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Novell Embraces Open Source, Sun Still Flirting 162

According to this story at Wide Open News that was submitted by a least a dozen readers, Bruce Perens has helped Novell create a "Novell Cooperative License" that meets true Open Source criteria. Meanwhile, CNN says Sun " working towards eventually 'community sourcing' as much of its software as possible," but under a license that doesn't truly qualify as Open Source. Sun is still a bit of a tease here, but at least this is a step in the right direction, eh?
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Novell Embraces Open Source, Sun Still Flirting

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  • Any developer smart enough to contribute to the Solaris or Linux code base is smart enough to figure out the differences between the SCSL and GPL.

    Smart enough, yes. Well informed enough, sadly not always.

    Take as an example the (obviously smart) authors of KDE, who failed to spot the subtle nuances of the interaction between GPL and both the old and new Qt licenses.

    Note, I'm not criticising either the GPL or the KDE developers, just pointing out that misunderstandings of licensing subtleties are not only possible, but also often extremely painful to fix retroactively.

    Therefore, being aggressively vocal about pointing out the shortcomings of the SCSL is entirely justified if it means preventing a similar situation arising in future.
  • Actually, the Timpanogas group was founded by an ex-Novell employee who was working on a sophysticated clustering system for NetWare servers. Timpanogas continued that work. Novell sued them and WON. Novell won bigtime, they had news reports all over the place about it, so I am a bit surprised you are stating the opposite.

    Reading the post on the linux-kernel list, I still don't get how is NDS related to Timpanogs? Even in the leaked (whether true or forged) e-mail is stated that Timpanogas works on clustering, NDS has little or nothing to do with them.

  • Actually, Sun is one of the few companies where open sourcing makes sense. Sun makes all its money off hardware. The software side is really just a loss-leader to sell more sparcs. Since the software is already a loss, why not open source it? (Yes, I know Sun doesn't think that way, but it should.)

    Something like the SCSL does make sense for a pure software company.

    Besides, the QPL, as I read it, satisfies most of your arguments and it's open source. Competitors can't use QPL code in their commercial products.

    On the other hand, since Open Source was created by distributors like Debian, any Open Source product must allow distribution by commercial companies like RedHat without any royalties going back to the original developer.
    Scott Ferguson

  • >The lawsuit was in relation to some clustering
    >software. Right?

    Sorry, I have no idea. And perhaps that's a bit scary -- how many of us check our software for patent restrictions before running it? I mean, for all I know, me running NCP could be a violation of some Novell patent.

    Hmmm, looking at /usr/src/linux/fs/ncpfs/, I see that the original code is quite old (1995), but more interesting: There is no license. Could anybody please clear up in this? It's a bit disturbing...

    /* Steinar */
  • Who says we want anything "for free" from Sun? All I want is for them to stop publishing under SCSL. If they want to keep their source locked up without publishing it, I think that's perfectly fine.

    But, to me, publishing under SCSL looks like a pretty direct and deliberate attack by Sun on true open source Java and UNIX kernel efforts, because it takes away the motivation of many people to develop open source versions of their software without promoting anything other than Sun's business. Sun is still within their rights to do that, of course, but I think the open source community is justified in criticizing them for it.

    (Incidentally, look for "contamination clauses" in their source code licenses; in the past, if you looked at their sources, you were prohibited from contributing to a clone.)

  • What is all of this bitching about? First, Solaris is not a Sun creation. It is the derived work of many other companies (AT&T/Lucent, SCO, and even Microsoft!). In order to go open source, Sun not only has to change its license, but convince the other owners to do the same. I can bet you now that is not likely to happen anytime soon. Second, the whole open source announcement was a mistake from a unknown veep within Sun. It seems that one veep was quoted that Sun was going to give away source, then the other veeps in the compnay started parroting the same thing to not look like fools. So for a mistake decision, it is a pretty good implementation.
  • It's nice of you to say that. But there will be a public review period on the license when they go for OSI certification. You don't really have to trust me.


  • I'd imagine the license is in the top-level directory of the Linux source tree. Yes, it should have something in the file pointing to the GPL, though.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 1999 @07:40AM (#1516600)
    They left novell and started selling novell's clustering tech. Novell sued and theys guys fessed up. Why should anyone listen to them now?

    for more info see,606 1,349111-54,00.html
  • I find this open source option very wonderful. As a young developer I often look to 'advanced' code and try to learn what I can from those projects.

    What I don't understand is why technology in general isn't being opensourced? Source code is nice, but things like digital hardware could also benifit from this. It would bring cost down and increase the derivative of the slope for advancement. Just and idea...

    Justen Stepka
  • from the above link:
    However, nothing short of a full "Open Source" implementation will make the Linux
    community happy. So the real challenge is to create a Open Source "minimal NDS" to seed the market. Once NDS is in the door, then Novell can leverage and up-sell the ZEN and Internet product lines.

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Thanks for keeping up with the payments.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, the Timpanogas group was founded by an ex-Novell employee who was working on a
    sophysticated clustering system for NetWare servers. Timpanogas continued that work. Novell sued
    them and WON. Novell won bigtime, they had news reports all over the place about it, so I am a bit
    surprised you are stating the opposite.

    No. The case was settled out of court.

    Jeff Merkey, the guy you're referring to, is also the architect of what became the Novell 5 kernel.

    Reading the post on the linux-kernel list, I still don't get how is NDS related to Timpanogs? Even in
    the leaked (whether true or forged) e-mail is stated that Timpanogas works on clustering, NDS has
    little or nothing to do with them.

    After the lawsuit was settled, Timpanogas pursued filesystems. You can currently download "Fenris" (Netware FS for Linux) from their web site []. This will obviously be the basis of any future clustering project Timpanogas may pursue....

    In the mean time, now that Fenris is finished, they're working on NDS for Linux / Windows.
  • It seems you need to read this: Free as in Free Speech []
  • Have you ever heard about IBM?

    Have you ever heard about RedHat or Cygnus?

    Have you ever heard about Irix? Erm. About SGI?

    Have you ever heard about Corel?

    They are companies that develop things.

    Two of them build new hardware (and hell, great hardware).

    They make money from their work. At least, they try to.

    And, unlike Sun, they develop free software.

    That is why they don't get all this `hatred' you mention that Sun does get.

    Sun can release their software under whatever license they want. What is irritating is that they pretend their license if Free Software (or Open Source) when it is far from being so.


  • Uh... Your statement "Netware is not gaining any new customers - they're just keeping existing customers." isn't at all true, and seems to be FUD from the "other direction".

    I believe FUD tactics are wrong, whether from MS or from the Open Source world...

    I'm still installing NEW Novell networks, where no network has been, or (so-called) competing networks have been. I install several new ones a year (two this month), and being a one-person operation, that's pretty good numbers. Novell is not gaining market SHARE, but the whole market is growing so rapidly, they are gaining huge numbers of seats (the percentage slice of the pie is shrinking, but the pie is growing so much the slice's size is still growing).

