June 14th, 2011 — Links
Apache OpenOffice.org proposal approved. SkySQL Tekes new funding. And more.
# The proposal for OpenOffice.org to become an Apache incubator project was unanimously approved.
# Rob Weir discussed how the relationship between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice need not be a zero-sum game.
# Simon Phipps offered his thoughts on the potential positive and negative outcomes.
# Tekes, the main public funding agency for research, development, and innovation in Finland, awarded SkySQL a grant of €250,000 and a loan of over €600,000.
# Opscode announced the general availability of Opscode Hosted Chef, formerly the Opscode Platform, and launched the Private Chef appliance.
# Infobright launched version 4.0 of its open source analytic database.
# Glyn Moody questioned whether we still need the FSF, GNU and the GPL.
# Cenatic published its analysis of the criteria for adopting open source software in public administrations.
# Nuxeo and Hippo announced a technology alliance through which they have built an ECM/WCM connector based on the OASIS CMIS standard.
# The VAR Guy wondered whether Canonical’s Ubuntu focus is too diverse.
# Sandro Groganz discussed what US-based open source vendors need to know about Europe.
# The Xen code for Dom0 has been accepted into the Linux mainline kernel.
# Brian Proffitt covered the two faces of UK open source.
# The VAR Guy encouraged Adobe to engage more with open source.
# Matt Asay pondered Red Hat’s potential to challenge Oracle with a database of its own.
February 8th, 2011 — Software
NoSQL vendors merge to form Couchbase. Funding for Basho and EnterpriseDB. And more.
Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca, and daily at Paper.li/caostheory
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”
# NoSQL vendors CouchOne and Membase merged to form Couchbase, create open source distributed document database.
# EnterpriseDB increased its most recent fundraising round from $7.5m to $13.6m.
# Basho Technologies raised $7.5m in series D funding, as Danish IT company Trifork acquired an 8% stake in the company and became the European distributor for Riak.
# The FSF and the OSI responded to the DOJ’s request for more info on the Novell/CPTN patent deal.
# Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is now available to the US federal government via Autonomic Resources.
# Gluster announced Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances for VMware and Amazon Web Services.
# Jaspersoft and SugarCRM announced a number of BI features available integrated with SugarCRM Pro or Enterprise.
# Novell is bundling SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability (HA) Extension with select HP systems.
# MuleSoft announced a private beta program for a new integration platform as a service called Mule iON.
# Actuate generated over $21.2m in BIRT-related business in 2010, bringing the total in the last 4 years to over $62.5m.
# Tuxera joined the Linux Foundation.
# Mandriva joined the Open Invention Network as licensee.
# Whamcloud entered into a partnership with Bull to accelerate the development of Lustre.
# VMware released Zimbra 7.
# DotNetNuke claimed to have tripled its customer base since the end of 2009 to over 1,000.
# Eric Baldeschwieler presented the backstory of Yahoo and Hadoop.
# Groklaw reported that UnXis has been selected as the buyer for the software product business of The SCO Group.
# Jason van Zyl maintained that Hudson has a bright future under Oracle, with Sonatype’s support.
January 21st, 2011 — Software
The OSI and FSF unite against CPTN. Appcelerator acquires Aptana. And more.
Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca, and daily at Paper.li/caostheory
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”
# The OSI and the FSF published a joint position statement on the proposed sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN. (PDF)
# Groklaw reported that another party might be interested in Novell’s patents “and maybe more”.
# The European Commission is not interested in investigating the sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN.
# Appcelerator acquired Aptana.
# Open source graph database vendor Sones raised a second round of funding. Reportedly $2.68m.
# Savio Rodrigues considered the impact of Amazon Elastic Beanstalk on the open source Java market.
# CloudBees introduced training for Hudson continuous integration server.
# ActiveState and Rogue Wave partnered to bring embeddable mathematical and statistical functionality to Python developers.
