7.26.2007

What is Sun hiding?

Why is Sun Microsystems so afraid to let the Java community look at the license agreement for the Java SE 5 Java Compatibility Kit? The JCK is the test suite that third parties, such as the Apache Software Foundation, must use to demonstrate that their implementations of the Java SE virtual machine meet the specs.

Apache claims that the JCK license agreements contain terms, called "field of use restrictions," that place limits on how people can use the software tested by the TCK. If this is true, then if Apache were to agree to Sun's license conditions, its license would have to require that people who use its Harmony JVM agree not to use that JVM in a way that Sun doesn't approve.

But does the JCK actually contain field of use restrictions—and if so, what precisely do those restrictions restrict? Sun refuses to say, insisting that the JCK license is confidential and proprietary.

Remember, we're not talking about the JCK itself. We're talking about the license for the JCK.

Last week, SD Times formally asked Sun to make a copy of the JCK license available to the Java community, so that we can all judge for ourselves if the license places unreasonable conditions on Apache or other licensees. Sun refused.

"The licenses are confidential and we are unable to accommodate your request. All public information is available on each of the JSR pages on the JCP.org site," replied Jacquelyn Decoster, a spokesperson for the Java Community Process Program Management Office (JCP PMO). Some community, eh?

Following up that terse message, we sent her a series of questions about the JCK—at least, if Sun wouldn't release the license terms, maybe they'd discuss it? We asked, for example, "Are the allegations by Apache (in the open letter) regarding the field of use conditions in the JCK license factually accurate? If they are not accurate, how can Sun demonstrate this to SD Times and to the Java community?"

We also asked if Sun derives a competitive advantage from keeping the JCK license secret—and if not, why is it confidential?

So far, Decoster only says, "I haven't gotten any more specific answers for you."

SD Times also asked Sun to comment on what Intel wrote in its vote on JSR 316 (Java EE 6): "The Spec Lead has told us there are no 'field of use restrictions' on implementations for this particular JSR." We asked, "Can you confirm or deny the accuracy of Intel's comment, that the spec lead told Intel that Sun will not include field of use restrictions in the Java EE 6 licenses? Can you comment on whether Sun stands behind what the spec lead allegedly told Intel?"

No comment from Sun. We wonder what the JCP PMO is hiding.

7.19.2007

What's a field of use restriction?

I have been asked to be more explicit about the 'field of use restriction' cited in my earlier posting. To be honest, I can't be — yet.

The field of use restriction that Apache is talking about is part of the TCK for JSR 176. That is, the technology compatibility kit that anyone who claims to properly implement Java SE 5 must run (and pass).

In order to gain access to that TCK, organizations like IBM or Apache must execute a specific TCK license agreement with Sun. According to Apache, that license agreement places restrictions on how the software tested with that TCK (in this case, an implementation of Java SE 5) can be used.

A challenge is that I don't have a copy of the TCK license agreement for JSR 176, so I can't see the field of use language; Sun considers it a proprietary document. (Apache is prohibited from sharing it with me either.) So, that leaves journalists, analysts, outside experts and the greater Java community to consider Apache's claims without having access to the source document.

The closest we can come (so far) to seeing what Sun actually requires is the following Q&A in an Apache FAQ document:

Q : What is a "field of use" restriction?

A : A "field of use" restriction is a restriction that limits how a user can use a given piece of software, either directly or indirectly. To give a concrete example from the Sun / Apache dispute, if Apache accepted Sun's terms, then users of a standard, tested build of Apache Harmony for Linux on a standard general purpose x86-based computer (for example, a Dell desktop) would be prevented from freely using that software and that hardware in any application where the computer was placed in an enclosed cabinet, like an information kiosk at a shopping mall, or an X-ray machine at an airport.

I have formally asked Sun to provide SD Times a copy of the TCK license agreement for JSR 176. It is in the public interest to make the text of this license available to the entire Java community, including the media. Restricting access to the contract is contrary to the spirit of community software development. Let's see how Sun responds.

Sun needs to get its licensing act together

There's a debate going on in the Java community regarding the licensing terms for technology compatibility kits. It's not a new debate—the Apache Software Foundation published an open letter on the subject back in April, complaining about the so-called field of use restrictions that Sun places on its Java Compatibility Kits.

The JCKs are the tests that third parties, including open source groups like Apache, need in order to demonstrate that their implementation of Java specs meet the requirements of those specifications.