    One of my clients is soon going to be decommissioning an NT server as they found they could run their app just fine from their existing Netware server with only a disk system upgrade (they had been told the app required NT) and a heck of a lot less headaches. Now, they don't count as a "new" install, or even a new server, but I think it counts as a definite Netware "victory". That's one of the "problems" Netware just tends to take on more tasks with little fanfare, rather than implementing five new NT servers. This doesn't show up in the statistics.

    Netware may not be gaining as many new seats and customers as NT. They ARE possibly gaining more new seats supported (quantity, not market share) than Linux. These numbers are difficult to make sense of, however. A site that runs off one or two Netware servers doesn't do as much for Novell's numbers as a similar size site which runs off 10 NT servers, and has five Linux machines doing various functions.

    When it comes to the business world, I feel what matters is results (or, at least, this is what SHOULD matter). If the employees at my clients sit down and think "Oh, now I start work on our [fill in type] network", I have done my job improperly. My goal is to have my clients think of their computer as they do their stapler and their phone: just one more tool to get The Job done, and The Job is rarely computers. I've found Netware does this well.

    Don't get me wrong, I've got my own list of what Novell has done wrong. I'm looking forward to a day where I can start setting up Linux or FreeBSD systems as servers (and to be honest, I'm leaning towards FreeBSD [oh, now I'm in trouble..]) for small offices (by the way, there are FAR MORE small offices than there are mega-corporations!), and I'm really not sold on Netware 5 and "Pure IP" yet (IPX is the perfect firewall. Internet (IP) traffic can't hurt/breach/crack an IPX-only server!). However, several things are going to have to change and improve in the Linux/*BSD world before that happens..and Novell is free, of course, to improve their world, at the same time.

    Real competition is good. Keeps everyone on their toes. That should be true of Open vs. Closed source, as well. But that's another essay...

  • Oh boy. Now the question is - what might they need that license for.....

    Perhaps NDS and file sharing over linux?

  • Right . Except that when you d/l the StarOffice source then write your own office suite and/or contribute to an exisying one (i.e., KOffice) expect to have Sun's bloodythirsty lawyers all over your ass because you have "seen" their proprietary source
  • Even if they cant Open Source everything, atleast they are open sourcing some of it.
  • Maybe think about it this way: that you cannot use Open Source without experiencing freedom. It is this experience which will affect your thinking, rather than your thinking (about freedom) which will affect your experience.
  • The question we must ask is whether they are doing this with a genuine belief in the Open Source development model or just to grab some limelight (and look good). XGI announced their open source XFS long time ago and they have nothing as yet to show for it in their website... just my penny's worth...
  • Do you also think we only need one programming language?
  • He chose to work for Novell.

    Novell pays him to be at work.

    Novell tells him to work on this project while on company time.

    He takes the project and starts his own company and is suprised when Novell sues.

    What gets me is not him starting his own company that competes with his former employer, but that he was spent so much time on Novell's dollar building what he was planning to make his own fortune off of. He should have burned the midnight oil doing that at home and given Novell what they paid him to, no more, no less.

  • It isn't a step in the right direction at all. If anything, it is a half-assed attempt to ride the Open Source shockwave. Developers and end users have absolutely *zero* freedom within the SCSL. Hell, even the non-commercial users are restricted.

    The BSD license and the GPL are better than the SCSL would ever dream of being. Watching Bill Joy (the inventor of the BSD license) run around touting the SCSL leaves a very bad taste in my mouth - it's like watching a man commit treason against one of his ideals "for the good of the company". It's sickening and sad.

  • This is interesting. I hope that Novell's license makes their software free software.
  • coupled with the fact that quad intel xeon machines have about 5 times the I/O bandwidth and overall speed compared to suns "enterprise" line of hardware, and you have a clear winner. Linux.

    Not that I'm a Solaris biggot or anything. But I'd certainly like to see anyone tackle running a real time billing system tracking hundreds of millions of mobile phone calls on a quad xeon.

    The production Solaris boxes at the company I'm on site at have more processors than most Intel boxes have Megs of RAM. And bandwidth? FDDI feeds are pretty quick.

    We had a problem with a particular job failing in a test environment and the issue came back from development with the answer that the problem was occurring because that particular test system only had 2 Gigs of RAM. Guess what, the patch that will let Xeons see up to 64 GB hasn't made it to the 'stable' kernels series and it will be a while before it does. Even with that patch individual processes still have trouble dealing with as much as 4 GB.

    Don't get me wrong, Linux will get to the point where it competes with Solaris someday. But it certainly isn't there now, except on the low end. As more and more of what distinguishes Solaris from Intel gives way to hordes of open source kernel hackers, Sun's software division might have something to start to worry about, but then again, Sun is predominantly a hardware company and hopefully by the time Linux can offer the same features as Solaris on an Enterprise 10000, Sun will be smart enough to jump on the band wagon.

    Man (or Woman), you really had me laughing.

  • (I presume you mean SGI)
    You were obviously not looking very hard.
    You can get some of the source from their web pages at [].
    They have lots of other interesting projects there also
  • by Thalinor ( 4731 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @06:21AM (#1516623) Homepage
    there was a post on linux-kernel from jeff merkey,
    the developer of the existing netware support
    for linux.

    apparently, novell seems to play games..

    decide for yourself.

    i copy from:

    jeffs linux-kernel post []

    Linux Community,

    For those folks who saw the Linux Today article about Novell's "Open
    source plans", here's some food for thought. This is an internal email
    thread from Novell discussing Open Sourcing of NDS with the principals
    at Novell with us (TRG) and attempting to negotiate us to stop Open
    Sourcing NetWare technology on Linux. FYI, Dave Shirk and Novell are
    full of it, and are in actuality trying to "put the genie back into the
    bottle" and get us (TRG) under control. Part of their strategy is to
    FUD the key Linux folks to divert attention and mindshare away from what
    we are doing. They are out trying to FUD the open source community into
    believing they are actually going to do something, but it's really a
    well planned attempt to shut us down from providing NetWare open source
    technology to you guys.

    They first threatened us with more lawsuits if we did not halt our Open
    Source NDS projects, then Dave Shirk, the so called "open source
    champion" of Novell fired Bryan Clark, the Novell marketing person who
    was trying to integrate our Open Source projects with Novell. Dave
    Shirk called him into an office and fired him for even suggesting that
    NDS be open sourced on Linux -- then turned straight faced to the the
    Linux community, stating Novell was moving towards such a direction, and
    lied to us. The attached internal email threads are provided so the
    principals in the Linux community know these guys are full of it.

    Busted!!!! If they try to suck up to any of you, be warned, their
    intention is to CONTROL what's going down with their market share.
    Linux is killing Netware right now, and will easiy assimilate over 1.5
    million nodes of Netware next year. This is a predatory move to "trojan
    horse" Linux and neutralize the threat.


