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MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Tuesday, June 14 2005 @ 11:43 PM EDT

Well, what do you know? It turns out Linux isn't a cancer after all.


It's a role model.

And you know how we keep hearing buckets of FUD that Open Source is written by God-knows-who? Well, today we learn from their actions that Microsoft was just horsing around about all that.

They have hired Daniel Robbins, at one time chief architect of the Gentoo distribution to help them "understand open source and community-based projects." So, when Microsoft needed to hire someone from the community, they were able to find him, huh?

The poor man has his work cut out for him. Frankly, I hope he fails. I prefer that Microsoft not quite get it, if you know what I mean, since their slimy purpose is to destroy Linux and the GPL. And I wish more appropriate companies would quickly hire the cream of the programmer crop, so that Microsoft has only the wannabe's available to them. Think of it as a preemptive strike. No. Seriously. Incompetence is our friend. Imagine if Microsoft had funded a company other than SCO.

See what I mean?

Today three corporations demonstrated that they believe they can seriously benefit from Open Source. Microsoft is only one of the three.

Sun Microsystems is the second corporation that needs Open Source. It would like you to help them make some money by writing code for them. You can use the code you write for yourself too, so long as you swear on a stack of Bibles you won't mix it with GPL'd code (the CDDL is incompatible) or help Linux out in any way, shape or form. I'm mentioning that because they don't and neither does Stephen Shankland in his article. Of course, Sun gets to be co-copyright owner of your code, according to Shankland's report. Here's the Sun Contributor Agreement page, which concurs. No doubt that will lead to tons of fun for you down the road, when they wish to do something you don't want them to do with the code. Here's the Sun Contributor Agreement [PDF] you must sign, before you can contribute code:

2. You hereby assign to Sun joint ownership in all worldwide common law and statutory rights associated with the copyrights, copyright applications and copyright registrations in Your Contribution, to the extent allowable under applicable local laws and copyright conventions, and agree never to assert against Sun any “moral rights” therein. You understand that (i) this Agreement may be submitted by Sun to register a copyright in Your Contribution, and (ii) Sun may exercise all rights as a copyright owner of Your Contribution. This Agreement supersedes and replaces all prior copyright assignments for Contributions made by You to Sun. Neither party has any duty whatsoever to render an accounting to the other party for any use of a Contribution.

English translation: Sun can do whatever it wishes. And vice versa. Here's a snip from Larry Rosen's book, "Open Source Licensing," to give you a little context:

Open source projects are usually not the owners of the copyrights in the contributions to them, and they have no right to change those licensing terms on their own. . . .

Who should have the right to make future licensing decisions about contributions, the project or the contributor? There is no single answer to this question in the open source community. In fields other than software, this issue has long been a fruitful source of litigation. Musicians and artists have often fought against their own publishers, to whom they once willingly assigned their copyrights, trying to regain those valuable rights for other markets. In recent years, contributors to newspaper articles fought against their own publishers for the rights to republlish their articles in new online forums. These cases often turn on the interpretation of contributor agreements. Of course, had they been handled as copyright or patent assignments, no rights would remain and the musicians, artists and newspaper writers would have been without recourse regardless of what decisions their publishers make.

I personally don't want to give up too much control to my publisher. When the words are mine, I want to own them. I will license them to everyone under an appropriate open source license, but I will not give them away to someone else who can then elect to take them private or license them in ways of which I don't approve. This is true no matter how much I like my publisher, and no matter how much I want to save my publisher from having to worry about future relicensing problems.

In the case of the Sun Contributor Agreement, my understanding is that you give away your right to control what Sun does with your contribution; however, you are also free to use it any way you like yourself. However, since Sun is the copyright holder of your code, just as you are, it can change the licensing terms at any time it wishes. And, of course, the elephant in the room is Microsoft. Sun and Microsoft are in a patent peace, but you aren't. If Microsoft has patents it could use against you, even if Sun knows about those patents, there is nothing in the agreement or the CDDL that requires Sun to share with you what it knows. It can't be sued, but you can be. If you'd like to review Groklaw's articles on the CDDL, here's the one when they announced it, and here's what we think is wrong with it. And here's the one with the chart showing the changes they made to the Mozilla Public Licence to create their CDDL. Some binaries in Solaris are released under what they call the OpenSolaris Binary License:

Some binary components are covered under the OpenSolaris Binary License and some are covered under other open source licenses.

