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Upside: Sun spells out new license: G-P-L

Jul 20, 2000, 11:23 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Williams)

"As news events go, Sun Microsystems (SUNW) vice president Marco Boerries' 15-minute post-keynote speech today at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference here had about as much shock value as a summer rerun."

"Thanks to some aggressive hinting on Sun's part, not to mention the open source community's penchant for rumor-mongering (see this Slashdot thread), Boerries' presence had been reduced to a mere formality within the past 72 hours. Still, given a chance to address the assembled development community, Boerries seemed to take special delight in spelling out his company's new licensing strategy for StarOffice, the network-based office productivity suite Sun purchased last year as a potential foil to market-leader Microsoft (MSFT) Office."

"Let me just say three letters: G-P-L," said Boerries, triggering a loud ovation. (For those not in the know, Boerries was speaking of the Gnu General Public License -- the license that protects the GNU/Linux operating system.)"

"While it may not have been a bombshell, the announcement did come with a touch of irony. One year ago, at the same conference, Sun co-founder Bill Joy diligently reaffirmed the corporate policy on open source software development. Citing both the complex issues associated with multiple software licenses and the presence of a "common enemy" -- Sun-speak for Microsoft -- Joy said it made more sense for Sun to stick with a single restrictive license -- the oft-criticized Sun Community Source License, or SCSL -- rather than cede control to the community."

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