Sun's field of use language requires licensees to restrict how their customers deploy the software tested by the JCKs. As you can imagine, that's ridiculous when applied to open source software. As Apache correctly points out, those restrictions not only are hostile to Sun's public promises to support open standards, but also violate Sun's own Java Specification Participation Agreement, the bilateral contracts between Sun and other companies that let them into the Java Community Process.

To date, Sun has refused any meaningful comment about the field of use restrictions, or address the concerns expressed about them by Apache. And now, it looks like the issue's coming to the fore. The first major JCP spec to come to a vote since Apache's open letter is the ballot for the creation of JSR 316, the super-important Java EE 6 specification. The ballot passed, but it was not unanimous—even though the spec leads apparently pledged not to impose field of use restrictions on Java EE 6's JCK.

Apache voted against, charging that "this spec lead—Sun—is in violation of the JSPA and therefore shouldn't be allowed to start another JSR until the above matter is resolved."

While everyone else voted in favor (well, Borland didn't vote), several Executive Committee member companies referred to the license issue in their official vote comments.

Big Blue wrote, "IBM's vote is based on the technical merits of this JSR and is not a vote on the licensing terms. IBM supports licensing models that create an open and level playing field by allowing third parties to create independent implementations of Java Specifications and that do not allow individuals or companies to exercise unnecessary control for proprietary advantage."

Intel said, "The Spec Lead has told us there are no 'field of use restrictions' on implementations for this particular JSR. The Apache open letter about Java SE claimed that a confidential license for a required JCP test suite restricts how Independent Implementations of that JCP spec can be used. Licenses to test for JCP compatibility must not be used to limit or restrict competing, compatible implementations; licenses containing such limitations do not meet the requirements of the JSPA, the agreement under which the JCP operates. For every JCP ballot, we will ask the Spec Lead whether such restrictions exist in their license."

And Red Hat wrote, "The spec lead of the EE6 specification has confirmed that the EE6 TCK would contain no 'field of use restrictions,' as originally raised by Apache with regard to another JSR (i.e. the SE TCK licensing). That is a good thing. However, in the absence of an explicit JSPA rule that would forbid such field-of-use restrictions, we will remain worried that a similar issue might resurface anytime, for any JSR. Consequently, in the future, for any submitted JSR (by SUNW or not), we will specifically expect the spec lead to provide clear information on that aspect and take the answer in account when casting our vote."

It is long past time when Sun needs to publicly and openly address the "field of use" issue—and either satisfactorily explain why it imposes such restrictions in violation of the JSPA, or drop such restrictions from all past, present and future JSRs immediately.

7.18.2007

Software evangelism for dummies

Well, not for dummies — for enthusiasts! You may recall my comments about Guy Kawasaki's keynote address at the Salesforce Developer Conference, where I described him as "the funniest entrepreneur." But whether he's a CEO or venture capitalist, Guy is, ultimately, a software evangelist.

Last month, as a follow-up, I interviewed Guy, asking for advice for budding software evangelists, as well as for software development managers who would like to work more successfully with their organizations' evangelists. The interview, "Software Evangelism in 10 Steps," was published in the July 15 issue of SD Times, and I hope you enjoy it.

Have you listened to SD Times lately?

Last week, Dave Rubinstein chatted with Forrester Research senior analyst Carey Schwaber about Microsoft's three-pronged product announcement for 2008, IBM's patent play and what "release management" means to different groups within an organization.

Before that, the SD Times e-in-c talked to Rob Enderle, Enderle Group principal analyst, about the iPhone phenomenon and the platform it hopes to become, and the "non-event" Enderle calls the release of the GPL version 3.

In previous weeks, Dave interviewed Yankee Group's Laura DiDio, OnStrategies' Tony Baer and Gartner's Mark Driver.

You'll find all that, and more, in SD Times Week in Review, an exciting new podcast from BZ Media. Listen to streaming audio, download the files, or subscribe to the Week in Review RSS feed. When the analysts talk, SD Times listens!

7.17.2007

It's Appreciate Your Test Team Day!

Well, it's not really "Appreciate Your Test Team Day," but if you read Edward Correia's latest Test & QA Report newsletter story, you'd think it should be.

