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RMS Blasts Sun's Open Source Patent Licensing

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the always-with-a-skeptical-eye dept.

Patents 591

cdlu writes "RMS takes Sun to task on its recent announcement that it is releasing 1,600 patents to the open source community. Among the major points, the license the patents are released under doesn't apply to patents, and Sun has not promised to not sue anyone using the technology within free software projects."

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RMS whines, film at 11! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532390)

Either agree to Suns' license or not. It's as easy as that.

hmm (1, Funny)

KaSkA101 (692931) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532394)

release item, then create license that doesn't cover item in question, sounds right.

In other news... (5, Funny)

mooniejohnson (319145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532396)

In other news, touchdowns scored during SuperBowl, Microsoft releases FUD against Linux, Anonymous Cowards seek First Post, and people complain about poll options.

Just very RMS. ;-)

Re:In other news... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532637)

Just very RMS. ;-)

Good one. Don't let the fact that he happens to be right in this instance affect your little jab.

Re:In other news... (1)

Rooktoven (263454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532701)

Actually he's almost always right.

Re:In other news... (2, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532803)

Actually he's almost always right.

Better said, some people frequently agree with RMS's opinions.

Re:In other news... (1)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532689)

I'm sorry I read your comment, but I want my 6 seconds back, you thieving bastard.

That the CDDL is inapplicable to patents is a very valid point and, if true, nullifies the entire benefit of this "release." I may be flamebait, but you're just offtopic.

Oh... (1, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532398)

for a moment I thought he was mad because they said Linux instead of GNU/Linux.

Re:Oh... (0, Troll)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532860)

Actually All I can think of is Stallman walking up to your machine, seeing some piece of software that's not freeware and pouring holy water in every vent home he can find, thus exercizing the demons...

Nice job, Sun. (3, Interesting)

sparkster812 (670872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532416)

I think it's a great thing Sun has done for the community, regardless of the feelings some people have for them. It's definitely got a positive spin on it, and hopefully will result in more open source software.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532510)

Please tell me how it will result in more open-source software? Did anyone gave a fuck of these patents BEFORE Sun's licence existed? NO!

Re:Nice job, Sun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532680)

The parent is NOT redundant, the question is real and no one answered it until now... Good job moderators!

Re:Nice job, Sun. (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532529)

Of course this has a positive spin. This is coming out of their marketing / public relations.

Has anyone seen the end of the tunnel? In the end, you will be able to run those free software from linux on an overpriced sun hardware. That's it!

Re:Nice job, Sun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532619)

Nearly everything that makes up a usable "linux" system (you know, all the pesky GNU apps) already runs on Solaris/SPARC.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532706)

Who cares? GNU tools are embarrassingly inferior to their BSD counterparts.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (3, Informative)

Rooktoven (263454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532780)

That's a big IF, as in IF you download them. GNU tools aren't part of the default Solaris Distro-- at least they weren't with 7 and 8. Maybe that's changed.

Before we went to all Macs with a Linux backbone, we always had to download stuff off of Sun Freeware [sunfreeware.com] to get a get reasonable commmand line tools.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532796)

Why would you want to? GPL-licensed software, including the Linux kernel and the GNU userspace tools, are vastly inferior to equivalent software licensed under BSD. Deep down you know this is true, and so do all the Linux apologists who will predictably rise up to make excuses for their shoddy systems in response to this fundamental truth: Good, intelligent programmers find the GPL distasteful.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (5, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532546)

Having been following this controversy for a while, I am not so sure. The following concerns have been raised:

1) Patents may have been donated only to CDDL projects, which would still preclude them from being used in GPL'd projects.

2) It is not clear what the actual scope of the licensing is and whether it will be GPL-compliant.

I am hopeful that these issues can be worked out, but it is too soon to tell whether this will actually be helpful or just a publicity stunt devoid of any real meaning.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532757)

1) It's pretty clear that patents have only been donated to CDDL projects (that is in fact people working on Solaris) and that GPL'd projects, or any other open source project not under the CDDL are excluded. And I don't think one can really speak of the patents being donated, it's simply a necessity for Sun to make sure that people are actually able to work on OpenSolaris and they wouldn't be if they were not allowed to use the patents.