For example, take Java. It says this:

Software may contain Java technology. You may not create additional classes to, or modifications of, the Java technology, except under compatibility requirements available under a separate agreement available at

I suggest you read the license carefully, and then think of SCO:

1. Definitions.

"Software" means the OS/NETWORKING (ON) BINARY-ONLY COMPONENTS, ON-SPECIFIC BUILD TOOLS, AND ON BLINDINGLY FAST UPDATE (BFU) ARCHIVES BINARIES in binary form, any other machine readable materials (including, but not limited to, libraries, source files, header files, and data files), any updates or error corrections provided by Sun, and any user manuals, programming guides and other documentation provided to you by Sun under this Agreement.

2. Permitted Uses.

Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement and restrictions and exceptions set forth in the Software's documentation, Sun grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited license without fees to

(a) reproduce and use internally the Software for the purposes of developing or running an Open Solaris distribution.

(b) reproduce and distribute the Software (and also portions of Software identified as Redistributable in the documentation accompanying Software), provided that you (i)distribute the Software or Redistributables bundled as part of, and for the sole purpose of running, an OpenSolaris distribution; (ii) do not remove or alter any proprietary legends or notices contained in or on the Software or Redistributables, (iii) only distribute the Software or Redistributables subject to a license agreement that protects Sun's interests consistent with the terms contained in this Agreement, and (iv) you agree to defend and indemnify Sun and its licensors from and against any damages, costs, liabilities, settlement amounts and/or expenses (including attorneys' fees) incurred in connection with any claim, lawsuit or action by any third party that arises or results from the use or distribution of any and all Programs, Software, or Redistributables.

3. Restrictions.

(a) The copies of Software provided to you under this Agreement is licensed, not sold, to you by Sun. Sun reserves all rights not expressly granted.

(b) You may not modify Software. However if the documentation accompanying Software lists specific portions of Software, such as header files, class libraries, reference source code, and/or redistributable files, that may be handled differently, you may do so only as provided in the documentation.

(c) You may not rent, lease, lend or encumber Software.

(d) you do not remove or alter any proprietary legends or notices contained in the Software,

(e) Unless enforcement is prohibited by applicable law, you may not decompile, or reverse engineer Software.

(f) The terms and conditions of this Agreement will apply to any Software updates, provided to you at Sun's discretion, that replace and/or supplement the original Software, unless such update contains a separate license.

(g) Software is confidential and copyrighted.

(h) Software is not designed, licensed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility and Sun and its licensors disclaim any express or implied warranty of fitness for such uses.

(i) No right, title or interest in or to any trademark, service mark, logo or trade name of Sun or its licensors is granted under this Agreement.

(j) If your Permitted Use in this Agreement permits the distribution Software or portions of the Software, you may only distribute the Software subject to a license agreement that protects Sun's interests consistent with the terms contained in this Agreement.

Sheesh. Trade secret protection and copyright simultaneously? Silly me. I thought copyright law was serious that to enjoy a copyright, you had to go public with whatever you had the copyright on. That was the deal. Anyway, remember the contracts in SCO v. IBM and be careful what you agree to.

I don't think Sun quite grasps the concept of Free as in Freedom. Or the Open Source method, for that matter, which is to share and share alike freely, so others don't have to reinvent the wheel all the time. Here's the page they have the nerve to call "OpenSolaris Community: GNU Solaris", where you can learn about their desire to incorporate more GNU software into Solaris. Just not the other way around. That's not what I'd call sharing.

This community is all about incorporating/including GNU software into OpenSolaris.

OpenSolaris supports lots of standards - XPG3, XPG4, XPG6, Posix, etc. GNU has become a defacto standard in the Linux and *BSD communities, and we've incorporated many GNU commands and libraries into Solaris already, albeit often with name changes, marooned out in /usr/sfw where new users cannot find it, etc.