  • I think people really do care, and that companies who's marketing departments are just pushing them onto the open source bandwagon will be shown up in time. Until then, give 'em a chance to prove themselves!
  • You're calling me a cop-out because I know when to walk away from a fight? I call that smart. Sorry if I'm not good entertainment, but I can't fight ESR when the result would be bad for free software.

    We have a lot more than 3 Open Source organizations, actually. But you're right that SPI is in the soup as well. It's just that the latest conversation has been between me, FSF, and OSI.

    I regret that I'm not going to be much of a coder for a while. I'm president of a VC firm investing in Open Source businesses. I'm hiring some good coders and mentoring them, that'll have to do.



  • Actually, I've seen other sources report that Novell's open-sourcing their digitalme technology, which is based on NDS.

    I can also see Novell open-sourcing some but not all of their NDS for {Solaris|Linux} material--perhaps the PAM module, perhaps a file-sharing component (which Novell doesn't really have--there's a client that Caldera and SCO use which I believe is originally Novell code, but it's in desparate need of updating, and open sourcing it, or perhaps giving a boost to the ncpfs developers, would be a boon.)

    I don't see Novell completely opening NDS--it's their bread and butter. I could be wrong though...

    All I can say is that eDirectory on Linux will be a great thing for us Novell shops who want to play with things like LDAP on Linux (we're already doing some fun things with it, and this would make it so much better.)

  • Oh cut it out -- Sun's license isn't dangerous; you're just being overdramatic.

    Nobody's forcing anyone to develop software for Sun. If your boss decides that it's in the best interests of your company, then that's his problem (and yours), not Sun's. Look, lawyers are not going to come busting down your door, as long as you don't break the license. Don't think the license if fair? Tough shit. Don't use it then. But, for the love of God, stop complaining about how much these licenses are evil and corrupting. It's a free market -- if you don't accept their terms then vote with your feet and use a different vendor.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I think the term Open Source (instead of Free Software) was a bad idea.

    Yes, it is true, persons don't have to think about the freedom when talking about Open Source. But in practice, as is seen on this article, persons tend to forget that, according to the Open Source Initiative [], Open Source and Free Software mean exactly the same thing.

    I'd rather have persons confuse Free as in Freedom with Free as in $0 sometimes than have persons think something can be Open Source but not Free Software.

    Don't forget it: If it is not Free Software, it can not be Open Source.

    No, poster [], it is not your fault, it is Eric Raymond []'s.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Intellectual property is not some glorious pillar of integrity that we are all bound and obligated to adore. It's a bullshit property right, and something to be very worried about because the last time somebody tried to uphold a bullshit property right it created a very ugly situation (renember the right to own slaves). While Sun is free to stick their head in the toilet, it's not going to do any of us any good - especially them, because they are beholden to hardware and services sales, not to their licensed code when it comes down to the wire. The fact that sun is so out of touch shows that there is going to be a lot of troubble ahead for them.
    • So, yes, I think this is a step in the right direction. In this case, the right direction is whatever direction Sun feels is right for them. Until then, stick to working on things that are your own responsibility. There's nothing wrong with criticism, but comments like "Suns License Sucks Ass" are just inciteful, and they really don't do much to further your standpoint.

    Perhaps some of the Slashdot denizens use strong language. They are trying to get people's attention.

    Let me explain something to you about people around here. Many of them have an agenda. You seem to think it's OK for Sun to have an agenda, but not "greedy Slashdotters". That agenda is to make as much source Open as possible. When somebody on Slashdot says something like "Is this a step in the right direction?", they are speaking in the context of the Open Source agenda.

    When a company, such as Sun, tries to forward their agenda by introducing a source license that they claim is an improvement on Open Source licenses (as defined around here), it's examined pretty carefully. It's been examined and found to be a crock. From what I can tell, the SCSL gives about zero rights to anyone but Sun. Many feel that it's purpose is to confuse people and weaken the Open Source agenda that Slashdotters like to see moved forward.

    Eric Raymond has it right, Sun just wants the "Community" to fix bugs for them. As you say, they're going to hold on to their IP rights. If they feel that way, perhaps they should just keep their code to themselves and protect their copyrights like Microsoft does. To try and "join" the Open Source Community with their Trojan Horse SCSL is devious.

    Well, we just want to make it clear that the SCSL has nothing in common with the goals of the Open Source Community at large and is really about distracting the Open Source Movement to make the world safe for the likes of Sun and Microsoft.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    you're only partially right. Sun is beholden to hardware sales far more than software licenses. McNealy is so blinded in envy of bill-gates he is not even doing what's in his own best interest. Sun has destined themselves to take a beating while the rest of the market goes to Linux. The fact that they've lost touch is really a sign that we need to go somewhere else for our hardware.
  • You are so correct. NDS interoperates ONLY with NT domains (NDS for NT), Solaris workstations and servers (NDS for Solaris) S/390 mainframes (NDS for S/390), Digital tru64 (NDS for tru64), Cabletron routers and switches, Lucent Cayun series routing swithches, Peoplesoft applications, Oracle databases, LDAP 3 directories, Kerberos databases, DNS and DHCP databases, SQL Integrator (with which NDS integrates with multiple databases from multiple vendors on multiple networks) ... No, the list is not over but I have a visit so I can't continue.

    NDS is THE most interoperable solution in the solar system AFAIK.

  • I agree. I am so tired of the same old attitude on slashdot. If it isn't GPL then everybody should start yelling and screaming that the license is crap. I like GPL, but I don't think one size fits all. It is naive in the first place to think that every peice of software benefits from open source and even more naive to think that only one license is needed. Everytime Sun gives to the community there is the big-mouthed Linux community who balks at it and starts accusing Sun of all manner of things. These are the same people who then act surprised when Sun puts some projects, like porting Java to Linux, low on the priority list.

    I may be ranting a little here, but there is merit to the SCSL and a lot of organizations prefer it to GPL. If someone has a business interest and wants to keep it, that is their right. If someone wants to give something away with stipulations, that is also their right. Saying that you are a better gift giver (time and time again) gets old and alienates instead of helps.

  • I find Bill Joy's remarks about why they don't go completely open source rather hypocritical, since SunOS was derived from BSD - open source software helped Sun make a whole lot of $$$.
  • hmmm
    last time i checked, ESR was responsible for Fetchmail.

    For the un-clued in, fetchmail is a bit of software that lets you move mail from a remote pop3 server to a local mail spool

    - Sid
  • A few corrections:

    1) Eric Schmidt did not come from Javasoft, he was CTO for all of Sun. (He is also a certified VSG (Very Smart Guy), and one of the very few CEOs in this business that *fully* comprehends the importance and role of network computing environments. He was instrumental in the genesis of Oak/Java. For this reason alone I still hold out hope for Novell.)