2) I may be wrong, but from my understanding it's clear right now that the licens is not GPL-compliant.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532563)

Though I would readily agree that Sun has done a lot of good things for the community, releasing, or rather not releasing this patents certainly isn't one of them.

So what did Sun do? They basicly opensource Solaris under a license that makes sure that the Solaris code can not be used in any opensource projects not under the especially created license (which is every other open source project out there) and then with a lot of noise declared that people developing for Solaris will not be sued for patent infringment by Sun.

It's really hard to see what exactly you call a nice job about that.

Re:Nice job, Sun. (3, Insightful)

Vile Slime (638816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532876)

To,

All those who modded down the parent take note of the following:

It's Sun's property, they can do whatever they want with their property.

Anybody/everyone who thinks that if source code is opened for viewing that it must also be opened for use with the GPL or Tom-Dick-and-Harry's License is full of it.

I'm sure that the powers that be at Sun would be more than happy to tell RMS to stick it you know where. Just as RMS seems to think it is his God given right to do all so often.

Mr. Stallman (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532417)

FUCK YOU! Get this through your thick, hippie head: Not a damn person cares what you think. Not a damn person cares how "compatible" something is with GNU. Not a damn person cares about your dumb fodunation.

Go away.

Re:Mr. Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532536)

Not a damn person cares about your dumb fodunation.

Riiight.

I guess spellchecking is seen as an obstacle to the first amendment [slashdot.org] .

Re:Mr. Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532578)

Yes, I caught that after I hit "submit". Forgive me, master.

Re:Mr. Stallman (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532890)

fodunation

I think that's where the Fodus come from.

Re:Mr. Stallman (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532541)

Thanks for your input! Now I understand everything.
Love, RMS

Re:Mr. Stallman (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532559)

I agree, I had the opportunity to see Stallman speak in person at a conference in Boston, and I must say, the man needs professional help. He is very deluded and talks crazy, I can only hope he gets help before he hurts himself or someone else.

Copy Right Infringement (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532430)

Last year IBM took a significant step forward in cooperation with the free software community, by offering blanket licenses for 500 of its patents to all free software developers. This does not cover all of IBM's software patents, which must number in the thousands. And there are other areas where IBM does not yet cooperate with the free software community--they have not provided the necessary information to port a free BIOS to ThinkPads, for instance, and they are still pursuing Treacherous Computing. Nonetheless, this is a real step. Recently Sun made an announcement that superficially seems similar. It said that Sun had given us "free access to Sun OpenSolaris related patents under the Common Development and Distribution License." But those words do not really make sense. The CDDL is a license for the copyright on software, not a policy for licensing patents. It applies to specific code and nothing else. (Copyright and patents have essentially nothing in common in the requirements they impose on the public.)

So what has really happened here? Reading the announcement clearly, I think that it doesn't announce anything at all. It simply describes, in a different and grandiose way, the previously announced release of the Solaris source code as free software under Sun's idiosyncratic license, the CDDL. Outside Solaris, few or no free software packages use that license--and Sun has not said it won't sue us for implementing the same techniques in our own free software.

Perhaps Sun will eventually give substance to its words, and make this step a real one like IBM's. Perhaps some other large companies will take similar steps. Would this make free software safe from the danger of software patents? Would the problem of software patents be solved? Not on your life. Neither one.

We can be quite sure that not all large patent holders will do this. In fact, there is one company with lots of patents that surely won't take such a step. That is Microsoft, which says it is our enemy. Microsoft would love to make useful free software effectively illegal, and has plenty of money to pay lawyers to use whatever avenues governments provide them.

But the danger is not only from those that specifically consider us their enemies. It also comes from patent holders that are the enemy of everyone. These are the patent parasites--companies whose sole assets are patents, and whose only business is threats. Patent parasites don't really produce anything, they only suck the blood of those who do. As regards their choice of victims, they have the scruples of a mosquito, so you're only safe if they don't think you're worth biting.

Consider, for instance, the company founded by ex-Microsoft executive Myhrvold, which cheerfully says it is spending $350M to buy up patents (not specifically in software) so it can go around threatening and bullying everyone else. Of course, these parasites don't like to describe their activities in such terms. Much as the mafia, when it threatens to attack local businesses unless they pay, says it is charging for "protection", Myhrvold's company prefers to say it is "renting out" the patents. It expects this investment in what we could call the "patent protection racket" to pay off handsomely. For that to occur, lots of people have to get bitten.

