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Schwartz to Torvalds: Dinner at my place?

By Elizabeth Montalbano
June 14, 2007 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - A day after Linux creator Linus Torvalds publicly questioned the authenticity of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s interest in serving the open-source community, Sun President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz invited Torvalds for a sit-down over dinner to discuss how Sun and the overseers of the Linux kernel can join forces.

"I wanted you to hear this from me directly," Schwartz wrote in an entry on his blog. "We want to work together, we want to join hands and communities -- we have no intention of holding anything back, or pulling patent nonsense. And to prove the sincerity of the offer, I invite you to my house for dinner."

Schwartz was defending Sun against comments Torvalds made in a post Tuesday on the Linux Kernel Mailing List. Torvalds suggested that Sun is keeping some of the more interesting features of its OpenSolaris open-source project -- such as ZFS, a file system in Sun's OpenSolaris Unix operating system that's generating a lot of buzz -- close to the vest because the company doesn't want to help Linux, which has hurt Sun's position in the market.

Torvalds' take is that Sun is punishing the open-source community because commodity servers running Linux trumped Sun's more expensive Solaris-based hardware after the dot-com bust, a phenomenon that eventually led Sun to release Solaris as an open-source project.

Schwartz, in his blog, begged to differ. "Did the Linux community hurt Sun? No, not a bit. It was the companies that leveraged their work," Schwartz wrote. "I draw a very sharp distinction -- even if our competition is conveniently reckless. They like to paint the battle as Sun vs. the community, and it's not. Companies compete, communities simply fracture."

Torvalds also took issue with the fact that Sun has not released OpenSolaris under the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2), which currently governs Linux. The license for OpenSolaris is the Community Development and Distribution License, which Sun created based on the Mozilla Public License.

However, Schwartz is leaning toward supporting the FSF's GPL Version 3 (GPLv3), which should be released in its final version in the next few weeks, as an option for OpenSolaris and other Sun open-source projects before GPLv2, which Torvalds prefers. In fact, the differences between GPLv2 and v3 have caused a public rift between Torvalds and other key members of the open-source community.

"We love where the FSF's GPL3 is headed," Schwartz wrote. He cited a "variety of mechanical reasons" why it would be difficult to license OpenSolaris under GPLv2, and insisted it has "nothing to do with being afraid of the community."

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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