[OpenIndiana-discuss] What is OI/illumos stance on recreation of features from Solaris 11 (and other proprietary OSes)?

James Carlson carlsonj at workingcode.com
Wed Oct 10 13:48:30 UTC 2012

Jim Klimov wrote:
> Does anyone know how, in this case, open remakes of proprietary
> tools and protocols can exist (i.e. CARP vs. VRRP, LACP vs.
> EtherChannels etc.?) - is it just good will of a proprietary
> author that doesn't care about hunting for imposters, or even
> embraces their resulting solutions as a widely-accepted defacto
> standard?

The key issue, at least as far as I know, was that with OpenSolaris, Sun
had rights akin to ownership for all of the IPR contained in the code
that they distributed, and was able to license that IPR via the CDDL.
That's why the contributor's agreement contained assignments.  And
that's why it took an amazing amount of effort over several years to
release the code in the first place.  And why some of it was never released.

Things are different here, unless there's a legal entity that can grant
the same kind of license.  Sun was basically taking all of the risk, as
they had to do anyway because they had a commercial product.

For at least some of the open projects you mention, the IPR issues
(where there are some) are the problem of the people who distribute or
use the code.  The developers involved can't grant a license on
something they don't own.  Things, though, get at least a little fuzzy

In some cases, I know that open source developers have depended on a
combination of public image (it just looks bad for a big company to go
after little guys, no matter how legally sound the basis) and poverty
(why bother suing somebody who has nothing?) to keep the wolves away.
Whether it works entirely, well, I'm not sure.

In all cases, though, if you care about this topic, I think you really
should consult your own lawyer.  You might not like the answer --
lawyers tend to talk about risk rather than absolute yes/no answers --
but it'd be better than discussing here.

James Carlson         42.703N 71.076W         <carlsonj at workingcode.com>

More information about the OpenIndiana-discuss mailing list