The danger of software patents is not limited to free software, which is why the opposition to software patents is not limited to free software developers. Everyone involved with computers, aside from the megacorporations, must expect to lose. For instance, proprietary software developers are much more likely to be the victims of patents than to have a chance to use patents for aggression. Although I don't think proprietary software is ethically legitimate, it is a fact that developers of proprietary software are in the same danger from patents, and many of them know it.

Then think of all the software that is neither free nor proprietary: private-use software, software developed for and used by one client. Most software is private-use software. The developers of this software can also be sued for using patented techniques, and so can the users of the software. Any software patent holder, including the pirates, can sue computer users as well as software developers. Threatening the users is a common technique for an unscrupulous patent holder to put the screws on a developer.

We can honestly thank IBM for agreeing not to sue us with 500 of its patents, and if Sun does likewise, we will be able to thank Sun too. But defusing a small fraction of the landmines in the field of software won't make it safe to walk around. We mustn't let these partial measures lull us into thinking that computing can tolerate the patent system. The battle against software patents, in Europe and elsewhere, must continue!

I guess I forgot the copyright notice

Re:Copy Right Infringement (2, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532636)

This does not cover all of IBM's software patents, which must number in the thousands.

Missing a zero somewhere?

Re:Copy Right Infringement (2, Funny)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532660)

Copyright 2005 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved. ;)

Re:Copy Right Infringement (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532674)

FUD is a bad for both sides. Microsoft don't have any kind of history of using patents badly.

Insightful? (1)

Trick (3648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532798)

Since when is a copy-and-paste of the article "insightful?"

If Sun didn't have a patent on big, heavy purple servers, I'd be whacking a moderator with one right now.

Re:Copy Right Infringement (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532810)

I think the difference between IBM and Sun in this case is that IBM did not give us everything, but did not attempt to tell us that they were. Sun attempted to promote that they were giving more than they actually did.

Thanks

Bruce

Interesting discussion point. (2, Interesting)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532434)

Basically, RMS argues that the Sun announcement offers 1600 patents for CDDL (their license for OpenSolaris) and doesn't clearly state that they are opening their portfolio to all free software licenses.

If they do that: Great. If they don't: That's not so good, Al.

Re:Interesting discussion point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532523)

Wow, an allusion to a Weezer video. You should get mod points just for that. :)

Re:Interesting discussion point. (1)

DOS cunt (838633) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532688)

that's not so good, Al.

Re:Interesting discussion point. (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532572)

You mean that Sun does not clearly state that they are not opening their portfolio to all Open Source developers. Indeed, I think they deceptively state that they are. When you read the fine print ("under the CDDL license and the OpenSolaris developer process") you only realize that they are not offering it to all Open Source projects if you understand Open Source licensing issues.

Bruce

Re:Interesting discussion point. (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532626)

If they are, why would they not want to sing it from the rooftops?

Specifically what licensing issues do you refer to?

Re:Interesting discussion point. (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532752)

If they offer it to all Open Source projects under all currently-accepted Open Source licenses, I'll sing it from the rooftops for them.

Specifically, the grant is promoted as being to the community of Open Source developers, but its terms restrict it to software that is under a license that is unique to Solaris. The Linux developers, who use a different license, can be sued for using the same patents. And Sun attempts to tell us how charitable a community member they are for doing this. It has a deceptive flavor that sticks in the craw of many Open Source developers.

Bruce

Re:Interesting discussion point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532732)

you only realize that they are not offering it to all Open Source projects if you understand Open Source licensing issues.

Damn. Where are we going to find someone who understands Open Source licensing issues?

Re:Interesting discussion point. (1)

golgotha007 (62687) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532901)

Damn. Where are we going to find someone who understands Open Source licensing issues?

Wow, either you're being extremely sarcastic or you didn't realize that you just responded to Bruce Perens with that question.

Bruce Perens is probably one of the most knowledgable people in the world who understands Open Source licensing issues (afterall, he is the primary author of The Open Source Definition).

Re:Interesting discussion point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532808)

They aren't.

Sun's free patents only apply to the source code they themselves released under the CDDL.