    2) Actually, Kerberos is not a directory service at all, but an auth service that relies on Project Athena's Hesiod service as its directory. It's possible to use Hesiod for things other than Kerberos, but unfortunately, Hesiod/Athena never took off outside a few DEC Unix shops. NIS+ may actually have the most elegant architecture of the NDS/NIS+/AD trio of (at least technically) serious contenders, but Sun never built tools that would have made NIS+ usable by mortals, so no one does (or really even can, it's sad.)

    11) Novell's directory is in some ways less elegant than AD, but it has the big advantage of running on darn near eveything, where AD is (and is likely to remain) NT only.

    12) Good point - especially on the low end. But it would be a mistake not to continue to capitalize on success in the mid-range server market. There are too many people out there that think Linux is the right answer everywhere. Part of being a good technologist is recognizing "appropriate technology."

  • It's very simple. Any author can release their code in any license they want. An author can also release their code under multiple licenses. Microsoft apparently didn't want to abide by the rules of the GPL so they decided to pursue a different contract which didn't force them to disclose any of their source. They had to pay for this special license, as well they should.
  • I agree.. I want to know how much of this is pure marketing tactics or if they actually care about OSS. Somehow I tend to lean towards this is just corporate marketing taking over..

    The bigger questions could also be do people on /. really even care?

    I find it hard to believe a large company like sun is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts or for the "betterment" of the industry.

  • No, but I do believe that Sun's portrayal of their license as just-as-free as the GPL and other "open source" licenses is dangerous. What the previous poster said makes perfect sense to me. What you can't seem to grasp is the having a truely "free" license is more important to some of us than any of the "goodies" that may lie buried in the Sun source code. People who comment on the "unfreeness" of Sun's license are just trying to remind those of us who agree that it is "dangerous" in our view to get involved in contributing to a non-free community. I think you are the one that is being overdramatic, as I don't think anyone even hinted that we believe we are forced to use the code. We know it's our choice, and I can't personally blame Sun for their stance. It is important, IMHO, to remind the truely free of us what is at stake here though.
  • Intellectual property is not some glorious pillar of integrity that we are all bound and obligated to adore. It's a bullshit property right...

    Other than the fact that I consider your post to be fairly obvious flamebait, let me point out (with a simple example) why "intellectual property" DOES require integrity and is a legally defendable right:

    Let's say that in a flash of inspiration, I come up with the core idea for the NEXT NEW WONDERFUL WIDGET!!" but that I do not have the mechanical engineering skills to create it. So I hire (with the requisite non-disclosure non-compete agreement in my NICHE market) and pay the engineers for a year or years to do the R&D, build the assembly line, etc. Because I paid for the development of the technology, I own the intellectual property of how the technology is produced.

    If you do not believe me on this, check your case law. I know of many cases where major companies have won judgements (such as Novell vs. Ticonderoga, Stac vs. Microsoft, etc.) based on that exact premise. If I develop the idea, copyright, and/or patent it, I do acquire a legal right to use it exclusively, whether we in the Open Source community wish it to be otherwise or not. Fortunately, folks such as Linus, RMS, Alan Cox, and thousands of others are choosing the Open Source model rather than the proprietary "defend it in court" model.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And how is voicing an opinion incompatible with a free market? If he thinks the licence is unfair then saying so loudly and attempting to discourage others from using it is an entirely appropriate course of action. People can listen (or not) as they choose, and if they find his opinions persuasive can elect not to use the product. The free flow of information is esential to the functioning of a free market, his opinion is just one more piece of information for potential customersto make use of.
  • Lets suppose that a company exists that can only differentiate itself from its competitors by the intellectual property in its software. While its hardware and service are good, they aren't overwhelmingly compelling, and the only way they can make money is to sell software because its good software and people use it.


    Sun doesn't want to open source their code. And they won't. They want people to build products using their intellectual property, and then pay them for it. In a tech world where it makes more sense to liscence a piece of the puzzle instead of doing your own, Sun is trying to get in on the sale of IP thing.

    They want people (community) to work for them for FREE soi they can make money. Doesn't this seem unfair to you?

    Sun is no different from MS except that they are making themselves seem like they are supporting the community when they are really just out to kill MS through less than honerable tactics. They don't want to alienate the OSS community so they make it seem like they like us. They are wolves in sheep's clothing...

  • No kidding. Check out this zdnet article []. You got to love this quote:

    "I regret what happened here," says TRG CEO Merkey. "I mistakenly believed that, because we had developed certain technology while employed by Novell, we could take elements of that technology with us when we left. We have learned that the law does not work that way."

    IIRC, what happened is the one guy was the chief guy behind the Novel clustering project. He wrote the whole thing in pretty much undocumented C and when he left Novel, he took his hard drive with him. Novel sued and eventually he returned the hard drive, damaged and unreadable. But I'm too lazy to do a longer search to find out if I'm remembering correctly.

    Which does raise the question, why should we believe them now?

  • Here's a very simple idea.

    We need companies to develop things. Things like hardware. Things I can't develop in my own house (a chip fab plan is a little over my household budget :-). I'm willing to pay a fair price for others, companies or otherwise, to do what I can't.

    Do commercial companies need US! to develop software for them???!!! If the answer is yes, then they should be willing to abide by our requirements if they expect our support. Companies should not expect us to provide free labor to them so they can go around and sell it back to us at a healthy margin.

    If the answer is no, companies don't need our help to develop software for them, then they are free to release their code under any license they choose. They should not, however, approach our community with the premise that their license is "free" and deserves just as much respect/attention as others. That, IMO, assumes that we are a ignorant of business/licensing issues and are just a bunch of idiot savant like programmers who have no talent in other fields and can't even comprehend the trick they are trying to play on us. That is very offensive to me. (Even though I expect a BIG shipment of Sun hardware next week at work and am excited about getting it all setup, I won't get sucked into developing software for Sun instead of my true Community).
  • That we have a sense of humor, yes! Don't take everything so personally. Lighten up. Learn to laugh. That's what we are doing about Sun's weak attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.
  • Actually, the GPL does not prevent anyone from selling their products. You are allowed to offer any number of licenses, commercial or GPL, if you are the copyright holder of the work. If you want to avoid forking, insist on sign-over of copyright for patches into your main source thread, commit to offer them under the GPL, and remain an active maintainer. If you don't want to be an active maintainer, then expect a GPL fork by someone outside who will do a better job.


  • > We need companies to develop things. Things like
    > hardware. Things I can't develop in my own house (a chip fab
    > plan is a little over my household budget :-). I'm willing to
    > pay a fair price for others, companies or otherwise, to do
    > what I can't.

    Yes, we need companies for things that are expensive to produce - but
    software is not expensive to produce - anyone with a PC can develop
    software for nothing but the cost of their own time. But the big
    companies want to put a stop to that - it's a threat to them. They
    would prefer software to be as expensive to produce as the hardware,
    so that only "big players" could do it, and thus there would not be
    as much competition for them.

