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A Brief History of Sun by Groklaw's grouch - Updated
Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 12:26 PM EDT

Yesterday, I wrote in a comment that indeed Sun's performance in 2003 in signing the agreement with SCO, highlighted in the trial testimony, was making it look really bad. The motive in doing it seemed to me to be not just to open source Solaris but to also hobble Linux and promote a competitive product instead, and in the ugliest way possible. And then, when they had to power to stand up to SCO and protect Linux end users, they failed to do so.

Yesterday, I noted that there has been a change in management, and the guy who signed that agreement is gone. On the other hand, they still offer OpenSolaris as a competing product. On the third hand, no one showed up at trial to testify for SCO. So the real question I was asking was, has Sun changed? After all, Microsoft talks a lot about openness and such, but they fail to convince me that they wouldn't kill and eat my cat if they thought there was money in it. Ethics is the real value add to FOSS, you know. It's the one thing Microsoft can't embrace, extend and extinguish. The hovering doubt in my mind was, did Sun benefit from the SCO assault on Linux? Did they intend it? Is it all still playing out as they hoped? Clearly SCO's attack failed, but no one predicted that. So, other than that, what exactly is the answer to my question?

Groklaw member grouch took my question seriously, and he researched and compiled a list of all the Groklaw articles since we began. At that point, he says, he needed to go no further, because it was obvious there has been a change.

No matter where you stand on my question, I think it's useful to have as a handy list. I pointed the finger at Sun back in 2003, and it turns out I was exactly right. So all you guys who attacked me for saying that Sun was playing an ugly game can send me apology emails now. : )

But fair is fair. If there has been a change, I need to highlight that too. Whether their journey is complete is another question, but grouch's research shows the trajectory very clearly.


A Brief History of Sun on Groklaw,
~ by grouch

I just took about 2 hours putting together a list of links to Groklaw articles from the Archives with "Sun" in the title. This was in response to one of your comments with the question, "2. Have they really changed?"

2. Have they really changed?

I think Sun is not the same as it was 5 years ago, or even 3 years ago. How long has it been since Schwartz blogged about Red Hat being "proprietary"? Even RMS got tired of all the noise Sun made about setting Java free, someday, but then Sun actually did it. That was shockingly different. Could you imagine any of the higher-ups at Sun saying the following in an interview 5 years ago?

Remember: open source is not about "having" the source code; it's about having the freedom to do things with the source code. You can't isolate the philanthropic element out of open source; in fact, it couldn't have existed without it. The American software freedom activist Richard Stallman has been quoted many times on the subject of free software. He has always insisted that he's perfectly relaxed about people making money out of software, just as long as people don't lose their freedoms as a result.

-- Sun sheds light on its open-source future -- Adrian Bridgwater,, 2008-04-29

Your articles in the Archives pretty well map the changes over time:

[Whew! The above includes everything I could find in the archives with "Sun" in the title. A few have nothing to do with whether Sun has really changed or not, but are included for completeness. Maybe it could be a useful list for someone].

I think the opening of the dialog about software patents represented the beginning of a change at Sun Microsystems. It just seems to me a light came on and began to glow brighter with time. From "lunatics" and "deeper hole" to acknowledging Richard Stallman and "[y]ou can't isolate the philanthropic element out of open source; in fact, it couldn't have existed without it"? This is the same Sun? Maybe some really do live and learn!

Hope this is useful somehow.

-- grouch

"People aren't as dumb as Microsoft needs them to be."
--PJ, May 2007

Update: A reader points to the European Commission's assessment of Sun's contribution to FOSS here [PDF]. Also there is word today that MySQL is going to be 100 per cent open source:

As reported yesterday from CommunityOne:
  • MySQL Server is and will always remain fully functional and open source,
  • so will the MySQL Connectors, and
  • so will the main storage engines we ship.