They've said as much themselves.

They want people to work on Solaris, not Linux. That's ok..

If the GPL version 3 is compatable with CDDL then we will be able to incorporate the CDDL code into Linux and gain the protection against the patent that way.

Thing is that RMS and freinds previously stated that MPL-style:
you sue users of the this software for this software because of patents, you lose license to to use this software and use it in your own products.

is acceptable even if GPL incompatable and they are thinking about similar clauses for the GPL version 3.

And CDDL basicly copied that from the MPL.

I don't think that Sun released the CDDL specificly to be incompatable with GPL, but that's what ended up. Fortunately it doesn't have to be like that forever.

On the other hand..

If the GPL v3 was going to incorporate similar language, then that's ok. But I don't want the GPL to incorpate restrictions just because Sun's pressure.

Don't forget that GPL's "viral" nature is designed so that we don't end up with dozens of different licenses that may end up crippling developement by making it to complicated for normal people to use.

We need a uniform single license that makes sure that free code STAYS free irregardless of the developer and in accordance with the wishes of the original author of said software.

I just wish Sun released it's patents for ALL free software, and not just opensolaris.

in the wise words of Admiral Ackbar (5, Funny)

kevinx (790831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532440)

Its a TRAP!

Note To Sun: You Are Not Helping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532442)

One wonders if they assumed RMS, Groklaw, et al would not bust them wide open if they don't come correct. They are definitely not helping their image with an already cynical, suspicious and mistrusting open source community.

He's right! (-1, Flamebait)

NewOrleansNed (836441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532467)

Only with an Open Source zealot can he look a gift horse in the mouth, and after inspecting each and every gold cap, yell at the giver for not putting in platinum with extra dental service for life like he wanted.

Re:He's right! (3, Interesting)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532550)

How about the Open Source community just not immediately trusting gifts given?

There seems to be this view that if someone offers a gift, then being suspicious of their motives is bad.

Slashdot commentators are very bad at analogies, so I won't break that tradition with this one:

Various charities, such as greenpeace etc, are very wary about companies wanting to talk to them and/or give them gifts. Because often the companies then turn around and claim they are 'working with' greenpeace etc, without actually doing anything.

Re:He's right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532740)

Interesting, interesting...

Kinda like how India refused most forms of US aid after the tsunami, I guess.

Re:He's right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532552)

You mean these patents are a gift to the open-source community? Are you stupid?

Re:He's right! (4, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532574)

This is more like looking a trojan horse in the mouth.

Re:He's right! (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532609)

It's just that Sun's "gift" seems too much like a Trojan horse (no, not the virus kind).

Re:He's right! (3, Insightful)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532638)

Now now, RMS can be a windbag once in a while, but on occasion he's been proven to be right. The revolution takes all kinds, soldier, and this guy (and the FSF) has gotten us pretty far.

I'm personally not a big fan of the Sun-MS and I guess that's my personal bias. They've done their share of good for the OSS movement, but have also done some incredibly damaging things to OSS as well. They're one of those wait-and-see types.

If the Chief GNU is barking at something, I'm willing to bet there's something there that's at least worth investigating. To borrow from your allusion, some gift horses come with nasty surprises.

Re:He's right! (2, Insightful)

Ur@eus (148802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532657)

Well Troy accepted the horse and they where not so happy for it afterwards. Not all 'gifts' are equal.

Ad hominem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532662)

I know this will come as a surprise to you, but simply calling someone zealot doesn't automatically invalidate his arguments.

I can see you surprised face now and here you stutter the word argument?

You see, there is an article linked in the news story and in this very linked article RMS explains in great detail why he thinks Sun didn't do what it should have done and what he thinks Sun actually did.

Now of course you don't have to agree with RMS` reasoning, but please, do yourself and us all a favor and the next time at least try to read the article before you comment and if you disagree try to bring up some arguments and try to reason why you think someone is wrong.

Looking forward to your next, well reasond post,
AC

Re:He's right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532794)

I think what is being pointed out by the article is that there may be strings attached or a trap involved. A gift horse isn't such a great gift if after you take possession of it, you find you have to pay back taxes on it or it has a contagious disease that infects the rest of your horses. The announcement from IBM was clear that if you use the software they released, no matter what happens, you wont be sued for patent infringement (or you wont loose if you are). Sun has not made that clear. Even if they dont intend to sue, if they are bought out by someone like SCO, you are not protected. Even if you don't use their software code but simply the idea the patent covers, you are vulnerable.