We would like to bring more GNU software into OpenSolaris, and rationalize the naming conventions without breaking backwards compatibility. In addition, we could provide an individual user with a choice of a GNU personality for OpenSolaris/Solaris.

It's sharing that results in what IBM says is a 30% increase in the speed of software development for them. You can read about their new Community Source development model, which hopes to benefit from the best (from their perspective) of the Open Source methodology, while grafting on some hierarchical top-down control. Doug Heintzman, IBM Software Group's VP of Strategy and Technology, puts it like this in the interview:

We look at the open source communities out there and we are witnessing this kind of fascinating bottoms up grassroots innovation where great people have an idea and collaborate with other people and get together to make those ideas into something real. That's a very exciting phenomenon. So certainly we have a structured approach to community source, but we also have an eye to promoting this bottom up, collaborative, creative process. This is part of borrowing the culture from the open source community.

Would anyone have hired Linus Torvalds in early '90s to work on the Linux kernel? I don't think so. For that matter, would anyone have hired me to do Groklaw in 2003? No. We were both nobodies. No pertinent track record. Both wanting to try something a little bit new. But both projects worked. Why? Heintzman, when he describes the new IBM development model, hits on what I believe is an important key:

The quick gist of it is really quite simple. We run a very large software development company and we have laboratories around the world. And due to a number of technological factors as well as some efficiency enablers like the Internet, we have decided to move to a new development methodology.

We are systematically decomposing our technologies into a number of components and a lot more reuse than was previous possible. Because of that strategic decision we need to move to a development system that allows us much greater transparency, and a much greater awareness and cross pollination of expertise, ideas and requirements between all of the various different laboratories.

Increasingly our products are assembled from components instead of architected from the top down. We basically leveraged our rather extensive experience with the open source communities and we have borrowed many of their philosophies, strategies, tools and a lot of their culture to transform IBM's internal development practices to support global component development and promote collaboration and reuse of technology.

That's the high level synopsis.

The key piece, I believe, is the Internet. He calls it an efficiency enabler. It's actually more than that. It's a socialization tool. You can meet people from all over the world in real time and work on anything you all find interesting, and because of the scale of the Internet, the very best minds and the best skills can find each other quickly and easily and naturally. There is no geography. I know that with Groklaw, I work with people I'd never have met in my pre-Groklaw world, and it's been such a pleasure. I don't even need to meet them in real life to work very well together. I'm sure it's the same with the kernel work. It's fun, and it doesn't just enable efficiency. It creates working groups that otherwise would never have existed, based on ability and nothing else. There is no middle man, no interview with Personnel, no resume, no corporate culture. You see who does good work, and you give that person more to do, usually based on their own suggestions. It's a natural process. Most of it just happens. And it's so, so satisfying. And someone is awake and working 24/7. It's no wonder corporations are trying to bottle it.

I had a devilish thought when I read this about Robbins:

While in the midst of hastily packing to move to Redmond, Robbins nonetheless managed to find the time to finalize the transfer of Gentoo's intellectual property (essentially copyrights on ebuilds and other software as well as soon-to-be trademarked Gentoo logos) to the not-for-profit Gentoo Foundation, Inc.

I thought to myself, I sure hope Microsoft doesn't infringe any of Gentoo's copyrights. You know, methods and concepts and such? According to their pal, SCO, if you are once exposed to such, why, there's no telling who can claim ownership of the craziest things if that programmer tries to write some code for the new employer. I would assume Robbins is mentally contaminated and all, a la Unix.

Joke. Joke. But you see how idiotic that concept is, when you play out the idea in real life? No programmer could ever work for more than one company and or at least only on one kind of OS. And heaven help any programmer who has actually studied computer science. Unix is inevitably what they study. So they can't work for anyone but SCO, I guess. That's it. All computer science graduates can work only for SCO. There. Problem solved.


Jonathan Schwartz has found a way to attack the GPL and Linux:

Sun in the past has positioned Solaris 10 as direct competitor of Linux. In a conference call about the open sourcing of the code, Schwartz once again took a jab at the Linux operating system.

