Wanted: apt-get For OpenSolaris

A lot of people seem to like the idea of a Debian GNU/OpenSolaris project. Alvaro Lopez started the discussion, and lots of people responded (mostly positive). Among them are Tim Bray (Sun) and Ian Murdock (founder of Debian).

The problem is (as you would have expected) the license of OpenSolaris (the CDDL). According to another blog post by Alvaro Lopez, people on the debian-legal mailinglist seem to consider the license non-free.

Now, if Sun would choose a proper license or dual-license OpenSolaris (CDDL + GPL or something), things would look mighty different, I guess...

(via Ian Murdock)


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Why Sun won't make OpenSolaris GPL-compatible

My guess is that Sun intentionally made OpenSolaris GPL-incompatible to avoid contributing code that could benefit Linux and the rest of the Free Software community. They want a walled garden, as much as they can.

With all due respect... I

With all due respect... I disagree.

(disclaimer: I'm a Sun employee.. on top of that, I'm part of the kernel team working on OpenSolaris, so maybe I'm biased, though I would like to think I'm objective on this matter)

Sun specifically avoided the GPL in order to make the license more business-friendly; not necessarily Sun-friendly, but any sort of business. I know the GPL "virality" has been touched on in many license discussions (witness BSD vs. GPL, or MPL vs. GPL). It's not to avoid contributing code that can benefit Linux or the rest of the Free Software Community... it's an effort to make the license more attractive to other companies so they will adopt it and use OpenSolaris in their products without the GPL-"viral" issue. (I don't mean to disparage the GPL by calling it viral, it's just the only term I've heard to describe it, and it's a fairly descriptive word... I'll be happy to use a different word if you like).

Yes, but there may be hope left...

I think you may be right, otherwise they would have just used a well-known license like the GPL, LGPL or BSD license. Maybe there will be enough pressure and/or encouragement in the community, so that they scrap the CDDL and relicense all their code. Who knows...


I explained the issue with

I explained the issue with the GPL/LGPL licensing in my comment above; but I think the reason they avoided the BSD license was for the patent protection. It was impossible to give patent protection to people using Sun-derived works under Sun's patents with the BSD license, hence the need for CDDL. The MPL was closer, but still had the patent issue I believe. In fact, the patent protection is the main difference between MPL & CDDL, and in that regard I view the CDDL as being more beneficial to the community than the MPL.