# DotNetNuke introduced support for Microsoft’s WebMatrix and Razor products.
# OpenERP launched OpenERP v6 with both on-site and SaaS versions.
# Convirture surpassed 45,000 downloads of ConVirt Open Source in 2010 and now counts more than 2,000 deployments.
# Black Duck added 169 new customers in 2010.
# Funambol introduced Funambol v9.
# KnowledgeTree grew customer acquisitions 215% in the fourth quarter.
# Joyent announced SmartDataCenter 6, the latest version of its cloud operating system.
# OpenLogic is now providing support for Talend’s community edition data integration software.
# SkySQL gathered 40 customers in its first 12 weeks, generated sales of seven figures.
# EnterpriseDB is making its SQL/Protect, PL/Secure and xDB Replication Server tools available for PostgreSQL.
# The Apache Software Foundation announced Apache Pivot 2.0.
# Sonatype released the results of a survey of 1,600 developers, architects and managers.
# A year after Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart reported on the status of the open source projects.
May 28th, 2010 — Links
Novell Linux revenue down in Q2. The FSF turns its attention to App Store. Google vs the OSI. And more.
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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”
# Novell reported Q2 Linux revenue down 4.1% YoY to $35m and open platform revenue down 4.8% to $37m. Total revenue down 5.4% to $204m. Novell’s Linux revenue was heavily impacted by discounts on Microsoft deals. Excluding that, Linux invoicing would have been up 46%.
# The FSF turned its GPL enforcement attention to Apple’s App Store, later shared more details on its complaint.
# Savio Rodrigues discussed the implications of Google’s WebM license on open source selection. The 451 CAOS Theory take, Google demands more openness from the Open Source Initiative, is here.
# Joe Brockmeier published the Spring 2010 Linux Distro Scorecard (parts one and two).
# The 451 Group’s Brenon Daly provided an update on potential bids for Novell.
# Former Red Hat CEO, Matthew Szulik, is also stepping down from his role as chairman.
# Alfresco released Enterprise Edition 3.3, including content services for Lotus, Outlook, Google Docs and Drupal.
# Version 1.0 of the MeeGo Linux distribution for netbooks is now available.
# GroundWork launched a new Quickstart Virtual Appliance based on CentOS.
# Canonical updated its Landscape systems management tool for Ubuntu.
July 20th, 2009 — Licensing, Linux, Software
Microsoft has announced that it is to contribute code to the Linux kernel development effort under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2. What on earth does it all mean? Here’s our take on the situation. With thanks to Jay Lyman for his contribution to the following:
Q. This is a joke, right?
A. Not at all, although if any announcement is better suited to the image above, we can’t think of one. Microsoft has announced that it is going to contribute code to Linux under the GPLv2.
Q. What code is Microsoft contributing?
A. Microsoft is offering 20,000 lines of its own device drivers to the Linux kernel that will enable Linux to run as a guest on its Hyper-V virtualization technology. Specifically, the contributed loadable kernel modules enable Linux to run in ‘enlightened mode’, giving it efficiencies equivalent to a Windows virtual machine running on Hyper-V.
Q. Why is Microsoft doing this?
A. Red Hat and Novell’s Linux distributions already support enlightened mode, thanks to the development work done by both in partnership with Microsoft. One benefit for Microsoft of contributing to the kernel is that it reduces duplication of effort and the cost of supporting multiple, unique implementations of Linux. Once the code has been accepted into the kernel, Microsoft will use the kernel tree code as the basis for future virtualization integration development.
It also means that community Linux distributions will be able to use the code, which opens up more opportunities for Microsoft in the hosting market, where adoption of community Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS is significant. It also therefore slightly strengthens the challenge those community operating systems can make to Red Hat and Novell, which are more direct commercial challengers to Windows.
Make no mistake about it, Microsoft’s contribution is driven by its own interests. While it must serve and respond to enterprise customers that continue to drive the use of multiple operating systems and mixed environments, Microsoft also benefits by differentiating its Hyper-V virtualization technology from virtualization leader VMware. We believe Microsoft sees an opportunity to make virtualization with Windows more Linux-friendly than VMware.