He called the general public license (GPL) a "punitive license" and said that Open Solaris "allowed for individuals to build products free from any obligations." . . .

The main difference between the two is how they treat adjustments that individual developers or companies make to the code. The GPL requires developers to share their code with the world, and the CDDL lets developers keep the source code of their work a secret.

The latter is a major benefit for enterprises that want to incorporate open-source code into their products without giving out trade secrets.


MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source | 349 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 14 2005 @ 11:51 PM EDT
And Sun is offering open source Solaris in an article found at Australian IT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: dnl on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:16 AM EDT
Please post your off-topic stuff here, and, if appropriate, use the clickable
link format provided on the comment page. Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here
Authored by: dnl on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:17 AM EDT
Please post corrections here...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here Please
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:21 AM EDT
"of their culture to tranrm IBM's "

"of their culture to transform IBM's" or "of their culture to
tranrm (sic) IBM's " ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

"OpenSolaris Community: GNU Solaris"
Authored by: stend on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:23 AM EDT

I won't claim that I forsaw this when RMS started with his "GNU Linux" nonsense, but I said at the time that I was using* as much GNU software on my Solaris workstation as I was on my Linux one, so "GNU Solaris" made as much sense as "GNU Linux". Now that's coming back to haunt him, as now his GNU term is being tied to the very non-free Solaris. I only hope that GNU is a trademark (looking at, I don't see any notices), so that the FSF can tell Sun to cease and desist.

*There may have been more GNU software installed on my Linux system, but I wasn't using more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: sef on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:26 AM EDT

I believe, but can't recall details right now, that this is not the first time uSoft has hired someone to help them "understand" the open source community. I seem to recall that at least one of the earlier hires quit in frustration.

Am I misremembering?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Solaris engineers offer personal source-code tours
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:51 AM EDT
Sun Microsystems chose to employ the human touch when it introduced more than 5 million lines of Solaris source code onto the Internet on Tuesday.

The ambassadors are dozens of Sun programmers who published blog entries for the OpenSolaris launch, sharing personal stories from deep within the Solaris project. The firsthand accounts ranged from Liane Praza's first bug fix to Bryan Cantrill's "Sewer Tour" of some deeply buried Solaris plumbing.

Another programmer, Keith Wesolowski, described Sun's ups and downs trying to adapt Solaris so developers could build it with the open-source GCC compiler and not just Sun's own "Vulcan" programming tools. He also invited outsiders to come fix more than 300 "very small" bugs.

Sun also is using fashionable software to further the OpenSolaris agenda. OpenSolaris blog entries incorporate tags for easy indexing on the Technorati blog-tracking site. And the OpenSolaris source code is available through the BitTorrent file-sharing service--a sharp reversal from Sun's typical practice of requiring a user to register then download code from Sun's own Web site.

Sun deserves credit for the geek-centric approach, said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady. "The best aspect of it for me is seeing a rather large software organization actually recognize the audience they want to be speaking to--in this case the developers."

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS will create a trojan
Authored by: paivakil on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:12 AM EDT
What M$ learns from drobbins will be used to create a trojan to poison the FLOSS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Freedom as in Microsoft
Authored by: maco on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:20 AM EDT
good article from Th e Guardian

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: eamacnaghten on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:23 AM EDT
PJ: Here you said...
The poor man [Daniel Robbins] has his work cut out for him. Frankly, I hope he fails. I prefer that Microsoft not quite get it, if you know what I mean, since their slimy purpose is to destroy Linux and the GPL.
and in so doing seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that Microsoft does not "get" FLOSS. It "gets" it perfectly, and always has done. In fact they understand it bettert than most. Unfortunately for them it flies into the face of it's business model - one centered on control of the implementation of software - so therefore they have no truck with it. That is why they want to destroy Linux and the GPL - though of course they are more than happy with BSD licensing.

My belief is that Daniel has been employed to try and inject life into their shared source program. Microsoft see armies of people increasing the profits of RedHat, IBM, Novell and a whole host of others for no salary costs (that is how they would see it, anyway) and want a part of the action. They understand why the volunteers are doing this, but they would want to do this and keep distribution control. Employing Daniel (and there probably some others as well) who has experience of successfully organizing a community project is an attempt by them to try and achieve this IMHO.

