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.
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.