    Software patents are a tool to prevent the development of software
    at low cost, a way to make software as expensive to produce as hardware.
    Only those with the money to license and cross-license patents will be
    able to develop software. A professor wrote into PCWeek claiming patents
    were good, and actually helped spur innovation in software -- he's right,
    they do -- if you're a big company and can affort to pay for the licensing.

    A license like Sun's is a way to close the door to the "upstart" free software
    developers. If this sort of licensing and the "too-general" software patenting
    continues, eventually the big players will have gotten their way and the only
    way to develop software will be to work for one of them (and of course, turn over
    all your rights to it to them).

    It's a battle between big businesses and "the people". I think the people will
    eventually win, because software is just too easy to develop to squelch it out
    entirely. But things may get worse before they get better, and we (the people)
    must be vigilant to be sure they (the big companies) don't win.

  • Bruce, I know you read ./ and post from time to time. I would be interested in your take on this comment. If this turns out true, what are the possible implications from this?

  • It is not my opinion, it is the opinion of the Open Source Initiative [], they guys who coined that term. If you go read their site, you'll find out that by Open Source they mean exactly what the Free Software Foundation [] means with Free Software or what Debian [] means with their Debian Free Software Guidelines.


  • Now, I realize that this may go against all of the established dogma of the nerd world, but open your minds just a crack and you'll totally understand the SCSL.

    Lets suppose that a company exists that can only differentiate itself from its competitors by the intellectual property in its software. While its hardware and service are good, they aren't overwhelmingly compelling, and the only way they can make money is to sell software because its good software and people use it.

    Now, why would that company open source its products? So that someone else can use their intellectual property to improve their products?

    More importantly, why would anyone want to contribute code to such a product?? That's the problem with the SCSL. No one *wants* to see a code fork, but a true Open Source license gives both the Customers using the software, and the independent developers contributing to the software the assurence that they *can* fork if they have to.

    Basically, if it's open source then you know that your software company doesn't have you completely over a barrel. If they start taking the software in a stupid direction, you can get together with other disgruntled users of the package, hire some programmers, and fork.

  • This is America and I will just claim prior art. In fact, I can claim better prior art as I now have your IP.

    You might indeed improve upon someone else's work before you claim it as your own. Some rearrangement and a few changes here, a few needed things there, you have something with added value.

    Its now stolen from its heritage and you may miss the benefits of the orginal authors. The author who wrote the code before you was inspired to write that code and had much vision. That's something you cannot duplicate. You might try to claim it as prior art, but the first author knows that code in his sleep and much better than the visible back of his hand. That is part of the author's soul you stole. You might claim it as yours, but can you relate to it, trace the history of that code, and talk about what inpired it? You might to defend yourself. But you are faking it.

    You appear to enjoy programming off the work of others, not to create in its own sense. There are dangers to what you are doing and it may well profit you. But if you do cross with an original author over code you stole, you will encounter a personal battle. You might even win one or two, but people may get wise. It takes time to grow up and gain wisdom. You might learn its to your advantage to develop your own vision, rather than steal from others.
  • Nope. Because all the companies have different intents.
  • No, but I do believe that Sun's portrayal of their license as just-as-free as the GPL and other "open source" licenses is dangerous.

    Does Sun portray their license as just as free as GPL? I think that Sun has done a very good job portraying what they intend their license to do. They *want* other companies to use thier code in closed source programs. The GPL doesn't allow it. Hence, Sun allows other companies to use their code in proprietary applications for a fee.

    It's not open-source, and it's not meant to be. It's meant to make it easy for corporations to intergrate with their projects without having to also open their projects.

    The GPL and SCSL are not only different, but are meant for completely different goals. What each of them were meant to do, they do, and do well. Let's Cheer For Choice!!

  • by Le douanier ( 24646 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @10:50AM (#1516674) Homepage

    I don't know what to think about the SCSL.

    Sometimes I think this is a good thing for Sun's customers that want to look at it and that may want to license Sun's code. And now that Sun seems to be clearer that it is not an Open Source license then it's fine with me, it is better than totally closed source while not being totally Open Source and therefore not for me.

    With this POV this is a step in the right direction.

    But sometimes the SCSL appears to me like a "sect". That is, it is easy to enter the sect/community but once you are in this is very hard to get out and you are never sure to ever get rid of it.

    It is easy to have access to Sun's code but once you have read it you hardly can prove you didn't use it for your own Free Software. This is why I would avoid any code under this license, or any similar license, because I fear (rightly or not) that it may restrain my liberty to code software related to what code I saw.

    I don't say that it was Sun's incentive (put people in a dangerous position if they do both SCSL and Open Source) to create the SCSL but it looks like this could be one of the consequences, so I will avoid this kind of license like the plague and if I was an employer I would forbid my employees to look at it and ask new employees on their exposure until their is some clarification of the SCSL made to avoid this problem.
  • I agree. Regardless of what SUN tries to show the OSS/*nix community via fake(read: ploy to blind you for a sec) OSS licenses or whatever else, SUN is only out to make money just like Microsoft or any other vendor out there(including Redhat).

    Regardless of what people here think, ultimately somebody is always going to try and take the idea and run with it to make money. While they are running do you think they are going to look back and care about OSS? Hell no. They are going to run straight ahead and try and bully/push away anything in their path(this includes USING OSS and the community to get there). Welcome to the business world (something I personally think that the /. community needs to be slapped with).

  • > He wrote the whole thing in pretty much
    > undocumented C and when he left Novell, he took
    > his hard drive with him.

    OK, taking the hard drive home is pretty poor. But undocumented C, wow, never seen that before. Whaddya mean he might have had a ridiculous deadline to meet? No fucking way man, programmers not only love to write documentation, but our managers ALWAYS allow enough time for it. ;-P

    Anyways, I'm willing to be that both sides are sinners (I'd expect nothing less from any real programmer) and neither is really in a place to judge the other.

    So draw your own conclusions about what's better for Linux. The smarter people at Novell can always get another job if their market dries up.

  • They *want* other companies to use thier code in closed source programs. The GPL doesn't allow it. Hence, Sun allows other companies to use their code in proprietary applications for a fee.

    Wouldn't a double licensing like the QPL and a proprietary license have the same effect?

    1. The Open Source license make sure it is open, but may impose conditions on the maintener (that is what the QPL do it seems to me).

    2. The proprietary license allow them to license the code for a fee to companies wanting to include it in proprietary software.

    And they would have avoided the problem we have now.
  • Actually, I think it does. I was at SGI's presentation at the Atlanta Linux Show where they were talking about XFS. The technology looks very impressive, but one of the major obstacles they had was that a major component of the XFS technology was licenced from another party, so they needed to recreate the subsystem before releasing the full product. Also, considering the system-critical nature of a file system, I don't really have a problem with them trying to put more debugging and polish on it -- a month ago, they had gotten about half of the file system primitives done -- you could create files and read from them, but not yet write to them.
  • This is really good news if Novell is serious.