Do not think Microsoft are stupid, and do not think that they do not know what FLOSS is or how it works. They understand perfectly. They just do not like it.

Web Sig: Eddy Currents

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: stevem on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:41 AM EDT
Actually this isn't all that odd.
Every Solaris sysadmin I know (including myself!) as one of the first major
tasks we do when building a new server is to install a *heap* of GNU stuff.

My *production* servers have more GNU/OSS packages than they do Sun packages.
The Dev servers have even more. And this is not at all unusual.
Most of those remaining Sun packages are core drivers and such; or Solaris
specific apps for which there is no GNU equivalent.
Heaven help the newly minted Solaris sysadmin who forgets to either create a
/usr/local partition or a big enough /usr. ;-)

To a certain extent I actually feel this is a positive move by Sun. It simply,
officially, recognises what has been happening in client-land for quite a long

It's probably not helpful from a FOSS perspective, but it does make my life as a
Solaris sysadmin a lot easier. And most importantly, without breaking all those
old & critical apps that expect the dumbed down Solaris versions of

my 2c

- SteveM

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Solaris 10
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:59 AM EDT
Well, you can be negative about this move by Sun all you want, but it *did*
enable me to find a bug that haunted us last year in about an hour (a
performance problem with single precision floating point simulation).

At least now we can repair the damage, rebuild the kernel and remove all the
work-arounds from our Numerical Weather Prediction model.

Toon Moene (not logged in while at "work")

[ Reply to This | # ]

Copyright transfer
Authored by: Pseudonym on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 02:00 AM EDT

Sun is only requiring a copyright transfer if you contribute code to their tree. You can fork your own all you like and they won't stop you.

Guess what? It's exactly the same if you want to contribute to the GNU project. And why not? Open source does not give you the automatic right to commit your code onto MY tree. If you don't like it, fork your own.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 02:12 AM EDT
My question: why is this guy going to work for Microsoft? I mean, what is HIS
motivation (assuming it's something other than the piles of money they're
presumably offering him)?

Does he intend to act as a double-agent for OSS inside Microsoft - reporting all
the bad stuff to the OSS community? How long would he last that way?

And if he's not, and he SEES "bad stuff", what is he going to do?

I just don't get why a Gentoo guy wants to work for Microsoft in ANY capacity!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 03:57 AM EDT
While i take MS's word with a big pile of salt, i can't overlook the bias in
your words.
By hiring a linux guy ms didn't do any wrong. They can now rightfully say, they
cannot do anything to please you.
Especially that two articles before you said, you don't hate and don't fight

Why isn't it enough to point out that MS cannot ignore FOSS, and even employs
it. And be watchful (but silent) about possible mischiefs. Bursting out all in a
rage when there is no wrongdoing will take away the heat when later there is a
need of rage.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • War? - Authored by: PJ on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 02:31 AM EDT
Trade secret protection and copyright simultaneously?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 07:35 AM EDT
>> Sheesh. Trade secret protection and copyright simultaneously? Silly me.
I thought copyright law was serious that to enjoy a copyright, you had to go
public with whatever you had the copyright on. That was the deal. <<

That's an over-simplification. Take music as an example: A finished recording is
copyrighted. But that *doesn't* mean that the producers must explain how it was
created and any clever techniques they use.

Same for software, the executable is copyright, but that doesn't force giving
away the source code.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Random thoughts
Authored by: dyfet on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 08:37 AM EDT
Although this covers a lot of ground, I thought I would do all my comments in one message rather than a few.

First, IBM experimenting with different forms of community development models is a good thing. Free software, as well as not being free as in gratious, but rather as in liberty, it was also never about a single or specific development methodology. Most free software is developed in some form of community model, but this is a consequence of freedom rather than a explicit strategy. If IBM finds a particular development model that works well for IBM, and the software that is created is free as in freedom, then more power to them, even if its through a different or modified development methodology.

Second, "GNU Solaris" real harm done here, as all the software they draw in are presumably GNU packages under the GPL, hence, anything they do with it the community gets back anyway. This is why the GPL is so very important, and why certain companies, much like the Grinch on his lonely mountain, hates it.

