[lug] Software patents

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Sun May 31 15:17:21 MDT 2009

On May 31, 2009, at 8:06 AM, Rob Nagler wrote:

> I think IBM has done a much better job of embracing open source.

Whoa!  Where do you see that?

I see IBM *MARKETING* to open-source folks through things like paying  
tech writers to write articles on how to use open-source OS's... but  
the products IBM builds and sells run on TOP of those OS's... and  
aren't open at all.

Seen any source for AIX, DB2, or Informix lately?

Not picking on IBM... Informix is probably by far one of the oldest  
and most stable RDBMS's and they give it away to small Linux users and  
have for a long time... it'll hold its own against Oracle any day of  
the week, and do it for 1/10th the costs or less...

But it's not open.

> Oracle is an interesting case, because it embraced Linux very early
> on, and gave out free development versions to Linux developers.   If
> Sun had embraced open source earlier, e.g. open-sourcing Solaris in
> the 1990s, instead of 2005, Linux would never had a chance to escape.
> One could argue it was the restrictive Unix license that prevented
> this, but OTOH, if a kid in Finland could rewrite Unix (and a
> professor in The Netherlands), it is pretty clear that Sun could have
> clean-sourced OpenSolaris much earlier than it did.

Their model in that era was that they were a hardware company.  The OS  
was just something you needed to use their hardware, and they gave it  
away "free as in beer".  They did sell the compiler back then, though...

> I would also argue that Sun was forced into being more open with Java
> by IBM's implementation (Jikes in 1998).  It's nice that Sun has
> released Java under the GPL, but it was already too late.

I'm not even going to guess why Java took off... it's about the most  
bloated crap I've ever seen.  Marketing money I guess.  It doesn't do  
anything that a good developer library and some discipline in code  
writing couldn't accomplish ten years earlier.  Its appeal still  
baffles me.

Nate Duehr
nate at natetech.com

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