In addition:

  • MySQL 6.0’s pending backup functionality will be open source,
  • the MyISAM driver for MySQL Backup will be open source, and
  • the encryption and compression backup features will be open source,

where the last item is a change of direction from what we were considering before.


A Brief History of Sun by Groklaw's grouch - Updated | 294 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: Erwan on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 12:31 PM EDT
If any.


[ Reply to This | # ]

News picks discussions here.
Authored by: Erwan on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 12:32 PM EDT
Please, don't forget to quote the article's title.


[ Reply to This | # ]

OT, the off topic thread.
Authored by: Erwan on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 12:35 PM EDT

As usual. Don't forget that some like clickies.

YAGHT (Yet another Groklaw hat trick)


[ Reply to This | # ]

Nice write grouch :)
Authored by: designerfx on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 12:42 PM EDT
Grouch, got to give you props. You commonly write some pretty good stuff.

Just a FYI, if any of you have a good idea of a method to collaborate to verify
information, (preferably open source/free) I'd like to start working on a
flowchart for connections between contacts and companies (such as MS's
connections and SCO's conenctions etc)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Has Sun changed - yes
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:01 PM EDT
I have had an on-off relationship with Sun for many years, and even worked for
them for a while. I still do a lot of work for them and get to see the internal
processes at work.

There has most definitely been a significant change in Sun's attitude to FOSS
and Linux.

Quite honestly, I thought it was a BIG mistake when Jonathan was promoted to
replace McNeely. Now I have to eat humble pie and say that I was wrong. He has
been good for the company and in his own way, good for open source.

Its true that early on Sun was disdainful of Linux, then saw it as a threat. Now
things are slowly changing, and they see it as merely another competitor which
they on one hand exploit by offerings some of their software products on it
(RH), and as a competitor like any other Unix solution that they compete head to
head with and win based upon the merits of the offering they make to the

Solaris X86 is probably a good illustration of the changes that have taken
place. Initially it was nothing more than a concept port, and support for it was
patchy at best. It was actually killed once, but resurrected when it became
obvious that there was customer demand for an alternative to both Windows and
Linux on the X86 platform - in particular the high end AMD processors.

The decision to open source Solaris seems to have been driven by the realization
that will come as no surprise to Linux hackers: the extreme proliferation of
systems and peripherals that need to be supported. Sun was rather like Apple in
some respects, keeping tight control over the hardware platform to reduce the
expense of trying to support the many, many variations that would otherwise be
possible. Open Source was the only model that was really viable if Sun wanted to
make Solaris available on a wide range of X86 platforms and support a lot of
peripherals (which was really why X86 originally died - the support for
peripherals was practically non-existent).

Linux should not see Open Solaris as some sort of attack, in many ways its an
acknowledgment of the work pioneered by Linux (and other open source pioneers,
GNU in particular.

People now have a choice of open source Unix systems ranging from Open BSD to
Linux (in all its variations) to Solaris.

It seems that Sun were somewhat scared of the GPL, possibly because of the FUD
that has surrounded it, and possibly because giving up control that quickly was
just too big a jump. However, they do seem to be willing to consider it on its
merits now.

Java would have benefited from being open sourced before it was. Not doing this
allowed .Net to take hold. Howver, a completely open license would have allowed
Microsoft to actually get away with its adopt/extend/... strategy. Only the
closed source and tight licensing stopped that in its tracks.

Sun has practically acknowledged that the desktop belongs to Windows (and maybe
Linux) and has moved away from really trying to compete there. Support for X86
in both Linux and Solaris forms helps to open doors.

