Friday, May 11, 2007

Friend or FUD?

Jonathan Schwartz is quoted by Tim O'Brian as having said "There is nothing at all right now stopping Apache from shipping Harmony. Nothing, they are free to do so, the code is available they can distribute it wherever and whenever they want…We’re very, very, very focused right now on the GPL community."

I have to ask whether he (as a busy guy with lots of PR plates to keep spinning during conference season) has just misunderstood the issue, or whether this reveals an attempt to divide the OSS community and reduce their influence over Sun's baby.

I hope that Mr. Schwartz just missed the point here, which is that the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) want to be able to give their users software which passes certification, and
the use of which is unrestricted.

The alternative implication is much less pleasant.
It's well known that the ASF and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) (publishers of the GPL) have repeatedly failed to find enough common ground to achieve compatibility between their licences, and now that the ASF has come out publicly against some of the IP restrictions around the JCK (the TCK for JSE) Sun seems to be moving towards the GPL. Is it coincidence that the FSF's GPL prevents downstream users from benefiting commercially whereas the Apache Licence deliberately allows anyone to profit as long as the code is "free" (free as in speech, not beer)? I really hope not, that would just be bad for everyone.

**NB I'm not trying to score any points here, just saying it as I see it, if I'm wrong post a comment. **


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