[wellylug] Finally... OpenSolaris is on it's way

Rob Giltrap rob at kiwihq.com
Thu Jan 27 00:01:18 NZDT 2005

Jamie Baddeley wrote:

>That's great news Rob.
>In your opinion, what's the catch?
First of all the disclaimer: I do a lot of work for Sun so am not 
entirely impartial ;-) However here's my independent take on it with a 
little inside knowledge.

Basically the catch (and it isn't so much a catch) is that there is a 
different licensing model. The CDDL or "CuDDLe" as it is affectionately 
called is a little more corporate friendly in that it doesn't have what 
is sometimes called the GPL poisoning effect. This means that there is 
much better clarity around taking the core source and adding something. 
They have two definitions...

1) Covered Software - Which is the software specifically covered by the CDDL
2) Larger Work - Which includes (in whole) the Covered Software plus any 
additonal software that may be under a different license (proprietary or 
other open source)

So here is a comparision...

Take Linux, it includes the Linux Kernel and a bunch system level things 
which are licensed under the GPL, On top of the Linux Kernel et al you 
have Gnome which is LGPL. It is legally unclear whether the relationship 
between the GPL software means that the Gnome LGPL software also becomes 
GPL. This is known to be ambiguous in the GPL and has not been tested in 
court (as no-one has had the incentive to do so as yet). This ambiguity 
is a risk and corporationsgenerally don't like risk.

Next take Solaris, it includes OpenSolaris (which is the kernel and a 
bunch of other system level things these are released under the CDDL) 
and also includes Gnome which sits on top of OpenSolaris and is licensed 
under the LGPL. The CDDL is clear it stating that the CDDL does not 
override the LGPL licensing. It also allows clarity for the likes of IBM 
to offer DB2 on top of OpenSolaris under a proprietary license with 
absolute clarity with regards to the different licensing models sitting 
next to one another.

There is a lot of VERY careful wording in the CDDL and essentially 
compares well with the MPL & LGPL open source licenses. It also 
carefully addresses the issues that caused forking of UNIX so that it is 
unlikely to reoccur (which is one of the strengths of Linux)

So there is no catch, it is just a little different from being pure GPL. 
It is important to remember that Solaris & Linux today run X.org, Gnome 
& OpenOffice amongst many other open source components. This really just 
brings the Solaris kernel and other system level components fully into 
the realm of OpenSource in line with the Linux kernel components. So now 
you can say Linux, OpenSolaris & FreeBSD all in the same breath.

Now for those who are skeptical and think Sun is a big hungry corporate 
wanting to make profits, you are absolutely right, and Sun intends to 
make shed loads by going back to it's roots and assembling innovative 
systems based on industry components. The difference now is that systems 
are not just hardware and an OS, systems are now hardware, OS, middle 
tier infrastructure, services and cost models. Sun has got some awesome 
tech up it's sleeve, over the next 12 months some heads are going to turn.

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