ZFS License and Future

Chris Brennan xaero at xaerolimit.net
Sun Nov 7 22:45:30 UTC 2010

On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 3:56 PM, Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Nov 07, 2010 at 05:17:19PM +0000, Matthew Seaman wrote:
> > On 06/11/2010 16:10, Chad Perrin wrote:
> > >   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,
> > > somehow.
> >
> > Oracle couldn't sue for patent violations on software that they (or
> > their predecessors) had released and that people were using as-is.
> > That's legitimate use under license from the software's originators.
> How long are you planning to use it as-is, without making any changes, if
> Oracle ceases support for an open source version?
> >
> > Nor could they sue successfully over some completely novel
> > implementation that avoided patented areas.
> 1. That's kind of irrelevant to my point.
> 2. That is prone to being a lot of work to end up with something
> suboptimal -- unless you're talking about using something other than
> Oracle software, in which case you're just agreeing with me at this
> point.
> >
> > An interesting question is: could they sue over use of patented feature
> > 'foo' in a forked copy of the software, where the code implementing
> > 'foo' was still identical to the original version and where any
> > substantial novel work was on other, unpatented, areas?  This flies in
> > the face of the original intent of granting patents; that innovators
> > should be able to claim the benefits of their own work in order that
> > innovation be encouraged.
> The original intent of granting patents:
> 1. has not been in evidence in the patent system for a century or so
> 2. has largely been proven bogus, to anyone willing to consider the
> evidence
> >
> > I doubt that any free software project would have sufficient funds to
> > pursue such a case through the courts.
> This is the problem.
> >
> > I take comfort from the example of OpenBSD and CARP vs. Cisco and HSRP.
> >  Open source projects have been here before, and survived by doing what
> > open source projects do best: writing code.
> Some have.  Others have folded under the pressure.  That latter case is
> why people worry about it -- and why they tend to prefer to use stuff
> that is not in danger of unpleasant lawsuits in the first place.
> --
> Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]

There are documented cases where the big bad business reared it's ugly head
(AOL/Time Warner) and unleashed it's guard dogs (lawyers)on the masses. Such
case is GAIM (original intent was Gnome Aim I believe, a jab at AIM and a
functional name for a port/fork). But when T.W. acquired AOL and GAIM all of
the sudden was on there radar and the GAIM project faced a similar lawsuite,
because of the name being to close to a closed-source equivalent. GAIM's
solution as I am sure everyone is aware was to change there name frrom GAIM
to Pidgin. This occurred w/ the 2.0 version of GAIM, which was subsequently
renamed to Pidgin. In Pidgin's case tho, they contained no proprietary
software as AOL/T.W wasn't concerned about the 'oscar' protocol. As long as
people used the protocol, they didn't care how you got on.

So basically if comes down to something like this. If OOo.3.2.1 stops there,
what is already released remains unchanged, too many people have or can
easily get a copy of the source as is. It is not in Oracles best interests
to search for and destroy every person in the would who has a copy of it
*BEFORE* it went Closed-Source. The danger comes in the name ... hence
DocumentFoundation.Org. It is DF's hopes that Oracle will get wise and gift
the name to the foundation and we can continue to have a function project w/
a wise name. Everyone knows what OpenOffice is, including my college
professors, hell even my Girlfriend knows what it is and she isn't all that
into computers .... LibreOffice (Libre is Latin for free) is a functional
name as is (personally I don't like the name, but I hated StarOffice's name
too!) and has potential. But DF faces an uphill battle in re-educating the
world that LibreOffice is OpenOffice under a new name.

So the legal end isn't all that hard to figure out. the OOo.3 devs have
taken care of that setting up DF. It's just a matter of figuring out the
logistics of the name. The same would apply to any other product that Oracle
has acquired and is in danger of getting it's head chopped off for the
benefit of it's owners pocket.

Did you know...

If you play a Windows 2000 CD backwards, you hear satanic messages,
but what's worse is when you play it forward....
                                      ...it installs Windows 2000

   -- Alfred Perlstein on chat at freebsd.org

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