As to software under CDDL with joint copyright with Sun, I think I would rather be thrown in a snake pit around feeding time than have Sun have any copyright interest in any code I write!

As for working for Microsoft; I will not directly comment on Robbins, as I know not what he is thinking or may imagine, but I will say this; I'm a north Jersey boy, however, I never worked for "family", no matter how desperate I may have been, and I would never work for Microsoft for many of the very same reasons. As far as I can tell Microsoft's ONLY interest in free/open source software is in trying to find ways to sabotage it.

Finally, trade secrets and copyrights. Well, software is the only field I know where one may potentially apply trade secret claims, copyright, contract claims, and patent restrictions, all to the very same piece of code! All these things should be exclusionary to each other, after all, contract terms (EULA) are often added to remove the balance of rights known as "fair use" that is part of the bargain one is supposed to accept for the privilege of copyright (as well as other rights and freedoms), and software patents are principly used to control or remove alternate competitive products.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lucky it's Gentoo!
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 08:46 AM EDT
Now Micro Softies will be compiling until the cows come home, just like Gentoos
do. Which will make the release of Shorthorn even more late. Nice :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Just the latest marketing buzz-word?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 08:58 AM EDT

Kind of reminds me of OpenVMS. There is nothing more "open" about it
than the old VMS; but marketing showed that adding the word "open"
increased sales up to 15% - or something.

OpenSolaris may be a lot more open than OpenVMS, but it's not open like Linux or

I expect all the majors to jump on buzz-words like "community source"
or whatever. It doesn't necessarily mean anything.

- walterbyrd

[ Reply to This | # ]

I guess this means extra clauses...
Authored by: Bas Burger on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 09:19 AM EDT
On top of the GPL licence when my next version of my insignificant (for MS)
piece of software comes out.

If MS will poisen the Linux community with their divide and conquer tactics, I
just make an extra clause that forbids anyone connected to MS from using my

Oh yes I can, the Berne convention says so, and if companies like MS are able to
discriminate on price by refusing their software to poor people, then I am able
to discriminate on price too by refusing my software to be used by rich

I don't have to make money from it, neither I care that my software gives me
high profile and being wanted by any community.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Daniel Robbins is a Spy for RMS
Authored by: jimwelch on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 10:14 AM EDT
RMS believes M$ has stolen GPL protected code and Daniel has been sent
undercover to find the proof that M$ is using GNU code inside windows.

Programming since 1976 with punched cards and not a single hagging chad (yet).

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS and Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 10:24 AM EDT
Now I have a much more sinister view of MS hiring an FOSS community member. I
think they are following the Art of War "know thy enemy" tactics. If
they can understand Open Source they are better prepared to destroy it.

MS is like a leopard and i don't see them changing their spots.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS's intentions
Authored by: fxbushman on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 10:36 AM EDT
Perhaps it is a lack of imagination on my part, but I cannot think of any area
in which Microsoft's inclinations, attitudes, operations, business model,
morals, whatever, overlap with FOSS. So if their aim is to somehow use FOSS
methods to create software we can be assured nothing will come of it. On the
other hand, if MS is planning to study FOSS in order to find its Achilles heel
and destroy it, perhaps we need to be vigilent. My guess, however, is that MS
looks in vain for a way to fight FOSS.

[ Reply to This | # ]

CDDL: think Boa. Or maybe Anaconda.
Authored by: tz on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 10:42 AM EDT
Not venomous, but still a snake that is likely to go from beeing cuddly to putting the squeeze on you.

It doesn't matter if Microsoft eventually "gets it". Their entire structure - from the corporate business model down to how they architect their software (the IBM interview makes observations on Longhorn) has been designed for lock-in for so long, they can't benefit from OS.

Even the Mozilla organizaiton had to throw away what was released from Netscape, and it wasn't as bad as Windows. Then after Mozilla was well developed, it was still too bloated and split into FireFox and Thunderbird and others. Windows would need to follow a similar path where the first thing would be to throw everything away, then recode the whole bloated thing the right way, then break it into sensible and managable components. Won't happen.

