The founder of Debian GNU/Linux, chair of the Linux Standards Base and outgoing CTO of the Linux Foundation, Ian Murdock has joined Sun Microsystems as Chief Operating Platforms Officer. Sun's Chief Open Source Officer announced the news on his blog today.
Sun Microsystems has become a "patron" sponsor of the Free Software Foundation, the organization founded by Richard Stallman that ultimately spawned the open-source software movement.
When it comes to open sourcing Solaris and Java, patents and politics are leading Sun toward a change of heart.
The question is which open source licence should govern the building of projects out of the company's technology crown jewels. The open source Solaris project began with a Community Development and Distribution License (CDDL), and open source Java employs version 2 of the General Public License (GPL).
Reaction to the Free Software Foundation's upcoming revision of the GNU Public License (GPLv3) has been mixed so far, with many participants taking a wait-and-see attitude while others (such as Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds) actively opposing certain provisions. Now Sun has apparently decided to put its weight squarely behind the FSF and GPLv3. The reasons may not be as pure as you think.
Sun Microsystems Inc. is adding support services for its Solaris operating system on x86 platforms in a bid to compete with burgeoning Linux distributions.
In the words of Sun's chief open-source officer Simon Phipps:
Over the last few weeks, I have had a few people ask me why Sun didn't choose GPL v3 for Freeing the Java platform. "Does this mean you're siding with Linus?" they have asked me. "You must be," they have said, "because you chose 'GPL v2 only' rather than 'GPLv2 or any later version' as the license for the Java platform, preventing automatic use of GPL v3. You must be critical of it."
Those conclusions are not true at all. The answers are actually pretty straightforward, and when I discussed this matter with Richard Stallman he actually agreed we were making an acceptable choice here. I'll explain.
Sun's chief open-source officer has backed the third version of the General Public License.
On a company blog, Simon Phipps said that existing work towards GPLv3 had been "extraordinary and effective" and that he is "frankly amazed by the criticisms."
Sun Microsystems and Canonical have nearly completed work to certify that the Ubuntu version of Linux runs smoothly on Sun's x86 servers, sources familiar with the situation said.