Changes have been slow. But if you look ar Sun as it was 5 years ago, and look
at it today, the change is very evident, and apparently going in the right

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Solaris is a GOOD thing
Authored by: kawabago on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:13 PM EDT
The larger the ecosystem of FOSS OS's the better off everyone will be.
Microsoft has proven that a single platform for everyone is a hugely bad idea.
Being able to choose the open source OS that best meets your needs is imperative
to defeat malicious code. I don't think just a variety of distributions of Linux
is enough since they all use the same kernel. Having more than one kernel to
target makes malware much harder to write. The other option Sun had was to start
using software patents to prevent competition. I'm glad Sun didn't go the
Microsoft way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Brief History of Sun by Groklaw's grouch
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:14 PM EDT
Maybe Sun has changed its outlook on open source, and maybe not. I worked at the
ill conceived iPlanet disaster, a collaboration between Sun and Netscape/AOL
from its beginning to almost the day they closed the doors. During that time Sun
worked very hard at withdrawing as much already open sourced code as possible
and where they could not, worked at making cross platform code work better,
faster on Sun equipment. At that time and for a long time thereafter Sun was
openly hostile to open source.

Maybe they've changed. However, from my point of view, they have not. Consider
their half hearted and deceptive open source licenses. Restrictions galore. The
really haven't open sourced, as in Freedom, not beer, anything.

I need to see 5 years full GPL compliance out of Sun before I cut 'em any slack
at all.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun have improved a lot, but.....
Authored by: tiger99 on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:17 PM EDT
... I still think that both Sun and Novell have become pawns of the Monopoly, to replace SCO. Some of the articles Grouch has listed tend to support that view.

We now possibly will have a situation where Novell can sue both Sun and M$ (depending on what Judge Kimball rules), and it is possible that the legal proceedings will be conducted in a less than efficient manner, so they can be dragged out for at least five years in each case, as with SCO. The purpose would not be to win damages, merely to produce carefully orchestrated FUD against Linux and FOSS. It could be that as Novell own Unix, they will be taking over SCO vs IBM....

Sun don't like Linux, as it competes with, and in many ways is better (package management, for a start, but Ian Murdock should be addressing that) than Solaris. Sun has a patent deal with M$.

Novell may not Linux much either, althoughthey own SuSE. They did mach damage to SuSE by the patent deal with M$. I have wondered if they acquired SuSE to be able to kill it off at a suitable moment. Such things are not unknown in the corporate world.

I think we need to be very wary of these companies, and the possible malign influence of M$ behind the scenes.

There are of course other possible explanations, some of them entirely innocent, of the behaviour of Sun and Novell, but we don't yet see enough to know what is really going on. Time will tell.

On the other hand, there is no denying that open-sourcing (sort of) Solaris and Java is generally a good thing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:19 PM EDT
/* The motive in doing it seemed to me to be not just to open source Solaris but
to also hobble Linux and promote a competitive product instead, and in the
ugliest way possible.

I don't see any problem in promoting a competitive product. That is how Linux
beat UnixWare, after all. Signing an agreement with the wrong party, especially
with suspicious timing, bothers me; but promoting a competitive product is
perfectly fine.

Of course OpenSolaris hasn't picked up many followers. The only thing it's
really done is reveal a lot of precious trade secrets that SCO used to swear
were worth something. So it's hobbled SCO much more than it's hobbled Linux in
general. Unfortunately it may have also "hobbled" Novell to some
extent, as Novell had more ownership interest in the code than SCO ever did.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and it's education
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:20 PM EDT

It's interesting to note how the history of community response to Sun has been "flexible" throughout the years. From the response of the community with Sun paying SCOG through to it's recent "the community is assisting Sun in a legal defense" scenario (Sun Makes Its Moves Against NetApp 2007-10-29)

By observing the responses of the community when attacked (SCOG claiming every Linux user was a thief) through to how a potential enemy was assisted by the community (SUN) simply because of the potential of shared threat (NetApp), anyone that wishes to be a member of the community can learn what acceptable community behavior is about.

Those that wish to be enemies should now have a better understanding of just what kind of "philanthropic forces" can be brought to bear in the defense of the community by members of the community. I like that term, it aptly describes what the heart of sharing is all about. It also highlights what societal responsibility is all about.

As a recipient of the philanthropic defenses, Sun should be in a position to have a much better idea of just how strong and valuable an ally the open source community can be.

