From Stephen O'Grady -- Will the
Spurned CDDL Come Back Stronger?
Could, paradoxically, Sun's rejection
of the CDDL for Java project be the best thing that ever happened for
the license? It seems counterintuitive, but consider that the biggest
obstacle to CDDL adoption - negative impressions of Sun - are in
serious decline following the release of Java.
An interesting observation. I'm not sure it's counterintuitive, though.
I think it's pretty accurate.
I never really bought the criticism of CDDL
because other open source projects using MPL-based licenses seemed to
be quite successful and also seemed to escape the flames that flew our
way. To me the stress around CDDL had nothing to do with the value of
the license or the issue of proliferation and had everything to do with
the political and economic situation at the time. Go back a few years:
Solaris and Sun were both supposed to be dead. Competitors were
circling. Many developers were skeptical. The language blowing around
out there got harsh to say the very least. During this time, our open
source interactions were confusing at best. Also, Sun was simply not
performing in the market, so poor numbers placed us in an even more
compromising situation. No amount of honorable intentions (which
we certainly had) or even perfect communications (which we certainly
didn't have) could have solved those problems. We had to just tough it
out and defend ourselves while we got things back in shape at home. And
we did. Fast forward: absolutely everything
Also during this time, the company's core technologies were opened:
OpenSolaris, OpenSPARC, Java. I'd like to think that since OpenSolaris
went first in this sequence that we may have made it a bit easier for
OpenSPARC and Java, and I'd also like to think that since they went out
under GPL that things may be a bit easier for us as well. These are
complex technical and business issues for Sun, but the communities of
people forming around these technologies all have tremendous value no
matter what license is used.
So, in some ways I agree with Stephen -- that due to Sun's being seen
in a better light these days, CDDL may get a second look from those who
need or want to use an MPL-based license. That's great. However, I
think it will take some time for CDDL to be accepted by those who so
strongly critizied it when it was released. And that's probably a
bigger issue than the perfect storm from which we just survived. I also
think there's more than enough room in the world for CDDL. It's
certainly done well by OpenSolaris, hasn't it?