Surge in GPL source code releases

Is this just me or do we see a highly increased rate of (important and interesting) stuff being released (or announced to be released soon) under the terms of the GPL lately?

A few examples:

  • VirtualBox — a VMware-like virtualisation solution
  • Second Life — the client for now, but the server software might follow
  • Fortress — Sun's Fortran replacement
  • OpenSolaris — scheduled to be released under the GPLv3
  • Java — this might have a huge impact...
  • Sun UltraSPARC T1 — a complete, modern CPU

This is a great trend and good news for all of us. A special thanks to Sun for releasing more and more stuff under free licenses!

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)

OpenSolaris [Update]

A lot of hype is going on lately about OpenSolaris. Here's a short summary (mixed with some stupid comments from me) for those who missed the news until now.

  • Although the license (the CDDL) has been OSI-approved, it's not exactly a license I'd consider free. It's especially not GPL-compatible, it seems.
  • The usual grep "idiot" * in the source code and similar searches (which do reveal some hits, although the code was cleaned before the release), are being discussed on Slashdot and elsewhere. My personal favourite is this comment in the code:
    Thank God nobody's looking at this comment, or my reputation would be ruined.
    Bad luck for this guy.
    Lessons learned: Always write your code and comments as if the whole world could read them, because one day that might be the case.
  • Jörg Schilling is preparing SchilliX, an OpenSolaris distribution and LiveCD.
  • A small analysis of the code, performed by me using David Wheeler's sloccount:
    The whole source contains ca. 4.1 million lines of code (MLOC), spread across ca. 24.000 files. (OpenSolaris ships with a complete Perl distribution in the tarball. I removed that before the analysis).
    Compare this to Linux: ca. 4.2 MLOC (Linux in 18.000 files.
  • Rumours about a Debian GNU/OpenSolaris seem to float around. The license might be a problem, I guess. We'll see...

Update: The above quote is from the GRUB source code (included in OpenSolaris), not from the original OpenSolaris code. Thanks for the corrections. Also, Linux has 4.2 MLOC, not 4.2 LOC (yay, I spotted that one myself ;-).

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