With being in a position of direct observation by the same community of questionably licensing practices, Sun should also be in a position to have a much better idea of just how strong an enemy the open source community can be. I don't use enemy in the sense of "we will attack and take from you that which is rightfully yours". I use enemy in the sense of "if you attack, there are those members who won't think twice about assisting in the defense".

As the "lessons of SCOG" show, a strong defense doesn't need to be offensive in order to bring the downfall of someone in the wrong. Their own behavior brought to light is enough to be their own downfall.

I hope Sun truly has recognized the above (some people can be so stuborn in the face of obvious lessons). If they have, they'll be in a much better position to be a truly contributing member of FOSS if that's the path they've chosen. If not, they may very well end up making the same mistake an ex-FOSS company that used to be called Caldera did.

More importantly, I hope the stockholders of Sun learn the above lessons. If so, hopefully in the future if someone else gets hired in position that doesn't understand the community, the stockholders may be able to apply pressure so said individual learns about good community behavior. Otherwise we may see another situation applied Darlesque fashion.


[ Reply to This | # ]

The height of arrogance.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:41 PM EDT
Gee - I guess the 5+ years of doesn't count for much.

You Sun-bashers are a rather self-adulatory crowd (looking only at your own
archives to put together a profile on Sun is the height of pomposity) with short

PJ not only does NOT deserve an apology, but should eat crow over all that

[ Reply to This | # ]

Danese Cooper interview
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:41 PM EDT
A look at Sun from someone who worked there, whose job it was to "teach Sun about open source".

Open source diva Danese Cooper (video)

Since her goal was to change Sun's approach to OSS, I expect she'd say they've changed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

> Ethics is the real value add to FOSS, you know
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:42 PM EDT
Hmm. not convinced...

I don't know that there's much in the Open source model that mandates superior
ethics per se. One only needs [Oh grief here come the flames] to look at the
appalling ethics in the history of file sharing systems, where much development
has sought not to produce superior software but to develop software in which it
is far more difficult for copyright owners to track down who the people involved
in copyright breach are. Bearing in mind how critical copyright is to making
open source work there's a lot of hypocrisy there.

What it does mean is that its potentially easier to cirumvent an unethical
development team provided that an alternative and ethical development team can
be put together, but that's not nearly such a good soundbite...

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Brief History of Sun by Groklaw's grouch
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 01:50 PM EDT
Excellent, fresh perspective and good content, groklaw had started becoming more
of just a quick read.
PJ, great work on SCO and M$, however, both are becoming lame ducks. M$ still
is a very dangerous, sophisticated adversary, that can and probably will get
back on track sometime.
This article on SUN, while many know about SUN, is a nice reminder to all,
especially IBM.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Brief History of Sun by Groklaw's grouch
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 02:17 PM EDT
Overall, I think we can afford to be kind to Sun. Remember that "Job Number
One" for any corporation is to make money for the shareholders.
Historically Sun has been an integrated hardware-and-software company, like
Apple (or IBM in ancient times). Open source companies make their money neither
on hardware nor on software, but on support services. They are leaner by nature.
Red Hat is a great example of this breed. Going from the older model to the new
one is not an easy transition to make, and every step of the way a truly
responsible management team has to be prepared to justify its moves to
shareholders. With these facts in mind, it is not surprising that for several
years running we have seen confused signals coming out of Sun, as if they didn't
quite know how to position themselves. So what's the trend? As others have
already enumerated, Sun has released a great many software technologies under
open source licenses, and even some hardware (their SPARC T-series
architecture). Thus, overall, I have to give Sun credit for moving in the right
direction. They don't get perfect marks, but recently they've been a decent
corporate citizen as far as FOSS goes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Open Source contributions
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 04:19 PM EDT
I'd like to point to the European Commision's assessment of Sun's contribution to FOSS here.