Eddie really hit the ball out of the park with his essay, "QA Teams — Underappreciated But Seldom Understood." A number of readers have already commented that he nailed an important issue. One person wrote in:

Your July 17th article by Edward J. Correia is such a breath of fresh air!!! One reason I highly value my current solo work is the accurate description of inside political scenarios he described. You got my creative juices stirred up for possible ways to overcome the barriers. I think this is a function (encouraging cross-communication) HR reps can and should have as a part of their strategic job description. Ultimately, the QA has to do it, though.

Testers and QA teams are at the heart of successful new product development and ongoing improvement. Some might say, 'that goes without saying', but it doesn't seem that way when you are the one doing the job. (I am a good documenter, but a poor tester, but that may have been different had there been more cross-silo interaction.)

Read Eddie's column — and forward the link to your development staff and other software stakeholders.

7.13.2007

COBOL consolidation

Sometimes something happens, and you just miss it. That's the case when Micro Focus quietly purchased Acucorp two months ago.

Micro Focus and Acucorp are among the few remaining providers of COBOL tools and runtimes. Micro Focus was by far the larger and more successful company. Its fiscal 2006 revenue was around US$170 million; Acucorp was about 1/10 its size.

The purchase, which was mentioned along with Micro Focus' financial results, was for $40.7 million, not a bad price.

But what's going to happen next? It would be fair to expect that the product lines would be consolidated, and that users of Acucorp's Extend system will be eventually migrated to Micro Focus' COBOL technology. However, it does appear that the forthcoming Extend 8 will appear later this year, as scheduled.

Even so, Acucorp customers should be worried about the longevity of their platform. When announcing the purchase, Micro Focus said, "Following the acquisition, Micro Focus plans to restructure the business and aims to increase margins over time to a level consistent with Micro Focus' existing business."

How do you increase margins of a software business? Two ways:

• Increase the revenue from the product line
• Decrease the cost of the product line

Increasing the revenue would imply raising prices, or increasing the volume of products sold. While possible, I don't think that's likely. Instead, I expect Micro Focus to decrease cost by paring back development of future products in the Acucorp line, beyond any specific technology they need, and pursue an aggressive program to swiftly migrate customers to Micro Focus products instead.

In other words, Micro Focus will benefit from the acquisition primarily by taking its major competitor out of the market.

Of course, there are other players in this industry: One of the most interesting, technologically, is NetCOBOL, from Fujitsu, which targets .NET servers. Still, given that very few new projects are started in COBOL, consolidation is inevitable.

7.12.2007

Oracle takes the database lead


With the release of the Oracle Database 11g beta yesterday, Oracle pulls ahead in the War of the Giant Enterprise Databases. With all respect to all the enterprise database companies, the four main contenders remain, in alphabetical order, IBM with DB2, Microsoft with SQL Server, newcomer MySQL, and Oracle. Yes, there are lots of other great enterprise databases. But at the top tier, both technologically and in market share, the big four stand alone.

Well, actually, IBM and Oracle stand alone. SQL Server (working up from its small-business origins) is half a step behind. It's catching up fast, but because it's architecturally limited to one operating system and one hardware architecture, it won't scale to giant servers; even the forthcoming SQL Server 2008 won't make it into the very top rung. And while MySQL is maturing fast, there's functionality that it still needs to develop before it takes down Oracle.

Compared with IBM, Oracle has been the clear top innovator in enterprise database technology for the past half-decade. Take the release of Oracle 10g—nothing came close to what Oracle offered for supporting grids. That gave enterprises a real choice between scale-up and scale-out—or both—without changing databases. Now, with Oracle 11g, the ante is raised higher, with much richer (and faster) support for XML data, really strong security and crypto, embedded OLAP capabilities, and a very rich set of programming interfaces. DB2 is now, in my humble opinion, squarely in catch-up mode.

For those of us in the technology press, it's been easy to forget about how powerful Oracle's core technology is. Unlike IBM, which sticks to its knitting, and Microsoft, which talks a lot about SQL Server, Oracle seems to go out of its way to talk about everything except its database. The high-profile hostile takeovers and the associated push toward applications have succeeded in transforming Oracle into an ERP/CRM company, not a database company.

Yet, let us not forget that Oracle actually is a database company, with a number of other products that, essentially, are database applications. If you're looking for a commercial database to run on huge servers from companies like HP and Sun, you're talking to Oracle. If you need to scale bigger than SQL Server, you're talking to Oracle. If you want technology more advanced than IBM's DB2, you're talking to Oracle.

