Alan Hargreaves' Blog

The ramblings of a former Australian SaND TSC* Principal Field Technologist

More on Martin Fink’s Blog

Martin has corrected one misperception (which I’ll mention later) and written a response to all of the commotion that his blog stirred up. I certainly hope that my response fell into the category of “thoughful criticism”.

Martin, you mention that there were a few good questions, yet you didn’t really address very many of them.

I’m am actually glad to see more folks getting in to the blogging arena, and it’s good to see people writing their own text, regardless of other opinions. The discussion is everything. Thank you for the correction that you did make about the developer community, as you no doubtedly saw, you certainly hit a nerve with some people over that one.

As you asked for corrections to real errors, I am slightly disappointed that you overlooked a few that I pointed out.

The big one that I harped on is that you are under the mistaken impression that Solaris for SPARC, Solaris for x86 and Solaris for Opteron are all different beasts. They are not. Solaris is built from a single code tree (and has been done so for quiet a long time) When compared to the amount of common code, the architecture independant stuff does not really amount to a lot.

The license

There really is not any point on speculating about the license that will be used. We have given the commitment that it will be OSI compliant and Jonathan has spoken to the press about time frames. No-one outside of Sun and few people inside (certainly not me) have seen the contracts that outline exactly what we own, so speculation on what we can open source is also a moot point, save to say, that we’d look pretty silly with all of this build up if we then went for a license and governance model that was not truly open, and I for one do not like looking silly.


Indemnification is also a moot point. There is no linux kernel code involved. Janus is an implementation of the the public interfaces.

I wrote a lot more in my initial reply to your blog Martin. I’d be interested to see if you are prepared to correct what I perceive as errors, or at least enter into discussion about them.


Written by Alan

November 29, 2004 at 1:22 am

8 Responses

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  1. As Martin requested that folks email him corrections where he had made errors, I have forwarded the url for this blog entry to him and look forward to corrections and or discussion.

    Alan Hargreaves

    November 29, 2004 at 1:30 am

  2. Alan, way to go. We need to revisit this topic when OpenSolaris is released. We don’t want to let this go.

    John Clingan

    November 29, 2004 at 9:01 am

  3. My understanding is that Sun will take advantage of a loophole in the OSI license compliance in order to prevent any of solaris’ innovations from being transplanted into Linux or other operating systems. Basically nobody will be able to implement specific features in their own software projects without having to pay royalties to Sun.
    It is pretty obvious. There is no reason to spend this much time in creating a license unless it’s being carefully worded to have a hidden meaning with a secret agenda. Why not use any of the already approved OSI licenses such as BSD? Or better yet the GPL. Why not firmly announce that all innovations in Solaris are being presented to the public ..instead of making a bunch of vague half promises?
    I can understand that it takes a while to clear the legal hurdles .. but the company shouldn’t run around saying that the license will be OSI approved without having already cleared the license hurdles. You cant have it both ways. Its a logical conclusion that the license hasnt been announced because Sun has yet to be sure what kind of license they can have.
    Einstein didnt issue a press release stating he was going to reveal the theory of relativity.. he just went ahead and published it.
    I understand that you guys put a lot of hard work into Solaris and dont have to give your efforts away for free, but I don’t think it’s right to be disingenuous and claim to be benevolent in order to gain publicity.


    November 29, 2004 at 8:42 pm

  4. OK, lets go through what “Anonymous” said here.
    “My understanding” – Actually, this would be “your speculation”.
    Generally, the practice of speculating the worst possible case and presenting it as knowledge is known as “Sowing FUD”. The open source folks get really upset when folks do it to them, I think it a little hypocritical for them to then do it to anyone else.
    What you are forgetting is that Sun is a company. We have many agreements with various third parties that need to be ironed out before we can announce just what we will be using as a license. It’s certainly not a case of adding in a “hidden agenda”.
    As I have already said, Jonathan has committed to the pressto make an announcement on the license before the end of the year. Is waiting for less then a month so difficult?
    We want to do this right. If it takes time to do that, then so be it.
    I certainly hope that when the license is announced and all this FUD is found to be unfounded that you will be amongst those folks saying “Ooops, looks like I was wrong”, but that’s probably going to be a little much to hoipe for any of the naysayers to comeout in public and do that. Certainly not with a real name attached.
    We have already said that the stuff that we are putting into Solaris 10 will be in Open Solaris. What are the “vague half promises” that you refer to?
    What we have said is that we will be using an OSI compliant license. I don’t see what is duplicitious about this.
    For goodness sake, why is it that folks out there assume the worst about us? Give us a chance, maybe we’ll pleasantly surprise you.