Just in case anyone reading this actually cares about reality rather than conspiracy theories.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Florida judge "slaps" RIAA
Authored by: bb5ch39t on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 05:16 PM EDT
Oh, this is nice!

Slashdot article. RIAA sued, then tried to drop the charges. They did the identical thing in front of this judge before. In the second case, the RIAA said that the judge (this same judge) was wrong. Judge basically said: "Guess again!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

IIRC Sun was pretty good to F/OSS for a long time.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 06:03 PM EDT
Wasn't Sun largely responsible for giving us NFS in the 90s?
Wasn't Sun one of the earlier Unix vendors to switch from their proprietary
windowing systems to X11?
And (perhaps unintentionally) gcc got a larger community when Sun stopped
bundling their compiler.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MySQL Reverses Decision On Closed Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 07:30 PM EDT

Here's the link on Slashdot .


[ Reply to This | # ]

Since when is competition bad?
Authored by: kutulu on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 07:41 PM EDT
On the other hand, they still offer OpenSolaris as a competing product.

I have some serious reservations about this kind of statement, which seems to say that Sun is suspect because it competes with Linux. Perhaps I'm misreading or misinterpreting the intent here, or I'm missing some piece of the puzzle that makes this more sinister than it appears. But just taken at face value this seems heavy on the hyperbole and light on the substance.

It's one thing to condemn a company like Microsof for consistantly and repeatedly cheating to get market share via monopolistic practices. They're not trying to offer a competitive product to Linux, they're using every dirty trick they have to eliminate the competition completely. At this point I don't think there's a conspiracy theory you could invent about Microsoft that wouldn't seem completely plausible. But what is so wrong about a company offering a product that actually does try to compete with Linux on its merits? That's called capitalism, and god bless Sun for doing it. Half the reason Windows is such a bloated pile of puke is that it hasn't had any real competition for years. Having options is good for the market, good for the products, good for the consumers, just plain good.

Are we going to start questioning the motives of Apple, or the Free/Net/OpenBSD teams, just because they happen to sell an operating system that's not Linux? If Linux really is a superior product, and if the market really cares about the freedoms granted by the GPL, people will choose Linux over OpenSolaris on their own. Which they are, so I don't even see why there's any reason to complain. Sun has just as much right to try and "sell" me OpenSolaris as RedHat does to try and "sell" me RHEL, I don't see why we should fault them for it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Competition is healthy
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 08:08 PM EDT
Let's be clear about not equating Sun releasing "a competing product,
OpenSolaris" with efforts allegedly aimed at "hobbling Linux."
There is nothing wrong whatsoever with an organization offering yet another OS
choice in the marketplace. OpenSolaris is such an option, as is GNU/Linux. And
that's all Windows is, after all, the difference with Windows Server Malware and
Windows Client Malware--compared to other OSes that I know of--being that in
addition to engineeredness to work well and securely, they are hobbled by
engineeredness to lock their users into their vendor's solutions rather than
engineeredness to play nice with other options in the marketplace.

[ Reply to This | # ]

sun and open source
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 08:42 PM EDT


Learning a lot about Sun. But one thing that did come out as fact in the trial:
Sun paid real money for SYSV code and released that code under a more open

Novell could have done that. SCO thought they could have done that. Neither
did it. Sun did.

Thanks Sun.

Maybe now we should all run over and download OpenSolaris before Novell changes
Sun's mind?

(And, just for the history buffs, I used to own my very own Roadrunner [sunOS
i386 box]. It was slow.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

MySQL Documentation is Closed-Source, so MySQL is not 100% Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 06 2008 @ 10:58 PM EDT
The MySQL documentation is and has been proprietary. MySQL is not much good
without documentation. A fork without documentation is no fork at all, which
means that MySQL users are stuck with Sun's MySQL; like it or not.

Until the MySQL documentation is freed MySQL will not be 100% Open Source.

