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LWN: The Solaris Trap

Oct 04, 1999, 17:11 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Sun has announced that the source code to Solaris - its proprietary version of Unix - will be released under the "Sun Community Source License." Much speculation has already happened regarding the effects that this release will have on Linux, but much of that overlooks a serious threat posed by this release. By creating the temptation to incorporate non-free code into parts of Linux, this release could open up the Linux community to a long and crippling series of intellectual property fights and lawsuits."

"On the face of it, the release of Solaris seems like a good thing. Solaris has its faults - nobody is likely to try to emulate its approach to modems and serial ports, for example - but it also has a lot of good features. Won't it be great to have all that code out there in the open?..."

"The problem, however, lies in the Sun Community Source License. The SCSL is not a free software license. It provides for three tiers of users, and imposes restrictions on all of them. Redistribution, in particular, is difficult, and commercial use requires that licensing fees be paid to Sun. To mix SCSL and GPL code, in particular, appears to be a violation of both licenses."

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