ZFS License and Future

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Sat Nov 6 16:22:33 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 05, 2010 at 11:25:13PM -0500, Steven Susbauer wrote:
> On 11/5/10 4:34 PM, Chad Perrin wrote:
> >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.
> >
> I would be surprised. Oracle (real Oracle, not Sun) is still the primary 
> developer of btrfs on Linux. They are pretty much going for feature 
> parity with ZFS and want people to actually use it. If they start suing 
> over ZFS patents which are certainly applicable to btrfs, it will have 
> repercussions on that side.


On the other hand, Oracle could offer some kind of "patent covenant"
protecting btrfs while going after a ZFS fork as a way of "focing" people
to migrate from it to btrfs, as a more hostile way of achieving what
Microsoft does when it ends support for an older OS to get people to buy
the newer Windows release.

. . . or maybe Oracle will decide it doesn't need the open source
community's help any longer at some future date, and shut down *both*
open source filesystem development projects.

Oracle is known to be at least intermittently hostile toward open source
software, in ways that are sometimes more frightening than Microsoft's
hostility.  This is scaring people, and I don't blame them.  The
uncertainty about Oracle's future position on everything it has acquired
with Sun is something that will need to be tested and observed to see how
it shakes out in the next few years; in the meantime, I do not blame
anyone for being cautious about committing to use of open source software
under the Oracle umbrella.

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