    Alan Hargreaves

    November 29, 2004 at 9:50 pm

  5. It’s what I speculated .. based on information I read here and elsewhere (sorry I cant be academic and give you urls I guess people shouldn’t believe my “understanding” blindly) .. but I am not trying to spread FUD which is why I posted on here on your blog instead of putting it on a Superbowl commercial. Also, I qualified my statement by saying “my understanding”. I certainly did not present it as “known” and thats why I even came back to check if you had responded to it.
    I still do not believe you have explained to me how Sun can state that the license will be OSI compliant while not specifying the license. If there are deals yet to be worked out .. how can you know that the license will be OSI compliant? Especially when it has been stated that “nothing at all” prevents *all* of solaris from being open sourced. This why I feel that the license will be crafted with a loophole or catch of some sort.

    About the vague half promises .. here’s an example .. you stated that “the stuff that we are putting into Solaris 10 will be in Open Solaris” .. Well combine it with this article which states “The vendor plans to open up nearly all of the OS’s source code, including, “all the rocket science,” ”

    Keyword there being nearly all of the OS’s source code. I can certainly understand the reasoning behind why you may not yet know exactly which bits of code can be open sourced .. but again there’s duplicity because in other places it’s implied that all of solaris will be opened sourced, example.. from your previous blog entry .. “Is there anything preventing you from making all of Solaris open-source? Nothing at all. And let me repeat that. Nothing at all. ”
    As for me being anonymous .. I dont see the point of putting my name to this (I dont want to take on a corporation ..besides what if I apply for a job at Sun down the road 😉 ) yeah .. nobody should take what I’m saying as fact .. I’m just presenting logic and questions that stand alone.. but I’ll tell ya that I’ll be back to express my “pleasant surprise” or “anticipated disdain” once the license is announced.

    You’ll know it’s me cause I will give you a sentence which turns into the following hex’d sha-1 hash:


    November 30, 2004 at 6:29 pm

  6. The plan is to put the license to the OSI folks and then once we have agreement on it being compliant, it will be applied to the software. There may be some back and forward to get the compliance, but compliance is our stated aim here.
    I have actually seen a draft of what we may be using and from my first reading (done very quickly), there is no such loophole and it actualy looks pretty good, addressing a lot of what we would expect many folks to have concerns about, and a few that they may not have yet thought of. Unfortunately, the details are still under Non-Disclosure, so while I wish I could discuss it and put a lot of concerns to rest, I can’t.
    The quote you refer to, I suspect is due more to the author of the article than what we have actually said. We own the “Rocket Science” that went into 10. It is going to be included. Full Stop.
    My apologies if you read anything that I wrote as an attack on your anonymity, I can certainly understand your reasons. Very similar to why I need to be careful about exactly what I say, given what I know.
    I certainly hope that we can pleasantly surprise you. 🙂

    Alan Hargreaves

    November 30, 2004 at 6:50 pm

  7. Anonymous,
    why do you choose to give more weight to an
    article on a linux site about Sun, than the
    comments/publications and so on that actually
    comes from people at Sun?


    December 1, 2004 at 4:21 pm

  8. Alan, you wrote “We want to do this right. If it takes time to do that, then so be it.”
    You are 100% right with that statement. Honestly, I don’t think that waiting for another 6 months is a problem – just focus on doing it right!

    Michael van der Westhuizen

    December 8, 2004 at 12:41 pm

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