell's products would no longer work correctly.
m$ must have quite a tally list going. I no longer report the errors.

At this rate there will only be m$ and microSun. And Linux.

---
...if you cannot measure it then you cannot troubleshoot it, you can only
guess...
SuSE 9.0 on hp pavilion ze 4560us

[ Reply to This | # ]

ESR isn't automatically right....
Authored by: booda on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:37 AM EDT

I agree with Schwartz, and I don't even own any Sun products. Nor does my company, but we do use Java.

I love this "anyone GPL is always right, anyone who disagrees with GPL is wrong" attitude at Groklaw. It makes for entertaining reading.

Go ahead: download Red Hat's source code, and do what Mr. Raymond suggests: type, "configure; make; install". It might work, it might not. My money is on the latter. Will it work on your desktop at home? Probably. Will it work on the server down in your company's datacenter? Maybe. Maybe not.

For the non-techies: it isn't that easy. ESR likes to say it is, because it makes for good press, and anyone who says ESR isn't a publicity hound as much (or more) as anyone else (including Sun or SCO, etc) has been living under a rock for a long time. But, it isn't. Is your hardware supported by the source code? Got any special devices, like RAID controllers? You do? Can you get the source code for the device drivers? Do you know how to apply that source code to the Red Hat source distribution? If you don't, can you find someone who does? What if your hardware vendor doesn't offer driver source code? Do you know how to install a driver in binary format to a source tree once the source tree has been compiled? What if your hardware vendor doesn't support the driver they gave you if you're using a modified version of the Red Hat source? What then? Do you know how to resolve any source conflicts that might arise? If you don't, do you have someone on staff who does? What if that person gets fired, dies, or is on vacation? What then?

Businesses want to use products that offer support. The "warm-fuzzy" if you will. If you download Red Hat's source for free, which you can certainly do, and attempt ESR's cavalier instructions, you won't get support. You won't get updates, unless you go get them yourself (how will you know to get them?). And if the source RPM doesn't work, or doesn't apply (because, as ESR glibly points out, you can do what you want with the source code you download and if you have, you've probably munged or borked something that RH's RPMs expect to see), you will be on your own to backport the patches RH has made to their source to your current source tree. Is this do-able? Absolutely. Does this mean RH is "open source"? Absolutely. Does this mean that it's the right choice for businesses? For the majority of businesses, absolutely not. Businesses want to spend time doing their core business (at least the good ones do). For most businesses, their core business is NOT "maintain a unique version of the Red Hat distribution source tree".

My company uses Red Hat. I use Red Hat. The services we sell to our customers use code we've developed that run on Red Hat. We like Red Hat, we pay for Red Hat (binaries and support), though we'll probably switch to Novell/SuSE within the year. We pay because our core business is not maintaining our own version of Red Hat's source distribution for the various server platforms and configurations in our datacenter. It's not a smart or efficient use of money, time, or human resources. As far as we are concerned, Red Hat is "proprietary", because when it comes right down to it, Mr. Schwartz is right, whether he works for Sun or not. Working for Sun does not automatically make you wrong, nor does being Mr. Raymond (or Mr. Perens or Mr. Torvalds or whomever) automatically make you right, GPL or not, FSF or not.

Regarding ESR's comments on the SCSL (and Groklaw's corresponding editorial), what is not mentioned is this simple fact: the Java specifications are open. They are published, and they are freely available. Yes, Sun remains in nominal control. Yet, it is absolutely possible (and allowed) to develop clean-room implementations of the specifications. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be a GNU Classpath project. There wouldn't be projects like groovy. ESR is right, but only as far as he goes...there's more to it than what he says. Moreover, Schwartz is right, too, even though he does work for Sun.

Schwartz's argument may not be as eloquently stated as ESR's, but that doesn't make it automatically invalid. Employee of Sun or not.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Changing Business Model
Authored by: tizan on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:47 AM EDT
I think that what people cannot take is that the software
business model is changing... Just like in the early days
of the automobiles... those behind horse feeds etc found
their business gone but some people tried to cling on and
fought for "their way of life etc..."
Same thing here... Software industry and te internet have
defines a new way of doing software business... the money
is not in patenting ideas but providing service....
If you want redhat distro without service...download it
compile it and get your friend to do it for you or add
your stuff in it etc.. but if you want service and a
server that gets update and fixes..pay redhat or suse
etc..


