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November 08, 2006



You make a valid point Chuck. Who knows it might just be the case.

p.s. We blogged about you at SharepointBUZZ.com


I've gotten dozens of comments on this post, here's a sample of the counterargument (from Rascalson)
I understand how someone in your position needs to be Very pragmatic about technology and how it relates to getting your companies business goals accomplished, however.

Do you understand just how many separate pieces go into making a GNU/Linux based OS? Each of those pieces comes with its own license, in most cases that is the GPL.

Eben Moglen has already stated that this agreement will "NOT" be compatible with GPL v3. When, not if, several key(not necessarily the kernel) pieces of GPL'ed code go to version 3 Novell will lose the right to distribute those pieces.

Can you imagine the forked Nightmare that Suse would need to become for Novell to avoid Copyright infringement lawsuits? Also, exactly how much support do you think there is going to be in the community for Suse? Enough to keep them up to par with other Linux distributions? I doubt it.

Novell is shipping a whole bunch of other peoples code, and they just recently punched a bunch of those people right in the face, real hard.
All fair points, Rascalson, but I guess I'm just too pragmatic here.

First, I believe that there is ample opportunity to add value to a Linux environment (by Microsoft, or any other vendor) without violating GPL. Oracle runs their database, EMC offers MPIO drivers, Nvidia gives you a nice graphics driver, SAP runs their apps, etc. -- all running politely in the environment without touching or modifying Linux code.

Without going in to too much detail, you and I could probably think of dozens of ways Microsoft and Novell could work to enhance the management and application environment of Suse without forking it.

I also would offer that any vendor is free to offer support for a Linux environment without necessarily causing a fork, if that is their intent (e.g. Oracle, maybe).

But, if one had to weigh the ultimate value of a better integrated (and supported) combination of Microsoft and Linux technologies against the pain of another flavor of Linux in the world, I would argue that -- in this case -- the end may justify the means, if it got down to that.

As far as distro companies making their money of other people's code, well -- I can't really offer much on that one. It seems to be a legit business model, and one that is supported by many willing participants.

Thanks for writing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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