Sun Submits New License for Open Source Approval
December 5, 2004 Leave a comment
Sun recently submitted the CDDL to OSI for approval. The license is based on the Mozilla Public License, version 1.1. Will this license, if approved, be the one they use to Open Source Solaris? They won't yet admit it, but the timing seems to indicate that it's possible. It's unfortunate that the license is incompatible with the GPL and therefore Linux, but you almost had to expect that. One reason that it is incompatible is the patent protection clause. While this is not in the GPLv2, the FSF has said they think it's a good idea and it will likely be in the upcoming GPLv3. Overall I wasn't feeling too bad about this license. That is, until I read the following from Alan Cox:
If Sun are going open source then tell me why they've changed the MPL so they can include third party patented material without telling you (See the section 3 changes) and which you would have no rights to.
The MPL requires that anyone using third party patented material declares it so that you know if its contaminated and non-free as a contributed. The Sun license allows them to slip anything the like into the code then smile as a third party sues people for their contribution.
In general the changes are mundane (Software for Code etc) or in some cases quite sensible – legal jurisdiction, simplifying the definition of creator, but that one change is quite evil on first reading
Now it's true that Alan tends to be paranoid about these things, but he's a smart guy. We'll have to stay tuned to see how this one plays out. Sun has set the internal deadline for Solaris being Open Sourced at January 17th, 2005 – so we shouldn't have to wait too long.