---
tizan: What's the point of knowledge if you don't pass it on. Its like storing
all your data on a 1-bit write only memory !

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Selden patent - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 01:34 PM EDT
Mentality of the CEO.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 10:28 AM EDT
This playing field is not level. We are seeing more and more how different the
teams playing this game are.

On one hand, you have incredibly rich, powerful, al-beit clueless people
spurting out points of view that was GIVEN to them by well-paid lackies who are
nothing more than corporate YES-Men. CEOs do not actually do their own research
on subjects like this (or at least very few of them do). They simply commision
someone to give them an opinion on something that coincides with their buddies
in the CEO peer-group. (They believe these YES-Men becuase they pay them so
much, therefore they MUST be right!).

On the Other hand, you have people from the trenches. Most of them have actually
done their research for themselves. However, it is next to impossible for them
to be heard becuase whenever they speak; they preach to the choir. And most
often simply responding and trying to keep up with the lies spread by corporate
opportunists. Almost no real media will hear the truth becuase there is no money
behind it.

So for the time being, I expect that you can expect more and more of this
corporate posturing for mindshare of people not-in-the-know becuase its all
about money and not about elitism.. good old right and wrong dont even apply;
and the people with the money and power give the rest of us humans a bad name.

Of course thats just my opinion.. I could be wrong!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Virtual compatiblity
Authored by: rand on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 10:33 AM EDT
"Sun's definition of proprietary is behavior which defeats the customer's ability to compete vendors against one another, or choose from among many 'compatible' implementations."

I wonder if Schwartz really meant to virtualize the word "compatible" -- meaning not-really-compatible -- or if he was "quoted" out of context.

Sun seems as mixed-up about "proprietary" as teenagers are about sex -- they want look like they enjoy it but are really afraid of it. Start with their own PROPRIETARY RIGHTS NOTICE, and google from there: there are almost 20,000 hits on "proprietary" at Sun.com, less than 4000 of which also include "open source", "open standards" or "Linux". That's 5:1 in favor of closed systems.

And what should we think about using Sun's own Migration Tool to provide Exten sible support for new proprietary APIs?

---
carpe ductum -- "Grab the tape" (IANAL and so forth and so on)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Redhat's documentation?
Authored by: jukkay on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 10:49 AM EDT
"booda" was complaining that because the of lack of documentation it
may be too difficult to build/maintain a RedHat installation by yourself (if you
have special devices that are not supported by the source code, your hardware
vendor does not provide drivers in source form etc etc). Is this lack of
documentation true and couldn't RedHat-users create free online documentation if
they don't want to buy support for this (or for other problems during the use of
system)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Source and not Binary
Authored by: gleef on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 10:57 AM EDT

PJ Asks:
I don't know what he means about providing source and not binary, unless there has been a change. Whenever I've bought from Red Hat, I didn't have to compile from source unless I wanted to.

From what I understand Red Hat has set up their distribution structure so that:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source RPMs are available to everybody
  • RHEL binary RPMS are only available to paying customers
  • Fedora source and binary RPMs are available to everybody

Chances are he was referring to the fact that Red Hat refrains from distributing binaries unless you pay them. Of course, this is Free Software, so anybody else can distribute binaries, and WhiteBox is distributing WBEL, which is their compilation of RHEL's source RPMs. Kind of flies in the face of "proprietary", doesn't it.

Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary; I use Debian and don't have first hand experience of any of the above, I'm just reporting what I've read.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Concider the source ;)
Authored by: Asynchronous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 11:01 AM EDT
Crack open your nearest SPARC and tell me how non-proprietary the architecture
is... go on, I dare you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Humpty Dumpty linguistics
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 11:33 AM EDT
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it
means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'
.
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many
different things.'
.
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's
all.'"
.
("Through the looking glass", Lewis Carroll)
.
I wonder if Mr Schwartz and Mr Dumpty are related?
.
Peter

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux needs a language like .Net or Java for enterprise.
Authored by: Franki on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 11:37 AM EDT
I think the Linux community needs to develop an open source open standard
alternative to .net and Java.

Microsoft paid off Sun for a reason, because between the two of them, .Net and
Java, they can stem the enterprise uptake of Linux, and don't say Mono is the
answer because the "license" from microsoft is free, because they
still have the right to block Mono uptake if they want.

I'd like to see the OSS alternative based on Perl6 or Python, but the fact
remains that without Java and .Net Linux has some enterprise problems.