    However, does anyone know if they have released a Groupwise client for Linux or if there is an open source alternative? My work is looking at possibly moving off of win95 to linux, but we have to be able to use groupwise.


  • by Gleef ( 86 )
    I don't care if Novel is doing it, or disgruntled ex-employees; I will be happy to see NDS available as Free Software. Certainly Novell has no reason to keep the NDS client software closed. Opening the NetWare and NDS clients could only serve to increase their market penetration.

    Freeing the NDS server would require some serious reworking of Novell's business model, so I'd be more surprised to see that open. Let's just wait and see what happens.

    I for one, will happily use TRG's GPL'ed software, now that I know they exist. They need to get out more, I've been searching for Free Netware-Linux interoperability solutions for six months now and never came across them.

  • Sun cant Open Source their S/W - If you look in some of the header files it says (C) Microsoft 1982 Thats why they cant go Open Source
  • I've never questioned their right to use the SCSL as long as they do not attempt to confuse people about whether it's Open Source or not, and as long as they don't act to block Open Source software through legal means or FUD. They're doing the FUD thing quite heavily, and I do question that.

    I do also question whether or not anyone else should accept SCSL-ware. I think it doesn't give outside developers a fair quid-pro-quo, so I don't think we should contribute our own code to it. I think it doesn't give users everything that Open Source does.



  • Thank you, but you should re-read what I wrote... _I_ would pay to use NDS commercially (I currently do so, and how) and _I_ would accept restriction upon the source in exchange for access to it (I currently do not have it). I'm only speaking for myself but I based my comment on the previous post, which in my reading suggested that Novell he would like it to be free, as in free beer.

    I would welcome a move by Novell to turn NDS out as Open Source (tm?), both free as in speech and free as in beer, but I don't hold much hope. NDS is valuable to them and they've shown fairly little interest in the past in listen to their customers, let alone those who don't affect the bottom line.

    Oh, yeah, another thing... I'll second that plug for Debian! It's the only distro I use.
  • Don't dignify this troll. Just ignore it. Real companies pay attention to the law because they have something to lose. This person doesn't. He probably can't code, and can't afford to hire an attorney for 10 minutes, and he sure doesn't understand a thing about how the law works. Let his words pass by, unheard.


  • Just to clarify: There is already excellent IPX (the NetWare protocol) _and_ NCP (the NetWare network filesystem) support in Linux, giving you everything you need to connect to a NetWare server, read/write files, etc. (There is something called MARS as well, which lets you emulate a NetWare server, but I haven't been able to get it to work.) All you need is the Linux kernel and a copy of ncptools, which is (as you say) OSS. This works great, and I use it for my everyday work at school. Pretty bug-free, even, and with all the administrative tools you'll need.

    Just so people wouldn't go mad looking around at the web :-)

    /* Steinar */
  • "Better than nothing" isn't much, and like "as much as possible" it implies that there are facets of Open Sourcing that are valuable and some that are not (on a case-by-case basis). What benefits of OSS might Sun and Novell be attempting to take advantage of, and which liabilities are they avoiding? There seems to be a sense that OSS is synonymous with free software, but from a corporate perspective this would not hold a drop of water. Trimming the QA budget, perhaps?
  • so we have the GPL, the LGPL, and the BSD licenses, plus an assortment of other licenses that are all a little different by netscape, novell, etc. anyone have any desire to make a fill in the blanks with the company name license that matches the intent of all the company name licenses so there is less confusion?
  • by Foogle ( 35117 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @06:24AM (#1516697) Homepage
    This is a very "My Way or the Highway" type of attitude, and it's very popular around these parts. First of all, Sun isn't exactly under any obligation to release any of their source code at all. And why should they? The developers here on /. have already said that they'd stick with Linux even if Solaris was Open Sourced.

    The fact is: The Open Source Community -- especially the Linux faction of it -- are getting greedy. We're so used to having everything for free, and completely open, that we're now berating companies that don't cater to our demands. Well the truth hurts, but you can't have everything for free. Companies are going to want to hold on to their IP, and licenses like the GPL and BSD don't do a whole lot to help them maintain that hold.

    So, yes, I think this is a step in the right direction. In this case, the right direction is whatever direction Sun feels is right for them. When you're the CEO of their billion-dollar company, then you can decide what "the right direction" for Sun is. Until then, stick to working on things that are your own responsibility. There's nothing wrong with criticism, but comments like "Suns License Sucks Ass" are just inciteful, and they really don't do much to further your standpoint.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Why do we need so many open source licenses? What's wrong with the GPL?
  • Yet another example that in the future that the way business grow in the technology sector will not be in products but in education in services.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 1999 @06:28AM (#1516700)
    See recent posts on linux-kernel by Jeff Merkey. Basically, there's a private firm of ex-Novell employees (the good people who all quit--Merkey wrote Novell's SMP kernel, for example) who are implementing Netware file system support (GPLed for Linux, sold to Microsoft to be in Service Pack #1 of Windows 2k). Now that that's done, they're moving on to NDS.

    When the Timpanogas Group gets those two items finished, there will be no reason in the world why you can't instantly migrate any Novell setup to Linux or NT. And, there will be lots of reasons to do it....

    Obviously, Novell is scared shitless over all this. They've fought Timpanogas in court, and lost, so now they're trying to FUD to stall public acceptance of the Timpanogas Group code--why run TRG NDS when you can allegedly wait 6 months for the "real thing" from Novell? Of course, if you wait for the code from Novell, you're going to wind up waiting for Godot....

    See, for example, this post [] of leaked internal Novell discussions.
  • Why can't some people understand that we need companies to develop things? Where would we be today if there were no commercial ("proprietary") software? Where would we be if companies like Sun weren't around to build new hardware? Speaking of "sickening and sad", I can't stand the hatred towards companies that seek to make money from their work. Sun's SCSL is a great thing for their customers, as they get the extra security of having the source. Who are you to tell them it's bad because it's "treason" and not the GPL?
  • What is novell genna do now?
    this is a good question, my best guess is that they are genna open source their current stuff, and move into another area, to make money, or are they going to release some of their products under open source. This is very Interresting.

    Maybe Free 250 user sever for linux :)
  • The GPL basically prevents companies like Sun and Novell from selling their products. At least, in the way they've been selling them previously. By creating their own licenses, Sun/Novell can make sure that they retain full ownership of all the code submitted to the project. This way, they don't lose their source of income. It's not free-software, but it is Open Source.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Why didn't you just go get the right version of glibc?! Blaming Sun for you mistake is infantile.

    Getting the right version of glibc would have required downgrading my whole distro, since all my installed packages were linked against glibc 2.1. Even if I had been willing to wreak havoc on my system in such a manner, the time required to do it would have taken too long to do any good. Spend all night messing with reverting to old versions of everything, and there's no time left to program.