Q. What’s in it for Linux?
A. The interoperability benefits previously reserved for ‘approved’ Microsoft partners will now be available licensed under the GPLv2, and available for all Linux distributions – commercial or community – without the need for a formal partnership.
The contribution of device drivers to the Linux kernel as been a sticking point for the Linux development community in the past as developers have struggled to encourage vendors to contribute driver code to the kernel. Microsoft is therefore setting something of a precedent and could encourage other vendors that have been reticent to contribute their drivers to do so.
The seal of approval Microsoft has given to the GPLv2 is also not to be overlooked. If Microsoft can find a way to contribute to Linux projects, many other organisations may also be encouraged to do so.
Q. I guess Linux is no longer “a cancer” then?
A. Exactly. Back in 2001 Steve Ballmer told the Chicago Sun-Times* “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That’s the way that the license works.”
Reviewing the statement in the context of today’s announcement demonstrates how much progress Microsoft has made in the intervening years to understand open source licenses. Contribution to Linux, or to any other project under the GPL, would have been unthinkable at the time, and is still barely believable today. The announcement is likely to challenge perceptions of Microsoft’s strategy when it comes to open source, Linux and the most popular open source license.
*The original article is no longer available online. Plenty of references are still available, however.
Q. What does this say about Microsoft’s overall strategy towards open source?
A. The contribution is a significant sign that Microsoft is now prepared to participate with open source projects on their own terms by using the chosen license of that project and making contributions directly to the chosen development forge of that project. Microsoft continues to use its own CodePlex project hosting site for code releases, but if an existing open source project uses SourceForge then Microsoft has acknowledged that the best way to engage with that community is on SourceForge. Don’t expect this to be the last contribution Microsoft does under the GPL.
Microsoft is now becoming more proactive in how it engages with open source under a strategy it describes as ‘Open Edge’ (which we have previously mentioned here and here. Whereas Open Core is used by commercial open source vendors to offer proprietary extensions to open source code, Open Edge is Microsoft’s strategy to encourage open source development and application deployment on top of its suite of commercial software: Windows, Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL Server etc.
The Open Edge strategy is rooted in attempting to ensure Microsoft’s commercial products continue to be relevant to the ecosystem of developers and partners that the company has attracted to its software platform. It is also a continuation of the realization that if customers and developers are going to use open source software, Microsoft is more likely to retain those customers if it helps them use open source on Windows et al.
For more details on Microsoft’s strategy towards open source, its partnerships with open source vendors, and its contributions to open source projects, see The 451 Group’s formal report on the contribution to Linux (the report will shortly be available via this link ).
Q. How is the contribution to the Linux kernel being handled?
A. The contribution is being made via an alliance with the Linux Kernel Driver Project and its maintainer, Greg Kroah-Hartman, who will steward the contribution into the Linux kernel code base. (Greg has a post up about it here).
Q. What are the intellectual property issues?
A. The copyright for the code will remain with Microsoft, with the contributor credit going to its engineering lead, Hank Janssen, group program manager at Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center.
Q. And patents?
A. If we were putting money on the most likely conspiracy theory to emerge in response to this news it would be that this is a Trojan horse and Microsoft is contributing code to Linux that it will later claim patent rights over. Whether that is even theoretically possible depends on your understanding of the GPLv2.
The GPLv2 contains an implicit patent promise that some would say makes a Trojan horse impossible. However, the FSF obviously thought it necessary to introduce a more explicit patent promise with the GPLv3 to remove any doubt.
Ultimately this is a question for a lawyer, or an eloquence of lawyers (yes it is ironic, apparently). In the meantime, it is our understanding that Microsoft’s understanding is that contributing code using the GPLv2 includes a promise not to charge a royalty for, or assert any patents covering, the code being contributed.