At least Sun can't take openoffice from us, and I suspect that if they start
messing with it to please M$, it will fork and be taken up by the community and
out of Suns hands.

rgds

Franki

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: JohnM on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 11:40 AM EDT

Aren't Schwartz's comments regarding proprietary/open
source similar to the ones from our 'good friends' at
AdTI?

They just don't seem to get it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Redhat isn't just open source, it is actually "Free Software"!
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 11:42 AM EDT
So unlike BSD code, which can be integrated into NT's proprietary stack, or
embraced and extended to incompability, Red Hat's software resists the dark
side!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 12:09 PM EDT
Just a note: If you have 1000 servers, you will not create 1000x the number of
support calls. If you have a problem across all servers (wich is usually the
case with bugs), you have only one support call, but you have to pay 1000x for
it. We don't do RedHat here where I work because of their ridiculous charges.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: midav on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 12:26 PM EDT
I have found the whole debate of Open Standards are better then Open Source is completely devoid of any meaning. It is like saying that apples are better than oranges.

You can have Open Source implementation of proprietary standard (GAIM is a OSS client for AIM) or you can have proprietary implementation of open standard (Solaris implements POSIX.)

I understand the part of JS's argument that Open Standards are better then Proprietary Standards. I also suspect, since he uses term 'proprietary' to undermine Red Hat's offering, that he is aware that Open Source is considered favorably by clients. I would also seriously consider the argument that Open Standards are more important for the IT industry than Open Software.

What I do not understand is how it makes them better? For example, my cell phone has a bluetooth connectivity, but it is arguably more important that it would still work well as a cell phone. Does it mean that GSM is better than Bluetooth? For me Open Standards vs Open Source is exactly the same type of question.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reuters just sold Yankee Group
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 12:37 PM EDT
Well that's a good beginning a least. If they stop promoting biased reports and
return to the good old fashioned journalism principles instead I would take
reports signed "Reuters" serious again. However they have some way to
go.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Free as in Speech, not as in beer" needs an edit
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 12:37 PM EDT
You know, that "Free as in speech, not as in beer" tagline doesn't have the right rhetorical force to get through to PHBs and the general public, in my opinion.

"Free as in markets, not as in lunch" not only takes the juvenile (and nonsensical) beer reference out, but co-opts Darl's "no free lunch or free Linux" and puts anti-OSS people in the position of explicitly speaking against free markets.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: aaron_tx on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 12:46 PM EDT
Can we now start referring to them as $un?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: ujay on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 01:25 PM EDT
Is there actually a case to be made for worrying about the future of open
source?

We have the SCO FUD Volcano, spewing lies, half truths, intentional
misinterpretations, deliberate obfuscation, and enough delaying tactics to make
sure the issue will not be resolved until the bovine species finalizes it's
incorporation into the avian...

We have Microsoft attacking open source and Linux on the 'hidden costs' and TCO
shadow dances...

We have ADTI attacking open source in a completely ludicrous fashion, that is
easily debunked as the corporate sponsored feint to the left it is...

We have Sun's Schwartz attacking Red Hat as being 'proprietary', in a rather
interesting and completely novel definition of what prorietary is ...

We have Green Hills attacking Linux adoption by Government and defense as a
terrorist attack waiting to happen....

We have Ireland, with the full approval and support of Microsoft, pushing
through Software Patents in Europe...

We have 'well informed' analysts such as Didio, Enderle, and Ken Brown
pontificationg on the perils of Linux, Open Source or the character of open
source adherants, and even of Torvalds.

The amount of disinformation, lies, and scare tactics coming from multiple
sources (no matter how reliable), on mutliple fronts is simply staggering. The
unfortunate part of this scenario, is who is listening? Board rooms and exec's
take this bucolic output seriously. The people in IT may know the truth, but
presenting the truth can be a different genus of feline.

While I am happy to see that the level of open source and Linux adoption is
still on the rise, I cannot stop and wonder what the future holds. The
incessant attacks, no matter how ridiculous they appear to us, get the
headlines, while the responses are buried. Adding to the lack of credibility to
a lot of the responses, is the --- to put it kindly --- slashdotized style of
response. Groklaw gives a great reasoned (for the most part) response, and I
know that the number of people, including execs and Board Room populace,
watching is increasing.

