ZFS License and Future

Alejandro Imass ait at p2ee.org
Fri Nov 5 22:19:58 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 5:34 PM, Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 05, 2010 at 08:25:05PM +0100, Svein Skogen (Listmail account) wrote:
>> Well ... CDDL was (iirc) based on the Mozilla Public License. Are you
>> similarly worried about Thunderbird or Firefox?
> I think Alejandro's more worried about what will happen with future
> versions of ZFS based on the company that now owns the copyrights, which
> is not (in any meaningful way I've been able to determine) at all similar
> to the Mozilla Foundation.  Yes, the current stable version is CDDL.
> Will the next be purely proprietary, or some new license, or simply
> discontinued?  Will Oracle start using patent suits to try to stop people
> who aren't paying for ZFS or who are using it on platforms other than
> Solaris from using it?
> Whether you think concerns like these will prove reasonable in the long
> run, they make a lot more sense than assuming that Alejandro just wonders
> if the CDDL is "dangerous" somehow.

Precisely. This is Larry Ellison's position on Open Source:

If an open source product gets good enough, we'll simply take it.
[...] So the great thing about open source is nobody owns it – a
company like Oracle is free to take it for nothing, include it in our
products and charge for support, and that's what we'll do. So it is
not disruptive at all – you have to find places to add value. Once
open source gets good enough, competing with it would be insane. [...]
We don't have to fight open source, we have to exploit open source.
Source: Financial Times interview, 18-Apr-2006

I am not about to check the actual licensing of ZFS, I mean to which
parts are actually licensed with the CDDL or not, for example the HTML
error message documents. Which patents Sun or Oracle have obtained on
the technology, etc. Look at what happened to Android for choosing
Java. Supposedly, it was Open Source and there you have it: it's open
source if and only if... For example, WyTF do I have to login to
Oracle to access the error message information?

So, my inquiry to this community is: should we really be promoting the
use of ZFS directly by putting it on the FBSD handbook? Maybe it
should go on a different document, and make it really optional. MySQL
is another example, and Open Office, and to top it off BDB. Yes, it's
"Oracle Berkeley DB" - are we as a community continue to allow, and
worse yet promote, this trend?

Anyway, I'm not going to use it any more. I think that we have to
raise awareness to Companies that create Open Source not sell
themselves out to these vicious looters. Or at least have the decency
to release one final version under a license that will allow the
communities to continue development and keeping the software really

Alejandro Imass

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