Q. What about Microsoft’s prior claim that Linux infringes its patents?
A. Microsoft really dropped the ball on its communication of the suggestion that free software infringes over 200 of its patents, and tensions with free and open source software advocates are likely to continue to be tested by Linux-related patent agreements, such as the one struck with Melco Holdings last week, which have driven scepticism and mistrust of Microsoft among some key open source supporters.
Absent the company giving up on software patents altogether, we believe that in order to convince those FOSS advocates that it is serious about co-existence, Microsoft needs to find a way to publicly communicate details about those 200+ patents in such a way that is not seen as a threat and would enable open source developers to license, work around, or challenge them. We also believe that the company is aware of this, although finding a solution to the problem will not be easy. But then neither was contributing code to Linux under the GPLv2.
UPDATE – It has subsequently become clear that there were two important questions that were not answered by our Q&A. Those have been covered by an addendum – UPDATE.
July 17th, 2009 — Links, Software
Sun shareholders approve Oracle deal. The un/importance of the GPL. And more.
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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”
Sun shareholders approve Oracle deal
As expected, Sun’s shareholders approved the proposed acquisition by Oracle, reportedly in the absence of Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz. Meanwhile people continue to be obsessed with Oracle killing things. If its not OpenSolaris then its Unbreakable Linux.
The un/importance of the GPL
Matt Asay speculated on Apache and the future of open-source licensing, in doing so referring to the GPL as “an alternative way to release proprietary software”. Needless to say that put the cat amongst the pigeons, with Glyn Moody stepping forward to explain why the GNU GPL still matters and Savio Rodrigues contemplating why open source vendors will continue to select the GPL. Meanwhile Benjamin Black reported on the failings of the GPL in the cloud era.
While we’re on the subject of open source licenses, Andrew Binstock argued that the OSI needs to consider licenses with defined limitations, while we pondered the theory of natural selection as it applies to license proliferation in the context of our recent long-form report, CAOS 12 – The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation.
Incidentally, on Tuesday, July 21 at 1:00pm EDT we will be hosting a webinar to discuss some of the findings from the report. Register here.
Best of the rest
# Matt Asay noted that Intel was second largest contributor to Linux in 08, just behind Red Hat.
# The FSF responded to Microsoft’s Mono patent promise, asking for a license for all patents Mono exercises.
# Mike Hogan explained how open source commoditizes itself.
# eWeek reported on how to bring open source software into the enterprise.
# I-CIO reported on how the French government leads the way in open source.
# Microsoft inked a patent agreement with the parent company of NAS vendor Buffalo, that relates to Linux.
# TDWI published a Q&A on “The Maturing Open Source Model”.
# MontaVista launched Android commercialization services offering.
# Bluenog responded to accusations that it has violated the Apache Software License.
# OStatic reported on how Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud strategies face open source challenges.
# CohesiveFT has added Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition and Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 to its Elastic Server platform.
# Carlo Daffara presented the different reasons for company code contributions.
# Forbes reported on why open source software flourishes in downturns.
# Open World Forum unveiled its Program for 2009.
# Accenture published a podcast titled Increase Flexibility at a Faster Pace and Lower Cost with Open Source.
# Dirk Riehle published a call for papers on Empirical Research Free/Libre Open Source Software.
# EOS reported on a “new” movie, called Code Rush, covering the release of the Netscape browser as open source.
May 26th, 2009 — Software
Although we did hear some battle alarms when the FSF sued networking and IT giant Cisco late last year, others (including me) anticipated a settlement along the lines of previous resolutions between free and open source software proponents and users/vendors that needed legal action to prompt compliance.
I was fortunate enough to speak with open source licensing and legal expert Larry Rosen recently (doing research for an upcoming CAOS report on which there will be more to tell soon) and get his take on this recent settlement. First he made the point, as most legal scholars do, that 99% of the time, settlement is the most desired, most effective way to end litigation, whichever end the involved parties are on. This was part of my reasoning that, similar to what we saw with Verizon, we would see a settlement from Cisco. However, Rosen raises the question of how and why it got to the point of a lawsuit in the first place when both parties are surely aware of where things should head?