It still remains an information war, and the volume of disinformation being
tossed into the atmosphere may still work against us in the long run. Make no
mistake, this is a war we are in, and the stakes may be as high as the
eradication of liberty. As an independant software developer, the potential for
me to be shut down completely is something I have to take into serious
consideration. I am not entirely thralled at the idea of some corporation
telling me what I have the right to write or not. If we allow this trend to
continue, we will doom free society to the intellectual slavery that is becoming
more the norm today.

I once heard that the only thing worse than burning books, was not reading them.
Today, the only thing worse than not being able to write software, is not being
able to use it. We are losing on both those fronts.


---
Programmer: A biological system designed to convert coffee and cheesies into
code

[ Reply to This | # ]

This where
Authored by: Tim Ransom on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 01:28 PM EDT
I part ways with Elton John. If you get the reference, let me just say sorry, I
couldn't help it :D

---
Thanks again,

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: rickmci on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 01:54 PM EDT
I guess SUN did slide into bed next to Microsoft after all these years. Well
there fate should be the same.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Orwell made errors....
Authored by: cricketjeff on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 01:56 PM EDT
In 1984 the language was "Newspeak" it appears that he was wrong,
Newspeak is being developed by some of the odder parts of corporate America not
a Governement We have the following:

Scopyright - A write granted to Successors of successors to be paid huge somes
of money for non-infingemnt of copyright

Proprietary - Free and Open

Independant Analysts - People we pay to say what we tell them

Star Lawyer - Coco the clown

Prove - Allege

Comply - ignore

Team of experts - Pink elephants

Any other examples? Maybe we need GrokDict so we can follow the cases properly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Configure; make; install?? I don't think so.
Authored by: booda on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 02:13 PM EDT

White Box Linux HOWTO

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Rebuild mini-HOWTO

Quote: You will need a server for building the SRPMS and generate the distribution. I am using a RHEL AS system for this task. This means that you have to buy one RHEL system. However, I thought that this is definitely worth it: I can be sure that my build is very close or almost identical to the "real" product.

Not to mention the legal implications...how many people installing RH from source would be aware of these? See the section entitled "Filing off the serial numbers" in the White Box HOWTO.

But ESR doesn't work for Sun, so he must be right.

booda

[ Reply to This | # ]

Source code is not a standards document
Authored by: droth on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 02:52 PM EDT
>In this context I would portray the source-code as a poorly writen
standards
>document.

I disagree. A standards document describes how a certain type of thing
should be constructed. A body of source code is the construction of one of
those things.

Let's say that I've been reading the standard for the Hello, World program. I
write an implementation in C:

###########################################
#include <stdio.h>

function main() { printf("Hello, world!n"); }
###########################################

Basically, one include statement and one line of code.

But this program does not contain any specifics about a standard. You can
read it and assume that any compatible Hello, World program simply needs to
print the message Hello, world! on the screen. That assumption may or may
not be correct.

Maybe the string that's printed *has to be* 'Hello, world!' Maybe the newline
at the end is neccessary, maybe it's not. Maybe the exclamation point is
required, maybe it's not. Maybe only the word 'hello' needs to be capitalized,

maybe both do, maybe capitalization does not matter.

Maybe the program has to display its output to stdout, or maybe it just has to
generate the output - stderr might be an acceptible channel to print the
output to.

Maybe the function should not take any arguments; maybe it is okay for it to
accept an argument, but it should ignore it; maybe it should generate an
explicit error if an argument is passed in.

I could go on. Let's take a look at what Hello, World looks like if it
includes
comments to clear up the questions I just raised:

###########################################
#include <stdio.h>

// mesg must be defined as "Hello, world!n"
// this is case sensitive, so don't change any caps
// you must include the newline
// don't alter the punctuation
char mesg[] = "Hello, world!n";

// main() can take a foo argument, but it's optional
// if foo is passed in, it must be an integer
// if foo is positive, write mesg to stdout
// if foo is negative, write mesg to stderr
// if foo is zero, create a temporary file in $TEMP and write mesg to it
function main() {
// we're not implementing the foo variable here, so printf() is fine
printf(mesg);
}
###########################################


So a two-line program just became about fifteen lines.