    I do not blame Sun for my mistake. I blame myself. So I learn from it, move on, and (hopefully) not do same thing again.

    Perhaps I should clarify. While I do not hold Sun responsible for my problem, the experience gave me a very bad impression of the company. In the future, given the choice between using closed, unreliable, and buggy software released under terms which greatly hinder potential improvement (needlessly, I would add), and using a truly open alternative, I'll go with the open version any day. As long as Sun releases proprietary junk which tries to masquerade as being open, I shall avoid them, and advise others to do the same.

  • I just read the email thread, and there is nothing in there that has me concerned. All it is is standard corporate discussions on how to approach a competitor. They were even actively seeking to partner with TRG. Everyone seemed to consider the lawyers done with. However, it seems that Jeff doesn't see it that way, thus the post.

    Many open-source companies use the low-end free model. Look at Kaffee, and Sendmail. You own the source, you can set the license. I have no problem with them implementing a subset in an open-source project. If the license is right, and Bruce Perens seems to say it is OpenSource compliant, you can always fork.

    As for Novell wanting to control the market for their linux apps. I say good luck and more power too them. If it is open-source, we all win anyways, so what do I care if people want to pay money to get a newer release of NDS. You are always free to add the features to the current release.

    Jason Pollock
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Saturday November 20, 1999 @09:49AM (#1516711) Homepage Journal
    I signed on this morning after about 100 comments had been posted. Novell folks mentioned this case of someone departing their employment with copyrighted technology to me, over dinner one evening, entirely unofficially, and that's all that I know about it so far. What they said sounded like the news reports linked to by other commenters here. But I'm not stating any opinion on this case because I don't need to do collateral damage in helping Novell make an Open Source license.

    As far as I know, it's entirely possible to make a Netware client through reverse engineering, it's still legal to do that, and some people have done that and it's available in Open Source. In addition, there's Netware stuff that Alan Cox worked on long ago. But I am far from cognizant of the status of all of these products.

    The Novell folks came to me and asked for help with a license. I gave it to them, for free, spending two days there in Utah and other time on the phone and email, for the good of the community. If you think something is happening that is not for the good of the community, of course you should tell me about it, and I will bend people's ears at Novell if necessary.



  • I use GroupWise from my Linux box at work. GW has a web access module that allows you to do mail and documents, you can also access your mail/address book via IMAP/LDAP. Mostly I use the webaccess module though, LDAP doesn't work consistantly with Netscape. I also want to research the GW client for Win3.1 (v4.x) or Solaris to see if they might run under Linux (WINE or iBCS). Let me know what you find out, and I'll do the same.

    PS: On this note has anyone had trouble with the NetWare client for Caldera Linux 2.3? I can see the Tree OK but cannot access any file shares, I get an access denied message on bindary volumes and NDS volumes are linked to /.nwclient/Undefined.
  • Active Directory is just around the corner. NDS is probably better, but organizations with a lemming mentality will choose Active Directory over NDS just because its from M$.

    Novell needs to go with the Linux momentum and open source NDS. They'll still make boatloads of money on support.

    Novell also needs to decouple the NDS server from Netware and let it run entirely on Solaris, Linux, SCO, AIX, etc. if they want to capture new customers. Netware is not gaining any new customers - they're just keeping existing customers.

  • by fwr ( 69372 )
    In this context, "this context" being SlashDot, the general public refers to the general public of our virtual community, a large percentage of which I believe are either professional programmers or have programming skills. It does not refer to the general public "at large," whom I concede do not comprehend most of the sujects that we discuss. So don't go using the fact that the "general public" cares little for the details of source code licenses as an "excuse" for Sun. Your "general public" are often a bunch of bafoons who are lead by the media like the pied piper, not because they are unintelligent but because they simply don't care.
  • Well, Mike, I suppose you'll never read my reply ever, but I will write it anyway.
    The digitalMe open-sourcing news is actually old news. At that time (a bit more than 1 month ago) they intended to open-source digitalMe ans some admonistrative tools for ICS (Internet Caching Syst.), ZENworks and similar.

    Now, however, they seem to be willing to open-source NDS, their crown jewel.
    NDS is really a great directory management system. It's much more even, it's a directory replication/partitioning/synchronization, metadirectory sinchronization, multiple-system access, PKI, desktop and personalized software management, ... It's a whole universe of new capabilities of the network.
    If Novell will opensource NDS, it's going to be way better for all!

    Proided, of course, if it's really open source. I decided to trust Bruce Perens' judgement. Few people are qualified like him in these matters.

  • For many of us, IPX was the Netware protocol. With Netware 5.0, pure IP is the way to go. We have converted all Netware servers and clients to native IP. If Novell's IP printing solution (NDPS) worked worth a turd, we'd have IPX off the wire completely...

    If I'm not mistaken, all the Linux Netware tools/apps require IPX. If anyone has information to the contrary, I'd love to be proven wrong on this... ;)

    What I'd like to see is NDS integration with Linux without the IPX requirement. Whether Novell's forthcoming NDS for Linux (shipping in April 2000 per my source) fits the bill remains to be seen.
  • by AndyDeck ( 29830 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @06:32AM (#1516723) Homepage Journal
    Here's what I've culled from several stories on the subject...

    mrfantasy mentioned DigitalMe above - I have also seen mention of the management interface for ICS (the Internet Caching System), and more importantly, the NDS for Linux client. I would absolutely love to see NWAdmin, along with the (vital) plugins for administration of ZEN and other NDS extensions, running on a Linux platform. Yes, I know that ConsoleOne is the future direction of Netware administration - but there are far too many critical administrative functions that do not run on that platform yet.
  • Well what would you suggest? They open source all of Netware and allow people to download it from their FTP site? Yeah, that's real smart. Then they could make money off of "support" like RedHat.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • "genna"?!

    Oh, my!
    Even "gonna" is not a normal word. In fact (you'll be shocked) THE right form is "going to"
  • Free, as in beer, isn't everything. Having used NDS for years, I believe there is enough value in it to make paying for it worthwhile. I'm not talking access to the NetWare server, the importance is that opening the source, even if it is restricted in some way, has the potential to spawn projects, some of which may be useful to me. Wouldn't it be great to have NDS authentication and management for Linux (and *BSD)? Maybe put all your workstations, servers, hubs, switches, and routers under one consistent administrative tool? I'd pay for that!
  • by nadador ( 3747 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @06:40AM (#1516727)

    Now, I realize that this may go against all of the established dogma of the nerd world, but open your minds just a crack and you'll totally understand the SCSL.

    Lets suppose that a company exists that can only differentiate itself from its competitors by the intellectual property in its software. While its hardware and service are good, they aren't overwhelmingly compelling, and the only way they can make money is to sell software because its good software and people use it.

