HP's Fink offers a challenge to IBM and Sun

HP's Fink offers a challenge to IBM and Sun

Summary: Hewlett-Packard’s red-shirted Martin Fink, with a title that may give a hint of a cultural problem with HP--vice president and general manager of the NonStop Enterprise Division, Open Source & Linux Division—got off to a slow start with his presentation at LinuxWorld, adding little to the canon of useful information about Linux and open source. He gave a history of Linux, offered a rehash of press releases, videos and customer testimonials for Linux and HP.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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martinfink.jpgHewlett-Packard’s red-shirted Martin Fink, with a title that may give a hint of a cultural problem with HP--vice president and general manager of the NonStop Enterprise Division, Open Source & Linux Division—got off to a slow start with his presentation at LinuxWorld, adding little to the canon of useful information about Linux and open source. He gave a history of Linux, offered a rehash of press releases, videos and customer testimonials for Linux and HP. 

But he finally offered something of substance, or at least controversy, in challenging IBM and Sun to drop their open source licensing schemes and adopt the GPL. "Intel was the first to openly and proactively deprecate the open source license they had created. I was going to issue a challenge—or rather ask IBM to follow Intel’s lead and deprecate IBM’s open source license and put it under the GPL. I will give Sam Palmisano, Nick Donofrio and Irving Wladawksy-Berger a brand-new HP laptop preloaded with Linux. I also want to ask Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz to deprecate the CDDL and run under the GPL." He also offered the two Sun executives an HP laptop, but preloaded with Windows, for a laugh.  

I can understand the problem with too many licenses, and the resulting sharing problems from having distinct islands of open source licensing. But that doesn't mean the GPL, which has been around for 15 years, is the total answer, nor is CDDL. Fink noted that GPL3 could use more clarity and improvements in areas such as the definition of a distribution, patent termination, Web services, the definition of derivative works, terms of source code availability and object class extensions across binary boundaries. What's important is that the community continues an open dialog around license reduction.
 
The news from HP is development projects around its high-end, never-goes-down NonStop platform. He said that HP will donate a collection of NonStop (formerly known at Tandem) servers to premier universities around the world, and share intellectual property and knowledge in order to enhance Linux kernel and contribute back code to the open source community.

Topic: Open Source

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  • Linux on Non-Stop platform? Cool!

    I worked with the old Tandem non-stop machines a bit years ago when they were still produced by Tandem. They were really a quality product back then, designed exclusively for bullet proof reliability. We pulled out components while they were running and all sorts of stuff. Nothing would stop them. Of course then they were running non-stop Unix. But now it looks like some of that technology is about to make it into the Linux kernel thanks to HP. Uh ... do I smell another SCO lawsuit? They haven't filed a new lawsuit in quite a while now, it MUST be time for another one!
    George Mitchell
    • Stop Linux on non-stop

      Highly available servers usually have the OS and hardware closely tied together. This is how mainframes are so reliable - when running their native OS. This is the case with Non-stop also. It is a change of paradigm to use a general-purpose OS to do this. If you can get Linux to do non-stop, then why should I buy expensive hardware from HP?
      Roger Ramjet
      • Good point

        However you can turn Linux' kernel into a general-purpose system or as highly tied to the hardware as you please. That's the beauty of being able to compile and fine-tune your own kernel, tailored for [b]your specific[/b] needs ;)

        And the justification of the hardware (IMO) is Linux' hardware support, maybe? I mean if HP will provide the support but they alone [b]sell[/b] the hardware, that still gives the incentive to buy the hardware, don't you think?
        thetargos
  • There should be 2

    Open source licenses - GPL and BSD. Either you allow your source code to be used in proprietary software or you don't. Simple. Case closed.
    Roger Ramjet
    • Yes, but GPL ad BSD aren't them

      GPL requires that all source be published via a GPL compatible license and BSD requires no publication at all. There are two ends of a spectrum. The GPL license already recognizes a need for modification (the LGPL and the "special exception" for kernel-based drivers). And BSD is equivalent to giving coce away entirely.

      The reason we have licese proliferation is that we need choices along a spectrum. If I'm a software developer who has tremendous investment in a code base (like Sun's Solaris operating system ot Java Runtime Environment), I don't want to give the code away entirely like BSD nor do I want to require that all the existing proprietary code that might be associated with these code bases be licensed via GPL. I need a license that allows an open, free community but still protects my intellectual property and allows for commercial uses.

      See http://opensolaris.org/os/about/faq/licensing_faq/ for why Sun chose a new license for Open Solaris. You can argue with their politics, but at the end of the day, they are a smart company with a real understanding of these license issues. Perhaps GPL and CDDL are the better "should be 2" choices.
      psuedostratified
  • Mr. Fink's Challenge

    I visited HP's site to learn what HP has contributed to the
    opensource community. All I see is that they bundle such: "HP has
    over 200 products that ship with open source software." (http://
    opensource.hp.com/). Where can I really find a listing of their
    contributions?
    Robert Cibrario
  • .. boat anchors in a desert ..

    Sure Fink wants to donate NonStop servers to the universities. Great, I'm sure they'll take any iron they can get their hands on. Nice tax deduction for HP, and Fink look good.

    But it still proprietary iron - for all the 'Linux' and 'Open Source' blahblahs that are spewing from HP, lets not forget DSMSCM (the configuration tool) that's still a Windows 16 bit app. And what about SCF? Safeguard? Let's not even talk about Measure .. EMS .. and on and on.

    If Fink want to pretend a NonStop box is a Linux platform, that's his illusion (related no doubt to the tightness of the hats that he has one of top of each other on his head).

    If HP want to really make NonStop a Linux box - great idea. How about getting it to boot Linux, and run its legacy proprietary Guardian operating system as the 'guest personality'?

    How about a real hiearchical file system instead of its flat holdover from DOS 1.1 days (Hey universities - do you know about this? .. come to think of it .. hey Fink - do YOU know about this? .. I wonder if the hat is so tight he doesn't actually wear it ..

    Riix22
    riix