Enterprise Unix Roundup: Open Source, Redefined Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted Apr 8, 2005

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In Other News

» Microsoft has entered a new phase in its "Get the facts" campaign, in which the company compares itself with Red Hat in terms of reliability and ease of use. Unsurprisingly, Redmond is doing very well in the studies, earning a fine return on its investment in them.

Of perhaps more practical concern to people watching Microsoft as it relates to the Unix world is news that Windows Server 2003 HPC Edition, meant to push Microsoft into high-performance computing, has slipped from a 2005 release to first-half 2006 launch.

» Linux kernel developer Andrew Morton reports that Linux kernel 2.6 is stable and well-featured enough for enterprise users that there's not much point in looking ahead to Linux 2.7.

Morton's optimism will come in handy for Linux developers, who will probably be facing some pain in the short term. The project is moving from Bitkeeper, which has been used to manage the Linux kernel source tree. The company producing Bitkeeper recently announced it's pulling support from the no-cost version of its product because it said Linux developers have been attempting to reverse-engineer the software to provide a free software clone. Worse, one of the developers in question was an employee of the OSDL, which has come to be the institutional face of Linux development over the past few years.

Bitkeeper was a controversial choice for the Linux project from its beginning. After some turmoil over how well Linus Torvalds was keeping up with integrating patches to the Linux source tree, he adopted Bitkeeper on its technical, not ideological merits: The product wasn't open source or free (in the licensing sense). That earned a rebuke from Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation and others, who argued that the use of a proprietary product was both philosophically inappropriate and potentially problematic down the road should the product cease to be available at no cost.

Torvalds has taken a week to consider the available options for source control moving forward, leaving everyone else hanging out on Slashdot and pointing fingers.

Kernel cat fight!

» It's been a year since Microsoft and Sun buried the hatchet and pledged to work together. Internetnews.com reports that the result has been slow progress in a few areas, with J2EE/.NET integration holding too much potential benefit for competitors to both companies to warrant exploration.

» SCO finally got around to filing amended 10-Qs with the SEC, which should, in turn get it out from under the NASDAQ delisting axe we mentioned two weeks ago. Expert discovery in SCO vs. IBM is set to end in two weeks. The trial is scheduled to begin in November.

» Having merged companies, Mandrakesoft and Conectiva have announced a merged name: Mandriva. (And, no, that is not a joke.)

» The sheer volume of open source licenses is a common source of complaint from developers and enterprises. We touched on the matter last December, when Sun unveiled its CDDL.

The Open Source Initiative, which handles the work of certifying licenses as in compliance with the Open Source Definition, has approved more than 50 licenses, some with only minor variations designed to satisfy some corporate attorneys's native caution. Fortunately, the OSI this week decided to rein the process in, paring back the number of licenses it approves.

At the moment, it appears this entails introducing some barriers to licenses that aren't simple, reusable, or unrepetitive of previous licenses. It also involves giving a small number of licenses "preferred status."

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