Sun and SCO: truth revealed years later
A couple of days ago, Simon Phipps from Sun Microsystems said that the company ”screwed up“ when it comes to open source. Dana Blankenhorn opines that Sun is still screwing up. Here is the core of his argument.
But he isolates the “screw-up” to 2001-2002, when Sun was still a proprietary company. This is like a candidate for re-election blaming the problems he faces on a predecessor from the other party.
The fact is Sun is still screwing up. Offering open source licenses for key products is not all there is to an open source strategy. Transparency, community, and some ceding of authority are also required.
Sun not only screwed up in 2001-2002. Sun is still no friend of Linux. Moreover, based on this latest bomb from Groklaw, it was willing to let SCO continue its attacks on Linux, just like Microsoft, which even helped fund the suit. If true, shame on Sun.
We learn two primary things from Jones’ testimony: first, what a cynical role Sun played in the SCO saga, and second, that all the time SCO was calling on the world, the courts, the Congress — nay heaven itself, if I may say so — to sympathize with it over the ruination of its Most Holy Intellectual Property by it being improperly open sourced into Linux, not that it turned out to be true, it had already secretly given Sun the right to open source it in OpenSolaris. Remember all that falderol about SCO being contractually unable to show us the code, much as it so desired to do so, because of being bound to confidentiality requirements? What a farce. SCO had already secretly given Sun the right to open source Solaris, with all the UNIX System V you can eat right in there.
The simple fact is, I gather from Jones’ testimony, Sun could have prevented the harm SCO sought to cause by simply telling us what rights it had negotiated and received from SCO prior to SCO launching its assault on Linux. Yet it remained silent. When I consider all folks were put through, all the unnecessary litigation, and all the fear and the threats and the harmful smears, including of me at the hands of SCO and all the dark little helper dwarves in SCO’s workshop, I feel an intense indignation like a tsunami toward Sun for remaining silent.
Speaking of Sun, which may be too easy a target, what’s up with IBM? Glyn Moody wonders…
So, for the sake of your shareholders and of the stakeholders in the open source ecosystem, I say: come on, IBM, pull your socks up and get stuck in again. Please go back to leading in this field, as you did a decade ago, rather than lagging as you seem to be today.