The FSF and SFLC wish to raise the profile, prominence and recognition of open source licensing and they are effectively doing so with the series of suits they have launched and subsequently settled. However, would there be just as much credibility for open source software if these FOSS-supportive groups came out with announcements that they had avoided litigation with Company X following some fairly simple steps to bring them into compliance. Perhaps that was not possible without legal action, and I must offer my praise for the reasonable approach to settlement we’ve seen displayed.
I do think the FSF and SFLC have done a good job establishing that open source software licenses such as the GPL are not so foreign and are backed up by the law. However, I also wonder if the desire to establish some actual legal precedent in the U.S., as discussed previously on our blog, is contributing to the move to file lawsuits. This also serves to remind us that while open source software and the licenses that govern it have become far more accepted and common in the enterprise, there is certainly still some lack of awareness and need for education. Developers, vendors, users and distributors of open source software would be wise to educate themselves in the ‘classroom’ setting to avoid ending up in a ‘courtroom’ setting.
May 19th, 2009 — Links
Have Cisco and the FSF settled their lawsuit? Red Hat launches business rules management software. Talend goes massively parallel. And more.
Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory
# New Media Law reported that Cisco and FSF have settled their lawsuit.
# Red Hat launched JBoss Enterprise BRMS – business rules management,
# Talend introduced MPx integration suite for massively parallel data integration based on MapReduce.
# Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez and Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin explain their joint letter to American Law Institute.
# Tarus Balog provided some interesting insight on Nimsoft’s acquisition of Cittio.
# Are government procurement guidelines compatible with OSS? Dana Blankenhorn and James Dixon discuss.
# Matt Asay discussed cloud computing as the natural conclusion of open source.
# Black Duck announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide access to CodePlex projects via KnowledgeBase and Koders.com.
# Roberto Galoppini explained Alfresco’s business strategy while Josef Assad speculated about how greater community engagement would help Alfresco’s adoption in the European public sector.
# Canonical launched Landscape 1.3 now manages Ubuntu Server Edition on EC2.
# Marketcetera has upgraded its open source trading platform.
# Paglo delivers SaaS applications for managing physical and virtual server infrastructure.
# Digium launched Switchvox Developer Central online community.
# Nuxeo announced its highest quarter since its inception in 2000.
# <Jonathan Schwartz: Will the Java Platform Create The World’s Largest App Store?
# Do we really need another OSS mobile stack? Asked Fabrizio Capobianco, not unreasonably.
# Michael Dehaan: Recognizing and Avoiding Common Open Source Community Pitfalls.
December 19th, 2008 — Podcast
Topics for this podcast:
*Free Software Foundation sues Cisco
*Code-vetting business continues for Black Duck, Palamida and others
*Open source ERP player xTuple targets new verticals
*The outlook for open source enterprise applications in 2009
iTunes or direct download (27:52, 6.4 MB)
December 16th, 2008 — Software
While we have not heard much of a response from Cisco regarding the Free Software Foundation lawsuit over Cisco’s alleged lack of GNU General Public License and Lesser General Public License compliance, many are indicating there is likely a fight ahead. However, based on previous lawsuits and resulting settlements involving free and open source software proponents, including a suit and settlement with telco giant Verizon, I think the more likely result is some type of settlement this time around, too.
Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t rule out the possibility that Cisco opts to push back and cite its positive participation and contribution to open source software, but that seems like a bigger gamble than just getting into full compliance in the eyes of the FSF and its legal representatives at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). In contrast to most software copyright lawsuits, we do not see the same adversarial spirit around past SFLC suits, at least not the BusyBox GPL cases that have heightened awareness of GPL compliance and open source licenses in general. We may also be seeing a more aggressive stance from the FSF, which is separate from the SFLC, but may nevertheless be emboldened by SFLC’s BusyBox success and still seeking U.S. court precedent on the GPL.
