Friday, April 21, 2006


Another perspective on Stephen O'Grady vs Ron Hovsepian

I am known for expressing an opinion that goes against popular thought. Today is no different...

Stephen OGrady critiqued remarks made by Novell's President and COO Ron Hovsepians comments that attacks Sun's OpenSolaris project. I am of the belief folks have "read into" vs read what he actually said. The usual statements that he could have done a better job of articulating his position apply.

Anyway, figured I would take some of Stephen's comments and analyze them:

Given the costs associated with open sourcing software, this argument is not particularly supportable - the legal fees involved with open sourcing a piece of previously closed software alone would outweigh any potential "marketing" value.

I wonder what definition of open source is he using? Many of the larger analyst firms use a heavily weakened definition of open source to merely indicate that source code is available. We know that the folks at Redmonk hold themselves to a higher standard and aren't guilty of promoting ignorance (aka distillation) to the masses. The OSDL has a great definition of open source here.

If we were to use this definition and then compare GNU/Linux to OpenSolaris how would they align? For example, does Sun's license violate principle number 5: No discrimination against persons or groups? It seems to want to prevent sharing of ideas with folks in the Linux camp.

I remember an exchange awhile back on a posting as to my thinking on the LAMP stack. Maybe we could understand support for companies such as MySQL and EnterpriseDB and are they really compliant to the open source definition? Does the definition permit dual-licensing where some of the source is not available? As I understand EnterpriseDB doesn't make all of its code available either.

Would industry analysts have more integrity if they stopped recommending certain components in the LAMP stack and instead recommended not only enterprise-proven technology but also products that are 100% compliant to the definition? How come no one is talking about Ingres for example? Its the only DB that meets both requirements.

I am a big advocate of Liferay Enterprise Portal and will be shortly contributing XACML code to the base to further extend its leadership as the number one most secure portal on the planet. Do you think Liferay has in their licensing model and clauses that restricts say ExoPlatform from leveraging their original ideas or even borrowing code snippets? Of course not, because it is truly open. Would love to understand Stephen's thought as to whether it makes sense for Sun to become 100% compliant to the definition.

Don't tell me boring facts around how much Sun is spending in legal fees to convert to a new business model. Do tell me about how much they spend on contributing to open source projects in which they don't sell? For example, Sun has employees that contribute to the PostGres project but I had to learn this on my own. Likewise, tell me what the equivalent of this is in the Novell camp and let us downstream folks truly decide who is more open...

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