Monday Aug 13, 2007

My Interveiw with Gordon Haff of Iluminata

Ive still got a handful of interviews to roll out from OSCON as well as a couple new ones I taped last week at Linux world.  After getting feedback though, Ive decided to offer them up one at a time instead of  pushing out a whole bunch at once.


Gordon Haff   Principal IT Advisor, Illuminata      Listen to the Interview (5:38)

Today's talk is one that I had with Gordon Haff during O'Reilly Radar on the first day of OSCON.  I chatted with Gordon about his impressions of UbuntuLive;  His take on the spirited discussion between Eben Moglen and Tim O'Reilly; The importance of Open Data; and GPLv3.

For you reference, here is something Gordon wrote about OSCON the day after I met with him: 5 Questions to Ponder from OSCON.   As well as a couple of his postings on GPLv3 that I mention in the interview: GPLv3 Grinds Along -- Does it Matter (April 6, '07) and Linux and GPLv3: A Legal Take.

Gordon is a Principal IT Advisor with Illuminata and was at OSCON covering open source business models and licensing.  Recently Ive seen a bunch of Gordon, first at OSCON then last week at the T2 launch and then later that same day for drinks that Sun was hosting in conjunction with Linux World at the W in San Francisco.  Who knows where he'll pop up next!?

Pau for now...

Tuesday Jul 31, 2007

What was Eben thinking?

A week ago today, Eben Moglen took the stage at O'Reilly Radar opposite Tim O'Reilly

In case you missed it, what transpired next was described by Zonker Brockmeier of as follows:

...Software Freedom Law Center director Eben Moglen threw down the gauntlet to O'Reilly founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly. Saying that O'Reilly had spent 10 years making money and building the O'Reilly name, Moglen invited O'Reilly to stop being "frivolous" and to join the conversation about software freedom... 

Ashlee "Im neither a woman nor a Brit" Vance from the Register had this to say:

O'Reilly invited Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen to participate in a discussion about "licensing in the Web 2.0 era" at this week's OSCON. The conference organizers did their best to fix the conversation. Even though everyone laughs at O'Reilly's Web 2.0 moniker to his face, the conference promoter still takes the phrase very seriously and expects others to do the same. Moglen declined the offer...


I was fortunate enough to grab Mr. Moglen after his appearance and find out what exactly it was that they put in his water that morning.  

Here is the interview\* where Eben discusses his "theatrical event, "  as well as: the rights of users; political language vs. business language;  his current relationship with the FSF and what role the Software Freedom Law Center plays in the FOSS world; GPLv3 and why he wears lemon tinted glasses.

 \*.ogg version, thx to Patrick

The "conversation" continued during the break.  (Eben Moglen is the fellow on the left with the grey beard, Tim O'Reilly is the fellow on the right with the grey beard.)

Pau for now... 

Friday Jun 29, 2007

GPLv3: Alive and Kicking!

Today at 12:00 noon (EDT), Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation unleashed the GNU Public License version 3 to the world.  This license, the first update to the GPL since version two was released over 15 years ago, represents 18 months of work and the  input of a multitude of individuals and organizations.  

The Process

Input came from four committees or constituents: Committee A: Industry Luminaries, B: Hight Tech companies (which Sun was a part of), C: Public/Private users and D: the general public.  This input would then be reviewed by Richard Stallman, a revision was drafted and a new version was released to the committees for review.  This loop was repeated three times with a little extra tweaking at the end.

Visualize Whirled Peas

The transparency of this process was visually rendered on the web by overlaying color to the verbiage in the actual contract.  Yellow represented areas that received relatively few comments and on the other end of the spectrum, red showed those areas where most people were adding input.  This was further detailed with roll-over annotations that provided the actual comments.

Comments on draft 2


The GPLv3 process has been an impressive and inclusive one, intended on protecting the freedom of software by clarifying and updating the principles of Richard Stallman and the FSF.  What will now be fascinating to watch is who adopts  it, when and for what.  As Simon says, there is no doubt that Sun will use GPLv3, but the questions that we still need to answer are for what and when.  For those communities that Sun acts as the steward, such as Open JDK and OpenSolaris, the decision can not be rendered by fiat but must involve discussion by the communities themselves.  This will take time.

A toast

But for now a big congratulations to Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen, Peter Brown and to everyone else who participated in the process of birthing the GNU Public License version 3. A toast to community, transparency and Free as in Freedom.

 Pau for now...

Wednesday Feb 07, 2007

OpenSolaris: To 3 or not to 3, that is the Question

Well we're at an exciting point here on the "eve" of the release of GPLv3.   In light of the impending release the question has been raised, does it make sense to dual license OpenSolaris under both CDDL and GPLv3?  As OpenSolaris is already licensed under CDDL this means that the question on the proverbial table is whether to add GPLv3.  Obviously, since GPLv3 has not been released, its difficult at this point to definitively pledge support for the license or to rule it out.  That being said, however, it is an appropriate time to start soliciting opinions from the community(ies).  Whatever the final decision is, it cant be one that Sun makes in a vacuum or that is dictated to the community.

Stephen Harpster, engineering director for OpenSolaris, kicked off the dialog a week ago by soliciting feedback from the community on the idea of dual licensing Open Solaris under GPLv3  .  The funny thing is no one responded...just kidding, it has produced a maelstrom of impassioned responses.  Rather than trying to sum up the nature of the comments im going to take the easy way out and point you to Stephen O'Gradys blog from Saturday since he has done a great job of  capturing the issues. 

So thats the topic of the current community and its members...what about new members we want to attract?  One of the biggest reasons that Sun would look to add GPLv3 is to win over new converts to  "Free" Solaris and to grow the community by bringing in folks from the GNU/Linux world.   What I personally would love to see is for the GNU crew to take the Solaris kernel, wrap it in a GNUserland and create a distro that would be as easy to install as Ubuntu (which I, a marketing guy, installed recently in six easy steps that caused no feelings of  inadequacy or anxiety).   We could keep a rocket-scientist Solaris distro but why shouldnt there be multiple distros based on the Solaris kernel for various user types?

So this leads to the question, what does the FSF, the champion of GPLv3, think of all this?  Rather than pondering via inference and guesswork, we asked them.  At the end of last week, Stephen, Simon, Sara and I held a call with Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF, and a team from the FSF to get their thoughts on the possibility of dual licensing OpenSolaris.  Peter and crew were very receptive to the idea and gave us some thoughts to ponder.  It was a very good call and we ended with Peter and team agreeing to put their heads together and think through the most effective way they could help us with our decision.   The FSF'ers recognize the sensitivities around the topic and were going to give a think about how to weigh in and in which forums would be most appropriate to share their views with the OpenSolaris community as well as  Free Software advocates.

Im very interested to hear what they come back with.  Stay tuned...


Pau for now... 


I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


« April 2017