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Between Solaris and Linux … one GPL too many

Between Solaris and Linux … one GPL too many

Internet – Solaris under GPLv3? According to Sun President and COO, Jonathan Schwartz, this is not only a plausible hypothesis, but even a desirable one. In a post that appeared on his blog in recent days, Schwartz has returned to promote cross-pollination between Linux and OpenSolaris, that is the possibility that the two operating systems can share code and technologies .

“We understand that diversity and freedom of choice are important factors, which is why we are considering releasing Solaris (and possibly the entire Solaris Enterprise System) under one dual license : CDDL and GPL3, ″ wrote the Sun boss. “As major contributors to the GPL, we want to do everything we can to encourage cross-pollination between Linux and OpenSolaris. After all, why reinvent the wheel with technologies such as DTrace and ZFS or GRUB and Xen? ”.

But Solaris’ marriage to the GPL3 license may not help collaboration between their respective communities at all of developers. Just in the last few days, in fact, Linus Torvalds has made it clear that he has no intention of adopting the new version of the GPL for the Linux kernel. If Linux therefore remained tied to GPL2, and OpenSolaris instead embraced 3, the transfer of code from one operating system to another could be prevented or hindered by the different clauses governing the two license revisions.

In order for the osmosis between the Solaris and Linux code to be possible, the code of the former should also be released under the current version (2) of the GNU license. A choice, however, that Sun executives have already discarded .

Tom Goguen, Sun’s vice president of software marketing, said yesterday that GPL2 has already been rejected by Sun in the past and will be in the future: the reason, according to the executive, is that this version of the license is too restrictive for customers. purposes of the Californian giant. Goguen argues instead that the GPLv3, in addition to taking into consideration the important issue related to patents, introduces changes that should make it more compatible with the CDDL .

If Torvalds holds his ground, the bridge between Solaris and Linux will never be built. But among the developers of the Linux kernel not everyone seems to think of it as the father of the Penguin: among these there is also the same right arm of Torvalds, Alan Cox which yesterday declared that it is not at all opposed to the switch to GPLv3, if only because it will introduce greater compatibility with other open source licenses.

On Schwartz’s blog we read that the server giant is considering the use of GPLv3 also for the publication of the intellectual properties behind its new processor UltraSPARC T1 .

However, Sun’s initiatives are viewed by the open source community with a certain suspicion, and this above all for the contradictory signals coming from its leaders . As well illustrated in this ArsTechnica article, both Schwartz and the company’s CEO Scott McNealy in the past have often changed their opinion on Linux and the GPL, expressing even fierce criticisms. Finally, it should not be forgotten that Sun is among the most “devoted” licensees of the SCO Group, a factor that certainly does not help it to gain the sympathy of the Linux community.

This does not mean that the hypothesis of drawing on the mature and proven technologies of Solaris 10, and thus accelerating the rise of Linux in the sector of large companies, teases not a few Free Software developers.