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ZFS and GPL terror: How much freedom is there in Linux? (eerielinux.wordpress.com)
17 points by zdw 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

>Sun deliberately made the CDDL incompatible with the GPL!


>This is a claim supported primarily by one former employee of Sun. Others disagree. And even if it was verifiably true: What about Open Source values? Since when is the GPL the only acceptable Open Source license?

Lots of hand-waving and false equivalency here. We're not talking about "Open Source values", we're talking specifically about the Linux kernel. And the Linux kernel is GPLv2 licensed. The Software Freedom Conservancy analyzed the situation and determined that a GPL-licensed project cannot legally incorporate CDDL code into the binary[0].

FWIW, Ubuntu has done so anyway via a kernel module and yet has to be sued for it, but the Linux kernel project may still refrain from doing so out of an abundance of caution.

I believe someone else summed it up quite well when they said (paraphrasing), "Solaris intentionally made ZFS difficult to incorporate into Linux by the licensing, so the Linux developers are (understandably) tired of bending over backwards to try to accommodate ZFS."


It is worth noting that the GPL2-CDDL license incompatibility is still a theoretical legal issue, and that there are differing learned opinions with respect to the confluence of the CDDL, GPL2, and ZFS. For instance, Eben Moglen, co-author of the GPL3, has indicated that incompatibility is not an issue[0]. Many Sun employees have also disagreed that Sun's intent was to make the CDDL incompatible with the GPL2.

[0] https://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2016/linux-kernel-...

Being tired is not a good reason.

They need to stop being so stubborn.

No new territory is covered in this article. It's a lot of words that skips over the central question: are CDDL and GPL incompatible and if so what does that mean for the user?

The article addresses this the wrong way: >Sun deliberately made the CDDL incompatible with the GPL!

Doesn't matter whether it's deliberate or not. And it's not merely one opinion, it's GNU, FSF, SFC, Debian, Fedora - quite a lot I'm not going to list them all, who do consider CDDL a free software license, but also consider it incompatible with GPL.

I have yet to read anything from Linux developers or users that they don't like ZFS, quite the contrary. And the solution is distros won't package pre-built binaries, you have to compile it yourself. And it's not that difficult.

The article seems to argue that some Linux people in power hate ZFS (no evidence) and use CDDL GPL incompatibility as an excuse to keep it away from Linux users (again no evidence).

Except for the evidence of making calls GPL only, for no legal or technical reason.

All they have to do is allow the calls. (Its a silly restriction anyway).

It is ironic that the very same license that tries to prevent greedy companies from stealing open-source code is also preventing code from said (former)greedy company to be contributed back.

Makes me wonder how long it will be before a license is codified that is as permissive as BSD/MIT/Apache2 but specifically prohibits using the code in copyleft code bases. The question has been posed elsewhere:


What would be the point?

Copyleft licenses ensure that the code itself remains open source. MIT-style licenses ensures that a developer can use the code without encumbrance. And there are already plenty of licenses out there that are incompatible with the GPL through other conflicting terms - non-commercial licenses come to mind.

What would be the goal of an anti-copyleft license other than to stick it to copyleft projects?

"Pessimistic" is a good generalization of the GPL mindset in my opinion: "If I don't make this thing GPL then some greedy-bastard company will make a fortune off of my ideas and never give me a cut, credit, or contribute back."

Maybe, but it's a dim way of looking at other people.

Remember that GPL is a product of the realities around the open source ecosystem when Bill Gates and Steve Balmer where CEOs on Microsoft. Moreover the situation with some android OEMs that don't provide source code for their devices shows that this is still happening today.

> Remember that GPL is a product of the realities around the open source ecosystem when Bill Gates and Steve Balmer where CEOs on Microsoft.

The irony being that formerly FOSS companies are turning to dual licensing, "open core", and similar non-free strategies because it turned out that Gates & Ballmer, y'know, like, actually had a point: you need income in order to keep your business running.

And, by the way, you're wrong anyway: GPLv1 came out in '89 and GPLv2 came out in '91. Microsoft was a relatively minor player at that time; its meteoric rise to dominance didn't begin until a few years later.

That was 20 years ago.

It’s clear the GPL hurts open source. It’s why I’ve never liked it.

It's certainly a dim way of looking at corporations, but, oh well. I don't think they deserve better.

And I think GPL actually embodies a really positive mindset. To release GPL code is to believe that there are others out there who will help you without intending to get advantage over you or shut you out.

It's just a legal document. We have laws against killing, doesn't mean we suspect everyone of being a murderer.

Not sure why anyone is in "terror". ZFS cannot be legally used with Linux. That's been clear almost from the start.

It's dead. At best it might have a few useful ideas to put into our live filesystems.

Of course Linux benefitted from being published under GNU GPL. At that point of time the appearance of a GNU kernel for i386 architecture was inevitable

Mir is not GPL. It's GPL+CLA. Tiny, but very important difference.

Github deal <-- bribe or bullet

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