This is not to say that Sun or MySQLAB has not done good things for the FOSS
community. It is simply a realistic look at the state of MySQL licensing


Karl O. Pinc <>

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Sun a baddie
Authored by: stomfi on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 03:07 AM EDT
I loved my Sun3 68K multi PU workstation in 1984. It was built to the XEROX PARC
standard. Those were heady days of really productive computing. The computer was
the network was a reality.

Then the unthinkable happened.
Microsoft took over the scene and gave us the poor mans version for year after
year after year. Finally the PC hardware has reached the performance of those
'84 multi PU machines, albeit after donating 20 times the cost to Wintel
shareholder retirement nest eggs.

Having had such a wonderful workstation in the mid '80s SUN has tried over the
years to compete against Wintel, and nothing has worked until they embraced FOSS
with OO.

Next came OpenJAVA which also is proving to open up business opportunities for
SUN and its partners.

Finally we have OpenSolaris. There is a rush to get this out. Why the rush?

Well it contains code that the rights of may still belong to Novell, so if they
don't get it released before the Judge passes down his ruling, and if it is
found that the SUN SCO license is invalid, then SUN cannot release the code
without getting a valid license from Novell.

Novell has said in this court case that they probably wouldn't do that.

If it is released before the ruling, then there isn't much Novell can do about
it as SUN can argue the license was bought in good faith, and anyway the code
would be out in the wild.

Is this SUN being a baddie? Shareholder rights before ethics. They are competing
unfairly unless they delay the release until after the ruling.

Yet why hasn't Novell bought an injunction against them not to release? There
maybe dialogue between SUN and Novell taking place that we are not party to.
Maybe they have already agreed on the damages. Maybe Novell and SUN have an
interoperability deal themselves. Or maybe Novell thinks it will get more if it
sues after the fact?

We shall have to wait and see, while enjoying the expose on Groklaw.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun hasn't come clean
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 05:04 AM EDT
Jonathan got regularly asked in his blog what the money Sun gave to SCO was for
(no one believes the "driver" party line). Whenever that question was
asked Jonathan suddenly got silent.

Until Sun confesses and stops pretending it was for "drivers", they
haven't changed in my mind. They have just learned to play the game better.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun / Openness: the ZFS filesystem
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:02 AM EDT
One topic I did not discover witht a very quick search:
Sun touts about the ZFS filesystem being superior and that
a Linux port is available/in the works. What they don't
tell: they hold very important patents on that and IIRC
stated that they will defend them if necessary.

So serious ZFS use on Linux, even if available, will
always be restricted to those enterprise distributions
willing to use heavily modified kernels: I guess if "the
market" demands it, Novell/RH won't even blink at
licensing ZFS from Sun to distribute with their Enterprise

(would you mind to send me a copy if you reply to this,
please? avbidder -at-

-- vbi

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ - Why The Naivety About USA Business Practices ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:12 AM EDT
Are you actually naive about USA business practices? I wouldn’t think so.
Recently you brought up the issue relating to the use of deceit as business
practice in the USA. As well you have thoroughly covered “questionable” actions
of Microsoft. Is Microsoft unique on how it conducts business?

Could you name 10 BIG businesses in the USA that don’t use deceit and other
“questionable” practices as part of it’s everyday modus operandi?

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Forget the cat...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:26 AM EDT
M$ would kill and eat your grandmother if there was money
in it and they thought they could get away with it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hmmmm. Is it valid to as "Has SUN changed?"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:40 PM EDT
I am far from convinced that the question as posed is truly valid, though
Grouch's conclusion that SUN has changed may be true.

SUN is a company with management that can be changed and shareholders that want
there returns.

It has been noted that SUN's behaviour seems to have altered when Johnathon
Schwartz took over. If he moves on is there any guarantee that SUN would not
move in an anti-foss direction. Would he have a pro-foss influence on the
company he moves to.