Re:He's right! (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532851)


Only with an Open Source zealot can he look a gift horse in the mouth, and after inspecting each and every gold cap, yell at the giver for not putting in platinum with extra dental service for life like he want

No, the giver of the horse would have a contract stipulating that the receiver could only run the horse in certain races at selected racetracks on specific dates. All decided at the discretion of the "gift giver".

Promised? (2, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532488)

What difference would it make if Sun "promised" to not sue free software projects "using" those patents? Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a mere promise wouldn't hold up in court, anyway.

Re:Promised? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532663)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a mere promise wouldn't hold up in court, anyway.

Yes, maybe you are.

Re:Promised? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532677)

IANAL but I think if they promised it publicly in writing using language that made it clear the offer was from this point forward and included all free software licenses that yes it would probably hold up in court. What is a contract, but a promise?

Re:Promised? (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532801)

A formalised promise that both parties actively and explicitely agreed to uphold. I see what your point is, of course, but it probably wouldn't be too difficult to argue for Sun that the statement wasn't actually meant the way it was understood, that the one who made the statement did not have the necessary authority to make such a statement on behalf of Sun, or something else.

If the company (i.e., someone who without doubt *is* authorized to act on its behalf) signs a written contract with an actual third party, though (as opposed to the somewhat nebulous "general public", "free software developers" or whoever the promise would address), they would find it much more difficult to argue like that (although they probably still would try).

Re:Promised? (2, Insightful)

slipstick (579587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532737)

Actually it would make a great deal of difference. I'm a little lazy today but if you go search google for IBM's announcement regarding their 500 patents you will see that it is given in very specific legalese that I'm quite convinced would stand up in court as a "license" to use their patents.

So the "promise" requested from Sun isn't just a "we promise not to sue", it is a very specific request for a "use license" for the patents. Such a license can be posted on their website independent of their CDDL license which is a copyright license only.

Re:Promised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532743)

If such a promise is used as a defence, it's called "promissory estoppel" (google the term if you need more info)

Re:Promised? (4, Interesting)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532754)

Actually, you're wrong. 'Promissory estoppel' is the legal terminology in a number of english-speaking countries for promises which DO hold up in court. There are a number of circumstances where if I say 'You can do X without me suing you' then I legally can't sue you for X.

Re:Promised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532787)

Promises under certain circumstances can be binding, like an oral contract. In fact any contract can be thought of a codified list of promises and obligations agreed to between two or more parties.

However, it doesn't sound like Sun's promises are the type they can be held to.

Re:Promised? (3, Interesting)

Landaras (159892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532884)

IANAL (yet). This is not legal advice.

You are right in that donative promises are generally not enforceable in court. However, there is a legal doctrine called "reliance."

Specifically, if I make an unenforcable donative promise to you, and you reasonably and foreseeably rely on that promise, the courts will step in and enforce that promise.

The textbook example of reliance is a company that promises a worker a pension in return "for the consideration of his many years of previous service." The problem is that prior consideration (in this case the previous years of service) can not be bargained for, and we fail to have a binding contract here since consideration is offered by the company (the pension) in exchange for no consideration by the worker.

However, due to the equitable principle of reliance, if the worker retires (which would be reasonable and foreseeable) the courts will enforce the promised pension.

So, if Sun publicly promised to not sue open / free software projects for using their patents, you reasonably and foreseeably rely upon that promise to use their patents in a open / free software project, and Sun sued you or others for patent infringement, the courts could be reasonably expected to enforce Sun's earlier promise.

Remember though, that Sun has not promised to not sue you for using their patents outside the CDDL, and even if they did you might have to pay a lawyer to get a court to enforce said promise.

