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Feed: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Oct 07, 1999, 21:29 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Clay Shirky)

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"IF IMITATION IS the sincerest form of flattery, the Open Source movement should be blushing from head to toe by now. Its most recent admirer is Sun Microsystems, who has just announced that it will make the source code to its Solaris operating system available under something it calls a "Community Source" license. In making such a bold move (Solaris is their core product) Sun is embracing everything that has made the Open Source movement such a success. Everything, that is, except that bit about opening up their source code."

"Sun is attempting a quasi-Open Source move because while they want what Linux has (an army of talented developers working for free) they also want what Linux doesn't have (commercial control, patents on intellectual property, and a steady stream of income). They are trying to split the difference by creating a license which only allows you access to Solaris source code if you promise not to make any money from it, and only if you agree to co-ordinate any changes you make with Sun. In order to stave off criticism of these restrictions (which don't exist under real Open Source licenses), Sun has wrapped itself in the flag of community -- after all, what could possibly be wrong with a "Community Source" license?"

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