Still, I believe the FSF will be consistent with what we’ve seen from the SFLC in the willingness to work with a vendor, even one that it has sued after warnings, so long as that vendor agrees to the terms of settlement, which have typically consisted of appointing an open source compliance officer, publishing and availability of code as required by open source licenses and undisclosed payments. The SFLC settlement with Verizon, which many people thought would simply drag out the case in typical legal process fashion, is a good example of how I see the Cisco matter playing out.
However, a settlement to the case will not necessarily settle the issue. Beyond the legalities, I think the key question is whether Cisco — as well as other vendors such as Google, Oracle and even Microsoft — not only participate and comply by the letter of open source licenses and accepted practices, but whether they actually believe in open source and the rewards of making the code open and available. I believe that issue will remain unsettled for Cisco and for many other vendors leveraging open source software for enterprise users.
December 12th, 2008 — Links, Software
FSF sues Cisco for GPL violations. JasperSoft and Lucid Imagination raise funding. Sun updates OpenSolaris. WaveMaker launches IDE for the cloud. And more.
Free Software Foundation Files Suit Against Cisco For GPL Violations Free Software Foundation
Jaspersoft Secures $12.5 Million in Venture Funding JasperSoft
Sound Investment Red Hat
Jaspersoft Announces New Community Edition of the World’s Most Widely Deployed Business Intelligence Software JasperSoft
HP Expands Easy-to-use Virtual Protection Tool, Desktop Linux Offering for Small Business Customers Hewlett-Packard
Sun Microsystems Launches Latest Version of OpenSolaris Sun Microsystems
Zmanda Partners With Sun to Launch Advanced Backup Solutions Based on OpenSolaris Zmanda
WaveMaker Announces First Open IDE for Cloud Computing WaveMaker
Alfresco and Joomla Deliver First Integration Based On CMIS Standard Alfresco
Google Web Toolkit and Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise Middleware Enable Next Generation Web Application Development Red Hat
Open-Xchange Announces Four Additional SaaS Providers Open-Xchange
Ingres Database Achieves Certified Integration With SAP Netweaver Technology Platform Ingres
SpringSource Launches New Partner Program for Consultants and Developers SpringSource
GoldenGate and Ingres Extend Real-Time Capabilities for Open Source Customers to Achieve Business Continuity GoldenGate
OpenLogic Launches Training Services for Open Source Software OpenLogic
Jedox Announces Palo OLAP Server 3.0, Featuring New Multiprocessor Support for Even Greater Speed and Scalability Jedox
SFLC Works With LinuxDefenders to Address Software Patent Threats Software Freedom Law Center
Open Health Tools Announces New Open Source Project that Will Help Run Health Information Exchanges and Create Unique Identifiers for the Healthcare Industry Misys
Essentia Powers Open Solutions Alliance Community Portal With EssentiaESP Essentia
Sun shines after Dunn’s backing Richard Waters, Financial Times
Microsoft revising its attitude toward open source Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
Lucid Imagination Raises First Round PE Hub
Sun takes another swing at cloud computing James Niccolai, IDG News Service
Funambol’s CEO sees AGPL as essential for FOSS in cloud computing’s future Bruce Byfield, Linux.com
EU court to hear groups, vendors in Microsoft antitrust appeal Paul Meller, ComputerWorld
Saving on licences is a main advantage of open source, report says Gijs Hillenius, OSOR.EU
Is Cisco an open source leech? Savio Rodrigues, InfoWorld
Answering Savio: “Is Cisco an open source leech?” Dave Roberts
Whither open source in the land of leeches? Matt Asay, Cnet
Free Software Foundation Files Suit Against Cisco For GPL Violations Dave Roberts
WaveMaker Launches First Open-Source IDE for the Cloud Chris Keene, WaveMaker
Open Source Business Intelligence In an Economic Down-Turn James Dixon
Symbian vs. Android vs. Windows Mobile Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol
Open Source Industry Expert Defends Decision to Join Microsoft Lisa Hoover, OStatic
Insubordinate or honest? What should Sun do about Monty? Joe Brockmeier, ZDnet
A Little Chat With Microsoft On Open Source Platform Strategy Serdar Yegulalp, InformationWeek
December 11th, 2008 — Licensing, Software
In conversation with an open source vendor’s CEO the other day I was reminded that in 2007 there was a relatively large fuss about the creation/approval of two new open source licenses designed to close what was known as the ASP loophole.
