Jacob Hookom: Is Sun as good for open source coders as Apache?

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News: Jacob Hookom: Is Sun as good for open source coders as Apache?

  1. Jacob Hookom, in "Move Over Apache," says that there might be competition for Apache's name recognition in the open source community - from Sun. He's detailed his experiences and benefits from working under Sun's CDDL license, and says that it's been great for him.
    The reason why I'm writing this blog is that so many out there have shied away from contributing to Sun's open source initiative under the CDDL. I'd like to use my last year as an example of the opportunities that are provided by making that one decision, the same decision that any of you can pursue.

    Apache isn't the only body out there accepting eager developers and I guarantee that you will get a lot more recognition with an industry name like Sun.
    Despite Jacob's use (or lack of it) of punctuation, the point is worth considering: what do you think?
  2. CDDL[ Go to top ]

    I never contributed to Sun software, but I did adopt the CDDL.

    I think it's the best copy-left license for Java, Sun did a good thing by creating it. Dual-licensing an open-source project under both CDDL and LGPL seems to provide the best developer protection, while still allowing commercial usage and maintaining compatibility with GPL.
  3. Can anyone explain is it possible for original creator to change the license for his/her software? Does the rule for license changing depend only of the laws of the country, or only on the initial licence? For example, what if one decides to switch from Apache 2.0 licence to CDDL or vice versa? How to create a dual licence? I would appreciate worthwile and trusted links on the subject.
  4. Can anyone explain is it possible for original creator to change the license for his/her software? Does the rule for license changing depend only of the laws of the country, or only on the initial licence? For example, what if one decides to switch from Apache 2.0 licence to CDDL or vice versa? How to create a dual licence? I would appreciate worthwile and trusted links on the subject.

    A common misconception about Open Source software is that is somehow "publicly owned". Open Source authors always retain ownership of the software, and are protected by the copyright laws of the countries in which they operate.

    The license simply describes the circumstances under which software may be used. Open Source software tends to be very liberal in allowing anyone to use and modify the software that they continue to own. Furthermore, the owner may use more than one license with the software, providing different ways in which customers may use it.
  5. A common misconception about Open Source software is that is somehow "publicly owned". Open Source authors always retain ownership of the software, and are protected by the copyright laws of the countries in which they operate.The license simply describes the circumstances under which software may be used.

    Open Source software tends to be very liberal in allowing anyone to use and modify the software that they continue to own. Furthermore, the owner may use more than one license with the software, providing different ways in which customers may use it.
    I do understand that the ownership right is irrevokable, but there should be some rules on attaching licence to a product, should not they? The main question from a user's point of view is what if the author decides to go, say, from LGPL to GPL? Then the library that was used before in creating a larger for-profit product becomes incompatible with user's intent to not disclose their own code. There should be something that protects a user of a library from such things.

    The reasonable approach would be to keep whatever version the user already has with the its attached license, while the newer versions of the library may have different and probably more restrictive licence. Is this rule defined somewhere? Is this the law? Because if nothing prevents an original author from changing the license every day, what protects the end user? On the other hand, as an author I want to be able to change the license if I find out that the one that I previously chose does not work for me.
  6. I do understand that the ownership right is irrevokable, but there should be some rules on attaching licence to a product, should not they? The main question from a user's point of view is what if the author decides to go, say, from LGPL to GPL? Then the library that was used before in creating a larger for-profit product becomes incompatible with user's intent to not disclose their own code. There should be something that protects a user of a library from such things.

    The reasonable approach would be to keep whatever version the user already has with the its attached license, while the newer versions of the library may have different and probably more restrictive licence. Is this rule defined somewhere? Is this the law? Because if nothing prevents an original author from changing the license every day, what protects the end user? On the other hand, as an author I want to be able to change the license if I find out that the one that I previously chose does not work for me.

    Well, that's kind of a cake and eat it too thing.

    But, simply, what protects the user, specifically with OSS, is that you have the source code for the previously licensed version. If the author changes the license, then he has effectively forked the code base in to two versions, the License A version and the new License B version. But the original License A version is still around.

    The classic example of this in the wild was OpenSSH, because the original SSH was initially an OSS project and then the authors pulled it and changed the license. But the OpenBSD folks forked the last OSS version and created OpenSSH.

    So, there's nothing as a user you can do to prevent an author from changing a license underneath you and releasing 2.0 under a perhaps less acceptable license. You're basically stuck at 1.0.

    But in order to change the license you must be A copyright holder on the actual software (note, not THE copyright holder, copyright can be shared and in fact is shared with Suns projects (OpenSolaris, GlassFish)).
  7. What kind of spurred on that blog was that I recently asked Jim Driscoll, project lead on Glassfish, about re-licensing some of the code I had originally contributed. His answer was short and sweet, "you wrote it, you own it"
  8. What kind of spurred on that blog was that I recently asked Jim Driscoll, project lead on Glassfish, about re-licensing some of the code I had originally contributed. His answer was short and sweet, "you wrote it, you own it"

    When I first read this (without having read TFA), my initial read was that it implied that Apache would have given you a different answer regarding relicensing. IANAL, but it's my understanding that the ASL and the individual CLA do not prevent the original owner from relicensing either. An excerpt from the CLA:
    You hereby grant to the Foundation and to recipients of software distributed by the Foundation a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license...

    So, my point is that the "you wrote it, you own it" statement should apply to code contributed to Apache as well.

    -Patrick

    --
    Patrick Linskey
    http://bea.com
  9. Changing the license[ Go to top ]

    Can anyone explain is it possible for original creator to change the license for his/her software? Does the rule for license changing depend only of the laws of the country, or only on the initial licence? For example, what if one decides to switch from Apache 2.0 licence to CDDL or vice versa? How to create a dual licence? I would appreciate worthwile and trusted links on the subject.

    The copyright holder can change the license. However, they cannot retroactively relicense the shipping versions, to the extent that stuff that shipped under the old license still has all the rights assigned to it then. Every so often some takes an OSS-license in house, but the old release can still survive under, and often stays part of an active OSS community. Every copyright holder has to do this. The FSF and Apache require copyright assignments to make sure they have this option, even if they only ever use it to release updated OSS licenses.
  10. I would suggest that your experience has far more to do with being associated with the Reference Implementation than for Sun itself. If, for some awful reason, I wanted to work in the servlet container or JSP realm, it'd be more productive for me to work with the Tomcat folks.
  11. Not necessarily[ Go to top ]

    I would suggest that your experience has far more to do with being associated with the Reference Implementation than for Sun itself. If, for some awful reason, I wanted to work in the servlet container or JSP realm, it'd be more productive for me to work with the Tomcat folks.

    Not necessarily - the code Jacob worked on is from exactly that portion of the codebase, and Jacob is considering using the same code in Tomcat. Jacob's whole blog was about working in that codebase.

    And yeah, if you wrote it, you can do what you like with the code - except void the earlier license. All FOSS licenses are irrevocable, for the most part.