By the way, BZ Research just completed a study into database software. We'll be publishing some of the results in the Aug. 1 issue of SD Times. But here's a sneak preview: In terms of market share, the top entries are SQL Server, in use at 74.7% of companies; Oracle, 54.5%; Microsoft Access, 54.4%; MySQL, 43.4%; DB2, 23.5%; and PostgreSQL, 11.2%. Note that this data is for database usage of all scales, and wasn't limited to asking about giant, bet-your-company databases.

7.05.2007

Dying harder, seven clicks at a time

Last night, we want to see the new action movie, “Live Free or Die Hard,” the fourth movie in the Bruce Willis “Die Hard” series. All of the movies in this series have been well done, but this installment was the most fun, mainly because the plot had to do with rogue hackers. I always enjoy hacker movies.

Fortunately, the producers of this movie avoided one of most egregious clich├ęs, which is having typewriter, teletype or other lame sound effects accompany the slow display of text on a computer screen. However, there were plenty of other elements to make one laugh.

I’m trying not to give away spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to stop reading.

1. Backup. At one point, there’s an entire secure complex that’s filled with rack after rack of super-high-end servers. It is presented as plausible that the entire facility could be “downloaded” into a portable hard drive. Even with the new terabyte drives, a suitcase full of hard drives shouldn’t be able to back up the entire contents of a major secure data center – even though the facility does have a convenient FireWire port.

2. Downloads. Why, oh why, when data is being “downloaded,” does the contents of the files stream across the screen, complete with still images of all the graphics files?

3. Storage. In that data center, at one point someone opens up a cover – and reveals a row of spinning hard drive platters. Can you say “head crash”? Sure, it looks neat, but exposed drive internals aren't very practical.

4. Satellites. The good hacker (Justin Long, the “I’m a Mac” guy) takes an off-the-shelf cell phone (well, it was a PDA of some sort), which is offline because the local cellular network has crashed. But with just a few keystrokes, he reprograms it to become a working satellite phone. Yeah, right.

5. I'm In. Hackers in movies and TV shows are universally able to break into a system by grabbing any keyboard (or in this case, by plugging in a folding keyboard) and typing just a few characters. And then they universally exclaim to all and sundry, “I’m in!” Carrying out any random nefarious instruction from "the boss" is just a matter of a few keystrokes after that.

6. Networks. Every system in the world is seemingly connected to every system, so that hackers can, for example, view what’s happening in an elevator’s security camera, open the traffic-control gates on a highway, display the power consumption of a remote data center, steal military access codes, activate a turned-off PC video camera, or take over a local police radio system, all from one workstation, with just a few clicks of a mouse.

7. User interfaces. I don’t know which dev and admin tools are used in movie computers, but not only can hackers create/deliver sophisticated viruses, logic bombs and encryption locks with just a few keystrokes, but those apps also include complex user interfaces, with spinning numbers, animated graphics, sound effects and more. How do they do that? Visual Studio? Eclipse? Xcode? No – they’re usually typing at a command prompt.

Summer popcorn movies. Gotta love 'em.

eFax customer disservice, part 2

As mentioned in Part 1, my wife asked me to cancel her eFax account, and it seems that the only way to do that is to telephone the company or engage in a live chat. This is unacceptable: I was able to sign up for the account entirely online, why can’t I cancel the same way I signed up?

Step 3: Contact via live chat. Result: Success, we hope.

In any case, I did the live chat. Here’s a verbatim transcript. Note that “Howard P.” sent back his responses in far less time than it would take to type them. Don’t you love boilerplate customer service?

Welcome to chat.
The session has been accepted.

{Carole Zeichick} Hello?

{Howard P.} Hello, Carole. Welcome to j2 Global online support. I am Howard, your online Live Support Representative. How may I assist you?

{Carole Zeichick} Hello. Please cancel my account, ##########

{Howard P.} I am sorry to hear that you wish to cancel. Can you please provide me with the PIN for verification?

{Carole Zeichick} ####

{Howard P.} Thank you for providing your information. Please give me a moment while I go through your records. In the meantime, please type the number corresponding to your reason for cancellation:

1) Moving to another provider
2) Bought a Fax machine
3) Business or role changed
4) Short term project completed
5) Financial reasons
6) Problems with Faxing or Billing
7) Dissatisfied with Quality of service
8) Too Costly

{Carole Zeichick} 9 - Because I want to cancel

{Howard P.} I understand that you may not be using our service much at this time, but in the long run, it is always helpful to have a faxing service at hand, as you never know when the need for it may arise.