I submit to you that nobody in her right mind would write code like this.
That's why we've got standards documents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: But Good News about Lindows.
Authored by: midav on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 02:54 PM EDT
Thanks to Slashdot. Judge in Holland ruled that company name Lindows does not infringe Windows OS trademark. Link to the article in PC World

I like the ruling: "Not every use of the business name Lindows infringes on the Windows trademark"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Yeah, I got that. What's the problem?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 03:07 PM EDT
"First here is Mr. Schwartz's convoluted definition of what *he* thinks the word proprietary means, which rivals manuals that arrive with some new electronic gadget for incomprehensibility:
"Availability of source code isn't what qualifies you as 'not proprietary'—Sun's definition of proprietary is behavior which defeats the customer's ability to compete vendors against one another, or choose from among many 'compatible' implementations. To me, J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] is an open standard—it enables substitution and competition among multiple, competing vendors. Just like Apache."
Got that?
Yeah, I got it. Schwartz's definition of "proprietary" is different than yours, and it may well be wrong. But, since I'm more interested in understanding what he has to say than I am in crucifying him on a word definition, I don't have any trouble understanding his point, and I think it has some merit. Red Hat is indeed careful to stay within the letter of the GPL, and in doing so, gets the undying support of ESR, Linus, PJ, and others. But quite a number of observers have observed over time on Groklaw that, just short of disobeying the "letter of the law" (the GPL), Red Hat FUD's with the best of them and works at "lock in" to the best of it's ability. You don't have to spend much time at the Red Hat web site before being told over and over that Red Hat - not Linux - is The Standard

I think that this "incomprehensibility"/"Got that?" fanfare is a bit over the top

Wally Bass

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interestingly when he said this...
Authored by: Galik on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 03:40 PM EDT
"The number of customers that have the ability to build their own source trees is vanishingly small—for the most part, this isn't what CIOs or IT execs want their folks doing."

I remembered that this was exactly what Microsoft said before launching their so-called "shared source" thingy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

closed source vs open standards
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 04:33 PM EDT
it seems to me that standards in it, especially open ones, exist partially
because of the need to deal with the unknown hooks/forks placed in proprietary,
closed source software.

just a thought.

sum.zero

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ok Ken Brown writes fiction.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 06:13 PM EDT
What I want to know, is it a good read?

"I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way." --
Mark Twain

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: davidbakody on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 08:14 PM EDT
As I seem to recall... a little over a year ago SCO engaged in the same type of
conduct, rhetoric, etc, before launching their attackw against IBM and the open
source movement. I wonder if Sun is planning to replace SCO in the war between
those opposed to (what some might call) the tyranny of Microsoft and the liberty
provided by open source/GNU-Linux. Could these acts and declarations on the part
of Sun be part of the the deal or arrangement worked out during the golf games
between buddies Balmer and McNealy?

Rather than focus on producing good products, helping customers solve real
problems, or move toward what the market is asking for - Sun is acting a lot
like Microsoft/SCO and unleashing typical FUD. They've even followed the same
pattern of installing a Balmer-like/McBride-like type to lead the company.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Schwartz in his own words
Authored by: Tim Ransom on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:00 PM EDT
This is from last spring:

Open source versus open standards

This is from last fall:

Sun exec: Open-source is irrelevant

What he fails to mention is this: Open standards may arguably ensure compatibility, but they don't ensure real interopability because they don't ensure open source. Standards bodies are dominated by large corporations (like Sun), who are then able to stifle innovation. I can build apps for Windows, but I can't see their code, so I must work with standards - that's all I have to go on. Schwartz should be intimate with this, as Sun's newfangled interopability with MS products is as a direct result of access to the code, without which it would be impossible.

---
Thanks again,

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just for the record: excerpt from Sun's 10-Q filing (05/07/2004)
Authored by: m_si_M on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 09:00 PM EDT
On April 1, 2004, Sun and Microsoft entered into several agreements including an
agreement to settle all pending litigation between the two companies. Pursuant
to the settlement agreement, Sun agreed to dismiss its litigation against
Microsoft with prejudice and agreed to not initiate further steps to participate
in the proceedings pending against Microsoft instituted by the Commission of the
European Communities, and each party entered into a release of claims with
respect to such matters. Microsoft also agreed to pay to Sun the amount of $700
million under this settlement agreement.