    Now, why would that company open source its products? So that someone else can use their intellectual property to improve their products? Not a compelling business model. But what if they just want to lower the barriers to liscencing their code to third party software developers? They could create a psuedo-open liscence that allows people to see why they should liscence the code for commercial products, and they make it easier for people to get started. The company makes money when the liscencees turn out finished products.

    Sun doesn't want to open source their code. And they won't. They want people to build products using their intellectual property, and then pay them for it. In a tech world where it makes more sense to liscence a piece of the puzzle instead of doing your own, Sun is trying to get in on the sale of IP thing.

    Not all software needs to be GPLed. And Sun doesn't think theirs should be. The think you should have the right to admire, use, and then pay for it so that they can feed their families, too.

    Andrew Gardner
  • Well, I'm sorry, but I'm just one of thows readneaks from North Carolina, Who are out to take over the World :)
  • by Carl ( 12719 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @07:00AM (#1516731) Homepage
    I think that the Sun "community" source license is dangerous. It seems that the SCSL is a deliberate attempt at stopping the popularity of Free Software.

    By providing developers with easy ways to get at their source but keeping complete control over what is happening with that source (don't try to fix a bug or add a feature and distribute your improvements to anybody unless you can pay lots of money to Sun for testing/compatability "support") they can stop any innovation that they don't want. But at the same time they have now legally prevented people from doing something simular since they have seen Suns "Intellectual Property".

    I surely hope my employer doesn't think something like this is a "step in the right direction" and order me to look at the "Community" source code, because then they have effectively tight my (and their!) hands to improve on the ideas in any way that is a treat to Sun. If you accept the license terms that Sun dictates it will be very difficult to ever do anything (as Free Software or even proprietary software) without fear of having accepted Suns terms.

    Please don't fall into this trap! Don't accept Sun source code because it is now easy to become part of their "community". You will later regret it if Sun sends laywers because you have seen source code that effectively belongs to Sun (and not to the community you thought you where part of).
  • I'm a Microsoft stooge, and I thought your post was flamebait.

  • I appreciate the compliment, but I'd rather you not stir up any ESR vs. BP stuff. Let me do that, and only when it's necessary. I have not given up on working with ESR and have been having a long discussion with ESR, RMS, and the OSI board regarding the recent China message and OSI - FSF relations. I would much prefer to have us all working for free software than against each other.



  • Thanks, Stienar,

    So, if I'm not mistaken, none of the stuff you mentioned is the subject of a lawsuit, or ever was the subject of a lawsuit. The lawsuit was in relation to some clustering software. Right?


    Bruce Perens

  • Why did you expect ESR to reply? I specifically asked for Bruce's input since I have known him to read and post on slashdot, and since this story directly mentioned him.

  • I certainly hope people recognize this as the troll it is, as these numbers are the most ludicrous fabrications I've ever seen.
    Brandon Hume
    hume -> BOFH.Halifax.NS.Ca, http://WWW.BOFH.Halifax.NS.Ca/
  • by criticalrealist ( 111008 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @07:17AM (#1516744) Homepage
    Much of this might seem baffling to Slashdot community. Here is kind of a breakdown (in my view) on the situation.

    (1) Novell NetWare is IMHO an excellent NOS (network operating system) for file and print serving. Starting with NetWare 5, Novell is attempting to crack the application server market (currently owned by midrange systems, NT, and *nix). The programming environment they now focus on is Java. The current head of Novell, Eric Schmidt, came from Sun's Javasoft division.

    (2) A while back Novell announced "Wolf Mountain" clustering technology. Soon after, a new company called "Wolfpack" announced 3rd party clustering technology for NetWare. Novell sued Wolfpack for stealing trade secrets. It turns out that a number of key Novell developers had formed Wolfpack.

    (3) A court ordered Wolfpack to stop some activities and change their name. Their new name was Timpanogas (dot com).

    (4) Novell has a large market share in NOS software. They also own the directory market with NDS. Their best product is NDS. It allows sharing of user data between OS's, including NetWare and NT. The practical benefit of NDS is having one username/one password between many systems. NDS is a very secure system. I don't know if it's ever been cracked.

    (5) NT has increasingly challenged NetWare's market share. And Linux now challenges NetWare and NT's market share.

    (6) To address NT's shortcoming in directory services, Windows 2000 will include "Active Directory." It's likely the technology will suck rocks for years. It's taken Novell 10 years to get NDS right. But due to Microsoft's market presence, Active Directory will probably be a big hit.

    (7) Linux has no directory service. Except Kerberos, and that is too complicated for ordinary mortals. NDS is available for some *nix's, like Solaris.

    (8) Timpanogas is releasing a lot of open source NetWare compatible software for Linux. This is most likely making the Novell people angry.

    (9) Novell may release enough of NDS to make an open source NDS client for Linux. They might also sell a commercial NDS server for Linux. But they are an old school proprietary software company. They will never open source the whole of NDS (IMHO).

    (10) For many years, Novell's share price (NOVL) foundered. Then Eric Schmidt took over and the share price took off like a rocket. But Novell declined to open source NDS, Microsoft announced Active Directory, and Novell's share price quickly died off.

    (11) Conclusion: Novell is dead unless they open source all of NDS and become a services company. Linux desperately needs a good open source or GPL based directory project that is administrable by non-immortals.

    (12)An assumption. IMHO, Linux should focus on workstations, handhelds, and basically the client side. Figuring out the high end can come later. That would basically follow Microsoft's path to success. (Low end first, then high end.)

    Go Linux!!!

  • by Bitscape ( 7378 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @07:24AM (#1516746) Homepage
    I agree. The Sun licenses are a joke. Earlier this year, when I was working on a Java project, I discovered (surprise, surprise!) a bug which made the JDK unusable (It was spitting out errors about missing symbols). After discovering that the only problem was that it had been linked against an old version of glibc, I went to blackdown's page in search of the source tarball so I could compile it myself and be on my merry way. Such a tarball was no where to be found.

    After some poking around, deep within one of the FAQ's, I found a question about getting the source. "At last!" I thought. But it was not to be. The doc only had a link to a form deep within Sun's web page, which required you to fill out a whole ton of crap, and promised they would review your application and send snail mail sometime in the near future. Unfortunately, I needed to get working on things ASAP. Waiting for a pointless beauracracy was not on the agenda.

    In fairness, I should also state that I had procrastinated the project (it was for a class) far longer than I should have. It was one of those night-before-the-assignment-is-due things. Had I been able to get the JDK working, I would have been able to finish it though. As it was, my grade took a big hit.

    So, I guess the moral of the story is: don't rely on Sun, use a REAL Open Source alternative whenever possible, and get going on projects before the last second. ;)

    BTW, Sun has the right to release things under whatever crappy license from hell they want, but I wouldn't recommend encouraging it by patronizing them.

Happiness is twin floppies.