[TUHS] the guy who brought up SVr4 on Sun machines

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Thu Jan 5 04:24:13 AEST 2017

On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 12:57 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 04, 2017 at 06:48:06PM +0100, Joerg Schilling wrote:
> > Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> >
> > > On Wed, Jan 04, 2017 at 06:40:07PM +0100, Joerg Schilling wrote:
> > > > Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > > BTW: this fact has been confirmed by Simon Phipps, so I am very
> sure about it.
> > > > >
> > > > > "this fact" being that "many" Sun employees were prepared to quit
> if
> > > > > Solaris was BSD licensed?  I'd like to see a list of those people,
> > > > > I find it extremely hard to believe, but data will change my
> opinion.
> > > >
> > > > Try to ask Simon.....
> > > >
> > > > J?rg
> > >
> > > You're the guy making the claim, onus is on you to back it up.  That's
> > > how things work.
> >
> > Well, I thought using google should be simple:
> >
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Development_and_
> Distribution_License
> Yeah, read the whole thing.  Still looking for a list of Sun employees
> who were willing to quit if Sun chose the BSD license.
> > Check the video mentioned there as this just lists what Simon did say.
> What video?


    There are links to a recording of a presentation at DebConf 2016 in the
"References" section of the Wikipedia page: numbers 19 and 20. I haven't
watched it myself because I've literally got a sleeping baby on my shoulder
and often painful experience has taught me to not mess with such things.
However, the section of the Wikipedia CDDL article on GPL compatibility
mentions this:

'Simon Phipps (Sun's Chief Open Source Officer at the time), who had
introduced Ms. Cooper as "the one who actually wrote the CDDL",[19] did not
immediately comment, but later in the same video, he says, referring back
to the license issue, "I actually disagree with Danese to some degree",[20]
while describing the strong preference among the engineers who wrote the
code for a BSD-like license, which was in conflict with Sun's preference
for something copyleft, and that waiting for legal clearance to release
some parts of the code under the then unreleased GNU GPL v3 would have
taken several years, and would probably also have involved massed
resignations from engineers (unhappy with either the delay, the GPL, or
both—this is not clear from the video).'

This implies to me that the attitude among employees at Sun was that a
BSD-style license was *preferred*, and licensing under the *GPL* was the
thing that would (potentially) have brought about a mass exodus of unhappy
engineers. That is, it seems to be the inverse of what Joerg is suggesting.

But I think two things are being conflated: Solaris 2.0 was open-sourced
over a period of several years starting in the mid-2000s, and extending
through the end of the decade (2008, I guess). But your earlier proposal
for SunOS 4 (retroactively renamed Solaris 1.x...) dates from 1993, more
than a decade prior. It was my sense in the early 90s that licenses weren't
given nearly as much thought or consideration by individual engineers as
they are now. While I wasn't there, I imagine that at the time, folks were
probably more of the attitude, "open up SunOS? Yeah, that'd be
cool...License? Uh, I think my buddy from Berkeley has something about
this...." Anyway, I don't think one can directly compare the two because a
*lot* changed in that decade in between.

        - Dan C.
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