Pursuant to a patent covenant and stand-still agreement, the parties agreed not
to sue each other for past damages for patent infringement with respect to the
other party’s products and technologies (the “Covenant Not to Sue for Damages”).
Each year until 2014, Microsoft has the option of extending the Covenant Not to
Sue for Damages to apply to the preceding year in exchange for an annual
extension payment, so long as Microsoft has made all previous annual extension
payments and so long as Microsoft has not sued Sun or authorized licensees of
its commercial products for patent infringement prior to such time. At the end
of the ten-year term, if Microsoft has made all such payments and not brought
any such suits, then each party will automatically grant to the other party
irrevocable, non-exclusive, perpetual licenses under all of its patents and
patent applications existing at the end of such period in order to allow such
other party to continue to commercialize its products shipping at the end of
such period and any related successor products. In addition, the parties agreed,
for a period of six months, not to bring any patent infringement suit (including
a suit for injunctive relief) against the other party or authorized licensees of
its commercial products relating to such other party’s products. Microsoft also
agreed to pay to Sun the amount of $900 million under this patent covenant and
standstill agreement.

Pursuant to a technical collaboration agreement, each party agreed to provide
the other party with access to aspects of its desktop and server-based
technology for use in developing interoperable server products. Microsoft also
agreed to pay to Sun the amount of $350 million as a prepaid nonrefundable
royalty under this technical collaboration agreement.

We entered into settlement agreements with the United States Department of
Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement (BIS) on
December 15, 2003 addressing certain BIS charges that we had violated export
control regulations. The settlement includes a one year suspended denial of our
worldwide export privileges. In the event that we violate export control laws
during the one year suspension period, the BIS order denying us worldwide export
privileges could take effect.

---
C.S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does that include SCO?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 10:09 PM EDT
" Interesting concept, that, suing over public statements that are
"incorrect and prejudicial" to one's interests."

If SCO is going to start suing people who do this, does that infer that they
will be suing their CEO?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Quality of Java: Directly from Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 10:26 PM EDT

If you want to know the real story behind Java, read this one. It is truly amusing. And, what's more important, it is all true.

Java on Solaris

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just try it!
Authored by: Khym Chanur on Friday, May 28 2004 @ 11:09 PM EDT
O'Shaughnessy also said SCO would 'never say never' about examining its legal options over comments made by individuals and groups it believed were incorrect and prejudicial to its interests. However, he stressed his remarks were a statement of commercial reality and not intended as a specific warning to OSIA. He added that SCO was 'quite within its rights to seek redress' from those who made inaccurate or malicious comments that endangered the company's business.

That would just give the anti-SCO side more coverage, and make them look like the underdog. Even though it would really suck for PJ, I'd cackle with glee if they sued Groklaw, since everyone would learn just what SCO is like. Of course, they already would have done that by now if they were stupid enough to try (unless they think they could use the outrage generated by such a suit as a smoke-screen to cover some other shennanigans).

Also, "... 'seek redress' from those who made inaccurate or malicious comments ..."? So if a comment was accurate but malicious, they'd still sue? What with their weird theory of derivative works, maybe they would.

---
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Paraphrased from Terry Pratchett)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Schwartz Badmouths Red Hat Some More - Eric Raymond's Rebuttal
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 29 2004 @ 05:01 AM EDT
Schwartz is completely wrong.

RH allows other companies to compile and distribute the RH source tree.

This means that RH *fulfils* Schwartz's definition of an open standard: as
something that allows you to compare different vendors. You can compare RH with
Whitebox (and there are others) - as two implementations of RH's code base.

How open do you want it? Would SUN match that? Never! They are hypocrits by
their own definition of "open". SUN should show us who else can offer
Solaris besides SUN, before they complain about RH. And RH not only lets you
compile and sell their code - you can freely extend or modify it. The only thing
you cannot do is, claim to be RH.

[ Reply to This | # ]

the Sun has set
Authored by: ray08 on Sunday, May 30 2004 @ 07:53 PM EDT
I'll say it agin, each day Sun shows us where they stand in the M$/SCO vs Linux
case. How could one argue against Sun siding with M$ in destroying Linux??
"The Great Settlement" was a sellout on Sun's behalf, plain and
simple.

Goodbye Sun, no wonder Bill Joy left you.

---
Caldera is toast! And Groklaw is the toaster! (with toast level set to BURN)

[ Reply to This | # ]

RedHat is just a name.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 07:22 AM EDT
RedHat is just a name. Meaning less all the time. They have not taken steps to
clean up their directions, remarks, and sarcasm. They deserve no attention from
the open source community. As far as I am concered, RedHat "IS"
proprietary in at least a single form or two of the word. I have no respect for
RedHat anymore. Nor is their distrobution as "enterprise" as they
claim. It's just a name. Slackware and a new kernel build will give better
results any day of the week.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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