They could only benefit if they started with something like Wine and mono to implement each of their API-of-the-year technologies (.net, soap? ActiveDirect95200X?) in a generic way so it could run atop an Opensource kernel re-tuned to work efficiently under the VMS-WNT design errorschoices, e.g. threads over processes (In some cases a while ago, Linux seems faster creating and servicing processes than Windows does threads) and async IO.

If an earthquake/volcano/tsunami hit Redmond, and the WinAPI stopped mutatingdeveloping and was opened on an emergency basis, I think the FOSS community could replace things within one year since it would be a goal to help those stuck with windows instead of a game.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Daniel Robbins
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT
I have personally worked with Daniel Robbins, and I wouldn't worry about
Microsoft overthrowing the world with his help. Frankly, I was less than
impressed by his coding, management style, and work ethic. Although he is pretty
good at Unreal Tournament.

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MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: fredex on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 11:16 AM EDT
From the register article to which PJ links above:
Robbins' recruitment comes as Microsoft makes increasingly friendly noises towards Linux.
They should have added "out of ONE side of its mouth" because the OTHER side of the mouth continues to try to chop off the legs of FOSS, to wit: the proposed license agreements in the EU that specifically exclude FOSS from using their so-called "IP".

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SCO all over again?
Authored by: Observer on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 11:49 AM EDT
Let me get this right....

What they are saying is, if I write some function called "foo()", I own the Copyright, and do whatever I want with it. However, as soon as I contribute that function to Solaris, I no longer own that code any more, and I can no longer contribute it to a GPL licensed project, even though *I* was the one who wrote it in the first place?

Isn't that precisely what SCO is trying to claim that IBM did? IBM, once it contributed its own in-house code to SCO, no longer owned the code, and no longer had the right to contribute that code wherever they wanted, in particular, to Linux?

So, Sun is taking legal lessons from SCO? That's scary...

The Observer

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Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:26 PM EDT
I wonder if he applied to Google? I always see adds
for employment by Google in the Linux magazines.

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MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: Nick Bridge on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 12:51 PM EDT
I notice that in Sun's Contributor Agreement, a Contributor "agree(s) never
to assert against Sun any “moral rights” ".

I assume, of course, that the Contributor is likewise protected elsewhere in the

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MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:26 PM EDT
"The poor man [Daniel Robbins] has his work cut out for him. Frankly, I
hope he fails." PJ

To put it a little more constructively:

Scenario 1 - Daniel Robbins fails. Microsoft is as anal as it ever was.
Microsoft eventually loses - It's one thing to go up against IBM and Novell.
It's another to go up against IBM and Novell when they are members in good
standing of the Open Source community, and they are backed up by the Open Source
community. Outcome: the Open Source community (and thus the world) wins.

Scenario 2 - Daniel Robbins succeeds. Microsoft becomes far more benign and
constructive, and looks for ways to cooperate with the Open Source community
instead of both screwing it and screwing with it. Outcome: the Open Source
community (and thus the world) wins.

It goes without saying that we have both to be open minded enough to recognize
Scenario 2 whenit it is upon us, and realistic enough to recognize Scenario 1
the minute it shows its ugly head. Either way, the Open Source community wins.

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Kinda harsh.....
Authored by: dgonzo on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 01:48 PM EDT
don't you think?

The poor man has his work cut out for him. Frankly, I hope he fails. I prefer that Microsoft not quite get it, if your know what I mean, since their slimy purpose is to destroy Linux and the GPL.

PJ, I've never used the distro nor do I know Daniel Robbins, but don't you think that's getting a little extreme?

I think I understand you reasoning where you don't want Microsoft benefitting from the work of a community/developer that they've been working to destroy, but you never seemed like the type of person who would wish ill will on anyone. If I've misunderstood you, tell me otherwise.



"Radio Shack -- You've got questions, we've got blank stares." -blatantly stolen sig

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Daniel Robbins at Microsoft Research
Authored by: nicktastic on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 04:49 PM EDT
"Daniel C. Robbins is a 3D User Interface Designer working at Microsoft
Research. His current projects include visual presentation of large information
spaces and scenarios for intelligent environments."

