ZFS License and Future

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Sat Nov 6 16:16:28 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 05, 2010 at 11:44:28PM -0500, Steven Susbauer wrote:
> On 11/5/10 5:19 PM, Alejandro Imass wrote:
> >Precisely. This is Larry Ellison's position on Open Source:
> >
> ><quote>
> >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.
> ></quote>
> >Source: Financial Times interview, 18-Apr-2006
> >http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto041820061306424713
> It sounds like he's probably a big fan of the BSD license. I do not see 
> how this is a bad thing, other than he uses potentially inflammatory 
> words like "exploit." The basics of what he says are exactly what Red 
> Hat has done from the beginning, and Apple with OS X. Note he says "take 
> it for nothing," he is not referring to buying companies but the 
> practice of including/distributing this software and providing support 
> for the entirety.

It *does* seem that way, at first glance.  Taken in the context of
Oracle's recent behavior, though, a less pleasant picture emerges.
Combining Oracle's willingness to violate the spirit of open source
software development in the case of the Google/Java lawsuit with its
willingness to essentially end an open source project as with Solaris, we
end up with a situation where it becomes risky to rely on the open source
status of anything Oracle "owns", regardless of the license under which
it is distributed.  What happens if Oracle decides to close up a
previously open project on which your projects rely?  Will Oracle lawyers
find some patent related to the creation of that software the company
"owns" and use that to sue you if you fork the project to ensure the
survival of your own development projects?  It seems somewhat likely,

As much as I think MySQL and OpenOffice.org are crappy software in many
respects, I'm glad they've both been forked following Oracle's
acquisition, if only because they can serve as tests of Oracle's
readiness to sue people for forking the company's "intellectual

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
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