IBM controls open source license question

Summary:When I wrote about Computer Associates Senior VP Sam Greenblatt's cunning plan, I assumed he wanted to replace the CDDL with a template, and encourage companies to?use template-based licenses instead of BSD or GPL licenses.

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When I wrote about Computer Associates Senior VP Sam Greenblatt's cunning plan, I assumed he wanted to replace the CDDL with a template, and encourage companies to?use template-based licenses instead of BSD or GPL licenses.

I didn't think he was proposing to replace the GPL. That's the market's job.

The key to?his plan is IBM's cooperation. I noted?that Greenblatt and Computer Associates were only talking to IBM.

Whatever license plan IBM chooses to support will become the most common plan for commercial open source. IBM is the largest player on the sell-side of the commercial open source market. They are the big dog.

IBM's current position is all over the map.

IBM is the steward of the OSI license?and has been defending the GPL in court against SCO. IBM also has two other OSI-approved open source licenses, the Common Public License?and IBM Public License.??There are 58 OSI licenses in all.

The OSI is trying to negotiate this down?to, say, three. Greenblatt's plan is a leak from inside those discussions. When someone inside a discussion leaks a proposal to the outside, it's usually done to exert some public pressure on the people inside. Greenblatt wants IBM's customers to encourage?Big Blue?toward the template.

The bottom line, however, is that the decision here is IBM's. IBM could support the GPL, it could support the CDDL template, or it could push the OSI toward something else entirely.

How do you feel, seeing IBM in such a powerful position? Are you warm and fuzzy with it, or cold and clammy? Let us know what you think in TalkBack.

Topics: IBM

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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