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drobbins and Gentoo
Authored by: SCO_Shill on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 04:55 PM EDT
If you want more info about him, just check out some of the articles he wrote for IBM Developer Works:

Gentoo Linux -- Linux Articles!

You might want to read the articles in section 8, towards the bottom, called "Making the distribution" to get a little more history on his involvement in Gentoo Linux. As a disclaimer, Gentoo's my favorite Linux distro.

From the bottom of these articles (written from 01 Nov 2000 to 01 Jan 2001):

About the author

Daniel Robbins lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the President/CEO of Gentoo Technologies Inc., the Chief Architect of the Gentoo Project and a contributing author of several books published by MacMillan: Caldera OpenLinux Unleashed, SuSE Linux Unleashed, and Samba Unleashed. Daniel has been involved with computers in some fashion since the second grade when he was first exposed to the Logo programming language and a potentially lethal dose of Pac Man. This probably explains why he has since served as a Lead Graphic Artist at SONY Electronic Publishing/Psygnosis. Daniel enjoys spending time with his wife Mary and his new baby daughter, Hadassah. You can contact Daniel at

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All your code belongs to us.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 05:42 PM EDT
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I understand, if you work as a
coder for Microsoft you are contracturally bound in such a way that you cannot
work on outside projects. No midnight kernel hacking, no distros, nothing.

Open source is probably a hanging offense.

Also, I dont know what kind of NDA (non-disclosure agreement) he might have to
sign too, but I would bet that it affects future coding in some way or another.

If Microsoft is offering a significant amount of money for him to come aboard, I
understand. It would be hard to turn down a good boost in income. You have to
eat, afterall, and we are not all fortunate enough to go to work at OSDL, like

I'm glad he turned over all his IP rights to the Gentoo foundation. But, sadly,
I would speculate that he could have continued to contribute to Gentoo (and
other GPL projects) if he had been hired elsewhere.


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Wait for it...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 01:37 AM EDT

When Sun's OpenSolaris community fails to develop or when what paltry community does develop fails to come up with any significant contributions, Sun will declare that Open Source is not a viable development model. With the restrictions they're placing on the use of their code, I cannot imagine that they will be seeing large numbers of developers willing to work on it. It's just too darned limiting.


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GNU Solaris...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 01:43 AM EDT

``Here's the page they have the nerve to call "OpenSolaris Community: GNU Solaris", where you can learn about their desire to incorporate more GNU software into Solaris.''

Developers and administrators have been creating something that could be called GNU Solaris for years. Anyone who wants to be productive on a Solaris system first downloads all the GNU tools they can. Many of the stock utilities that ship with Solaris are truly awful to work with and layering the GNU toolset on top of their OS is really the only way to go (IMHO).


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MS, Sun and IBM All Show They Need Open Source
Authored by: algorythm on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 08:31 AM EDT
"The main difference between the two is how they treat adjustments that individual developers or companies make to the code. The GPL requires developers to share their code with the world, and the CDDL lets developers keep the source code of their work a secret."

A clear case of someone just not getting it.
From the CDDL (sec. 3.1):

"Any Covered Software that You distribute or otherwise make available in Executable form must also be made available in Source Code form and that Source Code form must be distributed only under the terms of this License."

It seems pretty clear to me that any software released under the CDDL, has to have source code made available. If such were not the case, I doubt the OSI would have approved it.

The CDDL does allow for the distribution of exectutables which are not released under the CDDL to be a part of the software package that is CDDL licensed, but that's a very different thing than what the article claims.

On a side note, I noticed that the clause from the CDDL quoted above says "... only under the terms of this license..." Since that is the case, can someone explain to me how the OpenSolaris CDDL Faq can claim that dual licensing is permissable ?

--- std. IANAL disclaimer here ---

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Jonathan Schwartz Update
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Thursday, June 16 2005 @ 04:07 PM EDT
From the linked article:

"Sun said that it will measure the success of the release by the size of
the developer community it can gather around the project."

Well, at least Sun have got that bit right.

Should one hear an accusation, first look to see how it might be levelled at the

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