- Neil Wehneman

*/OpenSolaris (0, Flamebait)

murphee (821020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532532)

Hmm... maybe he's pissed because the OpenSolaris name is so unspecific... it should be:
BSD/OpenSolaris (because the tools and toolchain came from there)
No... wait... didn't Sun move to SysV ... so it should be called:
SysV/OpenSolaris
No wait... didn't Sun also port lots of GNU tools to Solaris... hm... I suppose this only leaves us with:
GNU/OpenSolaris.
Now... if Sun would only get rid of their on compiler and go with only GCC and if it would dump all of it's IDEs (Sun Studio, Netbeans,...) and would ship only with Emacs (sorry: GNU Emacs) ... then we'd have a happy, smiling RMS again.
No wait... RMS is never happy nor does he smile... so we'll probably just have an RMS who is yelling at something else again...

Oh well...

Re:*/OpenSolaris (2, Funny)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532764)

// Stallmanize a sentence!
string Stallmanize (char *szBuf)
{
string stallman = "";
char seps[] = " ";
char *token = strtok (szBuf, seps);
while (token)
{
stallman += "GNU/";
stallman += token;
token = strtok (NULL, seps);
}
return stallman;
}

Proper punctuation in the string is left as an excerise to the reader. Besides, it's a frickin joke.

Malcontents... (-1, Troll)

Trolling4Columbine (679367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532561)

...like RMS will never be happy, and never have room for compromise. Garbage like this reminds me of Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Accords.

Seriously, though, RMS isn't doing Free Software any favors. It's hard to take stubborn zealots very seriously.

Re:Malcontents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532658)

Seriously, though, RMS isn't doing Free Software any favors. It's hard to take stubborn zealots very seriously.

And you, Trolling4Columbine, have done so much for free software that we should take your words seriously. It was only through your determined efforts that we all enjoy free software today.

Go suck eggs (4, Insightful)

n1ywb (555767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532704)

RMS is one of the greatest allies of free software. He has stuck firmly to the principles he believes in. He has dedicated his life to evangelizing free software. He is in no small part responisble for the GPL and GNU/Linux. Can you say the same about yourself?

Re:Go suck eggs (0, Flamebait)

nazzdeq (654790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532879)

Free software doesn't pay the bills. Sure, they make money from "support", but then the software is not free, is it? Free software is the one thing that's worse than outsourcing. Let's all work for free and sing Kumbaya! Woohoo.

He's pretty much right (5, Interesting)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532625)

What truly scares me is the lack of long-term thinking among some open source projects that I keep track of with regards to the CDDL. The best example I can give is that I was reading the forums over at the ReactOS project; and OpenSolaris was mentioned. IIRC, No-one in the entire thread (which was about using some of OS in ROS) mentioned the patent angle...and given that ROS could easily be shut down over it, that omission alarmed me.

OpenSolaris (Or any CDDL project) is a torpedo waiting to sink any GPL project whose members happen to think about looking at CDDL code.

RMS is right on this, and he should be; he crafted the GPL during the days when reading AT&T code carried similar considerations.

Re:He's pretty much right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532777)

yet once more, simply reading code will not get you into trouble.

analyzing, modifying and doing soemthing MIGHT get you into trouble.

but if you can remember that much code precisley, you have a better memory than anyone else on earth.

In other news (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532630)

Sun (the celestial body) rises in the east, and sets in the west.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532693)

Technically, you are incorrect. It is the Earth which revolves around the sun, not tuter way round.

He is right... (2, Interesting)

ThinkTiM (532164) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532645)

software patents are the major threat to anyone in the software business who doesn't have a 7 figure bank account. And he is not allowing any distracting moves (such as open-sourcing Solaris) to change his fight against them.

What is the point of open-sourcing Solaris (read free as in freedom) if we can't be sure of using the code that has been "opened" to further the open-source movement? Sun must open its software patents in order to do this.

Re:He is right... (1)

mungtor (306258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532891)

What is the point of open-sourcing Solaris (read free as in freedom) if we can't be sure of using the code that has been "opened" to further the open-source movement? Sun must open its software patents in order to do this.
It's pretty obvious really... They're trying to get people to work on new projects in Solaris by opening it up as much as they can to people willing to work on it. They aren't willing to blow millions of dollars and hundreds of man-years of R&D just so all the useful or superior technology can be ripped out and show up in Fedora Core 5 (for example).

Hopefully, this will result in some competition between the Linux and Solaris camps and both sides will benefit. Major improvements in device drivers for Solaris x86 would probably make a pretty big splash for places afraid to switch from MicroSoft to a "no name" OS.