I suspect that there are more pro-foss people at SUN than just JS and of course
once something is open sourced, that is pretty much it (depending on the
license). So it is generally looking good.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why is the CDDL a big issue?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 03:19 PM EDT
I'm curious. What do you see as so bad about it? I get the general impression
that Groklaw sees anything that's not a Gnu license as bad. Why? Doesn't the
creator of the work have any right to choose the terms?

Personally I prefer the BSD license for lots of things. There's a place for the
Gnu licenses, but I don't think everything needs to be copylefted. In some
cases putting a Gnu license on the software guarantees people won't use it.

I certainly wouldn't use a GPL package as the basis for spending $500,000
developing a proprietary algorithm w/ an expected market of 10 customers. Just
not a viable business proposition.

What I'm saying is one size does not fit all.


[ Reply to This | # ]

I notice little-to-no change ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 06:16 AM EDT
Personally I notice little-to-no change in Sun; but instead a change in
Groklaw's attitude to Sun - which is a rather different matter.
I suspect this is a result of intensive lobbying / interaction / back-room
messaging / relationship building with groklaw people rather than any
substantive improvement.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Gartner take on Open Source at Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 08:52 AM EDT
Interesting report by Garter: Open Source at Sun Microsystems, 2008

The best quote:

"No other major IT platform vendor has committed so much of its core assets to the open-source software model as Sun Microsystems. Certainly, companies such as IBM, Oracle and BEA Systems have dramatically expanded their own open-source strategies in recent years, but only Sun has literally open-sourced nearly the entire family of products — that is, its intellectual property (IP) — from its operating system to Java."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another GL link or two...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 11:05 AM EDT
Declaration of David Melaugh

Was Referenced in:

The Exhibits in Support of Novell's Motion for PSJ on 4th Claim for Relief - Updated

In the declaration we finally learn the dates for the Sun and Microsoft SCOSOURCE licenses. For Sun the date is February 25, 2003 and For Microsoft April 30, 2003.

I think Sun buying the very first SCOSOURCE license before tSCOg filed against IBM is very damaging. They look a lot like co-conspirators and not so much like innocent bystanders preyed on by tSCOg.

I think a pretty good case could be made that without Sun's financial support in the form of its SCOSOURCE license there would never have been an SCO vs IBM. tSCOg had lost about $10M the year before. Their stock was selling for about a $1/share but their stockholder equity was only half that and declining every time another quarter ended. They had only about $4M in cash. They were not going to be around very long.

I think BSF was unwilling to file the suit unless they were paid and the suit had a chance to get past the initial phases of requests for dismissal etc. Even after Sun bought in but before M$ did, BSF insisted on an equity stake in tSCOg. BSF knew the state of tSCOg's finances and before anything else they were going to get paid. Before the fixed price deal was put in place BSF seemed to burn about a $1/2M to $1M a month. Without outside financing tSCOg wouldn't have lasted two more quarters and maybe not even one more. BSF's first bill would have wiped out most if not all of their cash.

What about M$ you ask? Though they claim to be the great "innovaters" this was just another instance of "me too". They waited until they saw just how successful the SCOfolk (Chris Sontag, Blake Stowell and Darl McBride) were at fuddying the IP waters around Linux. The success got their attention

I think understanding Sun's relationship with/to Open Source is not that tough. If an open source project/product complements Sun's plans then they are in for a pound as well as a penny. But if an open source project/product threatens to supplant, their product/project or their plans or their control of a market, they are as rabidly proprietary and anti open source as any corporation on the planet.

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A Brief History of Sun by Groklaw's grouch - Updated
Authored by: Tolerance on Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 05:01 PM EDT
"On the third hand" is a lovely way of putting it.

A true fan of conflict-resolution fiction would say "On the gripping
hand" (because of the novel by Niven and Pournelle, variously titled,
including "The Mote in God's Eye").

The "gripping hand" was the third hand of an alien species
("moties"). "On the gripping hand, ..." in geekspeak means
something like "Having disposed of the opposing points of view, the issue
we have to focus on is ..."

Grumpy old man

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