2004-04-14 (Wednesday)

by havoc

unfortunately fascinating isn’t the only metric. 😉

I should clarify exactly what I think James Gosling gets wrong: he
says the Gnome world has “formless dreads,” I think the concerns are
in fact very detailed, rational, and well-understood, though there’s
some noise and some inability to post legal advice that may make this
hard to see.

One thing I skipped in my post is the discussion of the pragmatic
reasons why open source has to be defined as it is, and why its
definition enables a particular development model and set of customer
advantages. This model and these advantages are genuinely lost if you
use an “almost but not quite open” license. It’s not a matter of

Dr. Gosling also compares the Java license to the GPL, but it’s worth
noting that none of the GNOME or common Linux libraries are under the
GPL; they’re under the LGPL or less-restrictive licenses. In other
words, if we compare apples to apples, when he says:

Unlike GPLd software, the Java sources don’t come with a viral
infection clause that requires you to apply the GPL to your own
code. But the sources for the JDK do come with a license that has a
different catch: redistribution requires compatibility testing.

In fact the GNOME and Linux platforms don’t come with this
“viral infection clause” – only the applications have that.
And you aren’t going to use an application in your own code. So
comparing the JDK license to the GPL is wrong. You have to compare it
to the less-restrictive licenses used in the platform.

I just remembered that I wrote an article about the SCSL 5 years ago,
before I worked at Red Hat: here
it is
, still on my web site. I no longer agree with some of what I
said and how I said it, in fact the article sort of sucks, but it’s
interesting how little has changed in some respects.

(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2004-04.html#14)

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