Is this really news? (0, Flamebait)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532650)

Did anybody expect that Stallman would not blast anything that wasn't the GPL?

He's a zealot. That means its his way or no way. Rathewr than praising the steps in the right direction, he chooses to blast that its not his license.

Isn't there a Chinese saying about the longest journey beginning with a single step?

Stallman really needs to understand that his zeal sometimes does as much harm as good to his cause.

Re:Is this really news? (2, Interesting)

Ur@eus (148802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532738)

RMS doesn't mind things not being GPL, in fact in many circumstances he supports it. He openely supported making the Ogg codecs BSD/MIT style licensed for instance. What he is blasting is Sun pretending do to one thing (give patents use rights to open source community) while actually doing another thing (promising not to sue Solaris developers)

Re:Is this really news? (2, Insightful)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532772)

longest journey beginning with a single step
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So long as that step is in the right direction.

zeal sometimes does as much harm as good
You mean like zealously opposing anything RMS says without offering a shred of reasoning one way or
the other about what he actually said? (and I'm guessing without reading the article either)

Re:Is this really news? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532811)

I agree -- said another way, the GPL is exactly how RMS wants it. If Sun were to make a license exactly how RMS wants it, it would be identical to the GPL. If it's not, it's suboptimal, and RMS complains. QED.

It's pretty obvious that RMS will complain about every license that's not the GPL, just because if it were enough like it for him to not complain, whoever came up with the license wouldn't have bothered and would just have used the GPL instead.

(Yes, that entire post was just an excuse to use the phrase "QED." Sorry.)

IBM's patents (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532675)

Funny how few people have actually looked at what IBM is really providing. I fail to see (for example) how useful a patent for a tamper proof set screw will be useful to opensource programmers, nor how licensing patents set to expire in a year or two is really being as gracious as IBM would like people to think.

uh-oh (4, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532696)

RMS takes Sun to task...

Later on, he gave IBM a stern talking to, and then towards the end of the article, he gave Microsoft a vigorous tongue lashing. Also, mosquitos, as a species, were maligned.

Seriously guys, the trash talk is getting embarrassing...

"Significant"? (1)

Gnuosphere (855098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532700)

Last year IBM took a significant step forward in cooperation with the free software community, by offering blanket licenses for 500 of its patents to all free software developers. I never thought I'd say this...but RMS seems to be taking things a little lightly. I don't buy the whole "IBM releases software patents" news. The 500 patents are a drop in the bucket. Releasing patents and receiving praise for such action is (and yes, this is hyperbole) like releasing a few slaves whilst chaining most of them and then being hailed an emancipator.

Re:"Significant"? (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532855)

Amen.

I personally would welcome an announcement by IBM like this: "Recognizing that patents stifle innovation and limit wide deployment of technology, IBM will no longer patent any of its discoveries and will rather publically release implemetations under the GPL."

Until that day, IBM is still evil.

As far as Sun, yes, they are also evil. Let Java and the class library go GPL.

Schwartz blasts IBM patent hooie (3, Informative)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532708)

Somewhat similarly, Sun honcho Jonathon Schwartz posts these comments about IBM's patent assignments to the OSS movement in his blog [sun.com] :

ps. You've got to love IBM's ability to play the community. Going through some of the patents they "donated" to the open source community a few weeks back, it looks as if they all, curiously, seem to be due for payment - and thus potential expiration - this year. Were they destined for the bit bucket (turns out IBM is among the largest patent expirers in the world, along with its largest issuer).

And some of the patents have nothing to do with open source software - my favorite in the heap is this one [uspto.gov] .

Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532713)

RMS grousing about how some corporation isn't sharing his particular worldview is about as common as someone trolling slashdot forums with goatse links. Can we please move along?

The world of Richard Stallman (2, Interesting)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532725)

I have no problem with the world according to Richard Stallman as long as compliance is voluntary.

As a software creator I am free to choose to release the software for free and I am free to demand payment for my software. On the other side of the coin, consumers are free to accept my terms or not.

Oh wait, we already live in that world. So what is his beef with people making decisions for themselves?

Re:The world of Richard Stallman (2, Insightful)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532853)

Free Software, in the GPL/FSF/Stallman sense is not about price at all. You should make money from your software, you should sell it- just allow people to study and modify it, redistribute and distribute it too.