In the current situation as a special consideration we will waive off the monthly fee for two months. You can use the fax service with no monthly fee for the next two billing cycles. Please feel free to contact us at any time. This way you will be able to keep your local fax number, which will enable you to send and receive any pending faxes with your number.

{Howard P.} Your eFax account will be credited with $33.90 so that you may utilize our services without being billed our monthly fee for the next two billing cycles.

{Howard P.} Since you will not be charged any monthly fees for the next two months you may keep the account till then. If at all you find that you need our services during this period, then you will still have the account. If however, you still feel that you do not have any use for our services by the end of the two months credit period, then you can get back to us back anytime.

{Carole Zeichick} Please cancel the account.

{Howard P.} Carole, I completely understand your wish to discontinue, since you have already paid for the month, I suggest you to retain this number at least till the end of two months credit offer as you will not be charged any monthly fee for the next two months.

{Howard P.} As a goodwill gesture for our further association, I would also provide you with an additional gift usage balance of $10.00 with which you can send up to 100 pages of faxes for free (per page per minute within US & Canada) along with the monthly credit.

{Howard P.} All you need to do is to just contact us once at the end of your 2 months credit period. There is certainly no obligation to stay back with our service. Since we are available here 24 x 7, you will have no problem in contacting us. We will process your request immediately without any further delay.

{Carole Zeichick} Please cancel the account (third time that I've asked this)

{Howard P.} Okay, I understand and respect your decision for cancellation. I will cancel your account with us immediately.

{Howard P.} Is there anything else that I can assist you with at this time?

{Carole Zeichick} You're doing a good job cutting/pasting the boilerplate, but just cancel the account.

{Howard P.} As stated above, your account has been canceled.

{Howard P.} Anything else I can assist you with.

{Carole Zeichick} No, thank you.

{Howard P.} We would appreciate if you could spare a minute in filling the survey form as it would give us your valuable feedback which would help us to improve our services. Here is the link where you can fill the Survey.
http://www.endusersurvey.com/default.asp?project_code=j2cxlc&code=5060

{Howard P.} We are sorry that you have decided to leave eFax, but if your faxing needs do change in the future, we would be more than happy to have you back. Thank you for being with us and for using our service. Goodbye and take care!

In retrospect, I should have let "Howard P." keep making offers; we might have ended up with a set of Ginsu knives or something.

eFax customer disservice, part 1

My wife, Carole, had been using an eFax account for a few years, but decided to it just wasn’t worth continuing. She asked me to cancel it for her, since I was the one who set it up in the first place. Sounds easy, right? Of course not.

Step 1: Try to go through the Web site. Result: Failure.

After browsing to their Web site, I logged into the account, with her e-mail address and PIN, and look all around for “cancel” options. There were none. So, I did a search on their online help under the word cancel, and here’s what they say:

How to Cancel your eFax Account

If you are considering cancelling your eFax account because you are having a problem using the service, keep in mind that the solutions to many common problems can be found in this "Help" section.

If our online help is insufficient or you wish to cancel your eFax account for another reason, please click the blue "Chat Now" button below or click HERE and a Customer Service representative will assist you. Please note that your account should not be considered cancelled until so confirmed by Customer Service.

Step 2: Contact via e-mail. Result: Failure.

Not wanting to telephone or chat, I decided to send them an e-mail, which I did from my wife’s account. It was hard to find an e-mail address, by the way; there’s none listed under their “contact us” tab. Finally, I found one: help@mail.efax.com, and wrote a simple message: “Please cancel my account and send a confirmation."

I received a response back from a guy who signed himself Alvin F., but whose return e-mail address was CS - Tier 1 - India (Email), who replied,

In order to cancel your account, please contact us at 1-323-817-3205,
or by visiting our Live Chat service, at
https://www.efax.com/en/efax/twa/page/chat where a Customer Service
representative will assist you in the cancellation process. We are
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Not interested in doing a phone call, I (feeling slightly annoyed), decided to try their chat line. See the transcript in Part 2.

7.02.2007

The Europa, iPhone and GPLv3 Trifecta

Last week was a big one for technology enthusiasts and software developers.

The Eclipse Foundation shipped Europa, the huge simultaneous upgrade/release of 21 open-source projects. Apple shipped the iPhone, its groundbreaking multi-purpose mobile device. And the Free Software Foundation updated its General Public License for open source software to v3.