It occurred to us that in hindsight perhaps the issues that drove that fuss had been overblown. Certainly a look at the adoption rates for the licenses in question suggests that they were not as essential as we were led to believe, although market momentum could change all that in years to come.
A bit of history:
The CPAL (Common Public Attribution License) was approved by the OSI in July 2007 while the AGPL (GNU Affero General Public License) v3 was published by the Free Software Foundation in November 2007 (and approved by the OSI in March this year).
These licenses were developed separately to deal with the loophole that allowed third parties to make use of open source software in Software-as-a-Service or hosted environments without attribution or triggering the distribution mechanism of the GNU GPL that requires modifications to be distributed under the same license.
The two licenses approached the problem from different perspectives. The FSF considered dealing with the loophole in the GPL itself but removed the provisions that would have done so in the third draft and instead decided to adopt and rewrite the existing Affero General Public License to address the issue separately.
The GNU AGPLv3 requires anyone that modifies the software and offers its for use “remotely through a computer network” to make the source code available to those users.
CPAL, created and submitted for approval by SocialText, was concerned more with attribution, although also borrowed terms from the Open Software License that make it clear that “external deployment” triggers the same conditions as distribution.
The Open Software License (OSL), incidentally, is a license created by Larry Rosen in 2005 and approved by the OSI in 2006 that, arguably, already closed the loophole that the AGPLv3 and CPAL were designed for.
History lesson over.
Given the importance that was placed on creating these licenses, we would have expected to see rapid take up by open source vendors during 2007/8. That hasn’t happened. In fact an executive from one vendor told me today that it seriously considered adopting the AGPLv3 but decided it ultimately wasn’t worth the hassle.
In our recent report Open Source is Not a Business Model, we looked at the licenses used by open source vendors today. Just three of the vendors that responded to our survey expressed a preference for using the AGPLv3 – Funambol, WaveMaker and KnowledgeTree – while the same number expressed a preference for using CPAL – SocialText, MuleSource and XTuple. Additionally two vendors were using the OSL – Concursive and SpikeSource.
A look at Black Duck’s Open Source Resource Center indicates that neither the AGPLv3 nor CPAL has made it into the list of the top 20 licenses, although it does indicate that 159 projects have adopted the AGPLv3 (Palamida’s latest count is 181).
Digging deeper into Black Duck’s figures reveals the projects that have migrated, most of which are small individual projects rather than larger vendor-backed products. Two names do standout, however, that indicate how the AGPLv3 could yet see wide adoption.
Cloud computing platform vendor 10gen has adopted the AGPLv3 for its Application Server, Mongo Database, and Grid Management System, while Enomaly chose the license for its Elastic Computing Platform.
Additionally, CPAL has also picked up some users outside the core open source software market. Reddit picked CPAL in June, just days after Facebook released its Open Platform under the license.
While adoption of AGPLv3 and CPAL has not been rapid, those examples point to the theory that the licenses will become more relevant as businesses increasingly make use of browser-based applications and cloud platforms.
Last month Bradley Kuhn argued that steady and measured adoption is better than vendors rushing in without thinking, while Fabrizio Capobianco this week explained how the community needs to adjust its thinking to address more promotion of the AGPLv3.
In fact, perhaps the lack of adoption is purely a branding problem. The “ASP loophole” is so last century. Call it the “cloud loophole” or the “social networking loophole” and vendors will be falling over themselves to close it. Of course I am being facetious. Or am I?
November 4th, 2008 — Links, Software
Open-Xchange raises Series B funding. The FSF enables Wikimedia’s potential move to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. The “Bilski” decision and software patents. Mindtouch reports revenue growth. And more.