What is the software you are creating? Software like Adobe Photoshop, or custom software for internal use/a client?

Don't forget - the FSF sells Free Software too. It helps them survive. [fsf.org]

Re:The world of Richard Stallman (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532903)

Obviously you didn't RTFA. He's not having a go at Sun because of their CDDL license, he's having a go at Sun because they're threatening F/OSS developers with patents (and spinning that they're good guys because they're not going after the Solaris developer base with those patents).

This isn't about what Sun does with it's software. It's about Sun threatening to charge you royalties for YOUR software, that you wrote yourself, on your own, with no help from them. See the difference?

He sure blasts a lot. (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532735)

Any chance for any news involving RMS not to include the word "blasts" in the header? Seems he does not have any other opinion expression mode. :)

Those are Sun's patents.

RMS complains (-1, Troll)

imnoteddy (568836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532763)

RMS complains that not everyone in the world does what he wants.

This isn't news for nerds - they all know what RMS is about.

Is it stuff that matters? Depends on whether you think that Mr, Stallman's opinion matters. Personally I think he hasn't been relevant for a long time.

Speaking of relevance, where's GNU/HURD?

Yes, I expect to get modded down.

"Blasts???" (1)

ElvenSmith (555236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532767)

I see no "blasts" in this "taking to task" by RMS. Why exaggerate his "annoyance" to FUD? Ah...of course...this is /. and fud-slinging is the norm...

A good business strategy. (4, Insightful)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532779)

Unfortunately I see it as a gimmick.

Let's look at Sun's Open Source strategy:
You can take OpenSolaris source code and modify it. You cannot take OpenSolaris patented concepts and place them into other works OSS or otherwise. If things pan out for Sun that means they will have a large developer base dumping code into Solaris, which will make Solaris better and more competitive. Sun basically just improved Solaris with no R&D by leveraging the OSS community. It appears, as of now, that Sun is in this for free skilled labor and nothing else. They are trying to have their cake (revenues from Solaris) and eat it to (no competing products resulting from Open Solaris concepts because of patent issues). The open code without the freedom from patents is like saying "Hey, developers, help me make a buck off this OS by contributing your code for free."

It doesn't take a zealot or a great deal of common sense to notice this. I say let Sun do it, and when they don't attract the huge developer base they hoped to attract maybe they will rethink their OSS approach.

jumping the gun a little maybe (1)

cangeceiro (712846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532816)

how come nobody has brought up the fact that for a large corporation like sun it is gonna take some time to release source code and free up the patents for solaris. im sure there is mounds of paperwork that has to be done for them to accomplish this. so i would say people are jumping the gun in questioning suns motives because they came up with there own license, and have only released a small amount of code.

Good things come to those who wait

Sun, PicoJava, and 8255 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532835)

Although the number of patents released sounds impressive, Sun has completely ignored its stranglehold over PicoJava as it is implemented on the 8255 chip. Sadly, many of my requests to Sun regarding it have gone unanswered.

Has anyone noticed... (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532840)

...that every post criticizing RMS thus far has been modded as Troll or Flamebait? Every Single One?

Some of them are trolls, but come on...is RMS a sacred cow now?

Re:Has anyone noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11532898)

> Some of them are trolls, but come on...is RMS a sacred cow now?

Uh.. this is slashdot.. so uhm. Yes.

ill-conceived use of legal docs? Sounds like SOP (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532865)

Sun is sitting on a bunch of patents that they are not using for anything. Kudos to them that they want to see them taken somewhere by somebody. When was the last time you gave somebody a computer that cost you bucks back in the day but is now a door stop?

I'm Sorry... (1, Insightful)

AusG4 (651867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11532869)

Oh wacky, wacky Richard.

You had me with the "my software is free, just share your code with me too" line.

You had me with the "complete UNIX toolset, we just need a kernel" idea.

You lost me with the "now all code should be free without exceptions" bit.

After that, I stopped caring what you thought about the APSL and the BSD license, and still don't care what you think about the CDDL.

A brilliant engineer you are, but please stop playing the pundit on all technology issues that run counter to your ideas. Clearly, the GPL isn't for everyone... try to remember that.
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