What do each of these seemingly unrelated events have in common, other than their appearance during the last week in June? Plenty.

First: Each of these new releases was planned very visibly, and each was eagerly anticipated.

• There have been a myriad betas of each Eclipse project, and many developers were already working with early code.

• High-paid corporate lawyers, armchair lawyers, software experts, entrepreneurs and technology pundits have publicly debated every inch of each GPLv3 draft.

• The hype around the iPhone reminded me of nothing less than Windows 95, where people stood in line at midnight to receive their devices.

Second: The actual impact of each of these releases will be big – but we don’t know how big.

• The Eclipse Europa release is part of a consistent annual cycle of software updates. It's anchored by version 3.3 of the IDE, which has strong incremental improvements. Changes to other projects vary from significant to esoteric. The Eclipse Foundation, in its press release promoting Europa, highlighted nine of the projects with such language as “The Eclipse Modeling project has updated the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) to support Java 5 generics, allowing for creation and management of more complex and flexible data models.” Despite this bland description, the Europa release demonstrates that Eclipse has legs.

• While not perfect, the iPhone is technologically impressive. I’m not going to buy one until my carrier offers it (I refuse to switch mobile carriers in order to use a specific handset). Hype aside, what’s significant about the iPhone is that it’s the first truly user-friendly device to have a real browser, and real full-time connectivity. Expect to see many other similar “no compromises” mobile devices, not only from Apple, but also from Microsoft, Symbian, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, RIM and other players. What the iPhone enthusiasm means, beyond that Apple is unparalleled at marketing, is that people want those “no compromises” devices, and they want them to be easy to use.

• GPLv3’s potential impact on the open source movement does not depend on how many projects decide to migrate to it. The license offers enterprise customers and major software companies more confidence in the intellectual-property foundations behind open source software in general, and Linux in particular (if Linux goes to GPLv3, which is uncertain). This reinforced the message that open source is seriously business.

Third: Microsoft is not doing any of these technology breakthroughs.

This isn’t Windows 95, this isn’t the Xbox, this isn’t Windows Vista, this isn’t MSN. Also, note that today’s other big-hype company, Google, isn’t there either. That means that other companies beyond Microsoft and Google can innovate. But there is going to be a Microsoft response to each of these, you can count on it.

• The primary motivation behind Eclipse is to help is member companies (such as IBM, Oracle and BEA) save money by collaborating on their toolchains. However, you can’t look at the cross-platform Eclipse without viewing it as the primary competitor to Microsoft’s Visual Studio. While Microsoft has never challenged Eclipse directly, it’s clear that Bill & Co. must view it as a threat. After all, Microsoft knows that developers are incredibly influential when it comes to deployment platforms, particularly on the back end. Every developer who chooses to build server apps using Eclipse instead of VS is potentially denying Microsoft a place in corporate data center for Windows and Windows Server apps. Expect Microsoft to respond sooner or later. It may not be soon, but Microsoft can't keep ignoring Eclipse.

• The iPhone dovetails nicely with Apple’s iTunes service and iPod music player. On the surface, doesn’t compete with anything strategic from Microsoft, whose MSN Music service and Zune music players are minor players. However, Microsoft is trying to be a big kahuna in the phone market, with Windows CE, Windows Mobile and Windows Smartphone. It’s not just about phones: Microsoft wants to supply clients end-to-end, from desktops to tablet to phone, tying them together with Windows servers and MSN services, all programmed through Visual Studio. The iPhone is a threat on Microsoft's own turf. Expect Microsoft to respond as soon as the hype has calmed down. I expect to see a Microsoft announcement this summer.

• GPLv3 was inspired, in part, by some longstanding holes in GPLv2. But it was also inspired by Microsoft’s threats against the open source movement, its attacks against Linux, and most recently, its IP-sharing agreements with major Linux distributors, namely Novell. In other words, Microsoft is attempting to compete against open source software by waving around its intellectual property portfolio, instead of competing on price, features and security. Microsoft has a huge number of well-paid lawyers. The open source movement does not. This is a problem for the open source movement; GPLv3 is an attempt to solve that problem. Since IANAL, I don’t know if GPLv3 will accomplish that goal. Expect Microsoft respond obliquely, by by spreading FUD about GPLv3 and open source in general.

About Me

My Photo
Co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. Founder of SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference, AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, and Big Data TechCon. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates, an IT consulting and analyst firm.