Open-Xchange Closes Series B Venture Funding of $9 Million Open-Xchange
OASIS Members Form Committee to Advance Interoperability and Conformance of OpenDocument Format (ODF) Applications OASIS
FSF Releases New Version of GNU Free Documentation License Free Software Foundation
Federal Court Issues “Bilski” Decision Software Freedom Law Center
RightScale and the Eucalyptus Team Join Forces to Deliver Easy-to-Manage Open Source Cloud Computing RightScale
MindTouch Reports Significant Growth in Revenue and New Customers; Delivers Big Gains in Enterprise Productivity and Operational Efficiency Mindtouch
Infobright Releases New Connector for Pentaho Data Integration Infobright
Infobright and Talend Form Technology Alliance to Simplify and Broaden Access to Self-Managing Data Warehouse Technology Infobright
Pentaho Partners with Netezza to Deliver Complete Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Solutions Pentaho
ParAccel, JasperSoft and Talend Collaborate to Deliver Integrated High Performance Business Analytics Platform Talend
Sun Microsystems Delivers Solaris 10 10/08 Release Sun Microsystems
Xandros Announces Broad Series of Cross-Platform Management Packs at Microsoft TechEd Show Xandros
New Sourcefire Security Appliances Increase Options for Enterprises and Small and Medium-Size Businesses Sourcefire
Sun Expands Software Channel Program Sun Microsystems
OXID eSales Goes Open Source OXID eSales
Meet the New Sun, Better Than the Old Sun Anders Bylund, The Motley Fool
‘EU must fix broken system for software tenders’ Gijs Hillenius, OSOR.eu
IBM, Sun Deliver OpenSolaris Prototype for IBM Mainframes Darryl K. Taft, eWeek
Education IT chiefs debate open source John Cox, NetworkWorld
States Stand Aside as Open Source Bandwagon Rolls By Walt Williams, TechNewsWorld
Bilski And Software Patents – Good News for FOSS Rob Tiller, Red Hat
Bilski: Almost the Big One Glyn Moody, ComputerWorld UK
Public Procurement and FOSS Simon Phipps, Sun Microsystems
Enormously important news from the Free Software Foundation Lawrence Lessig
Digging into MySQL billing data from Sun Savio Rodrigues, InfoWorld
Open Source Highlights at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference Tom Hanrahan, Port25
Status of FSFE’s legal dept: FTF Ciarán O’Riordan, Free Software Foundation Europe
MySQL needs to reconsider closed source Savio Rodrigues, Infoworld
We hire. They fire. Roy Russo, LoopFuse
OpenSolaris Constitution: Updating v2 Jim Grisanzio, Sun Microsystems
Open Enterprise Interview: Ross Mason, MuleSource Glyn Moody, ComputerWorld UK
Open source evolving into SaaS? Matt Asay, Cnet
Filling the Open Source Usability Testing Gap Sam Deam, OStatic
Open Source Business: When Mohamed lives on Mountain Roberto Galoppini
Column Stores, Drizzle, Search For Brian Aker
Palamida offers just the facts on new opportunity Dana Blankenhorn, ZDnet
OpenLogic – Open Source Cost Savings in Economic Downturn OpenLogic
Slide deck from OpenLogic provides insights into how to navigate the economic downturn using open source. The deck also provides poll results of how enterprises view OSS in this environment.
Rich Miner Speaks MIT Technology Review
“Following a packed keynote at last week’s Mobile Internet World conference, Google’s group manager of open platforms, Rich Miner, sat down to take questions from the audience. Here, he comments on the process that Google used to develop Android and on the pressures of an open platform.”
Stormy Peters about Marketing GNOME Init Marketing.tv
“Stormy Peters is Executive Director, GNOME Foundation, since July 2008. In this interview she talks about reaching consensus on marketing-related decisions with a community-driven project such as GNOME, how she plans to position GNOME, how to attract more donators, and more.”