HP's Martin Fink arguing for copyleft licenses

Hugo Roy hugo at fsfe.org
Mon Nov 2 13:38:18 UTC 2015

Hi Fabian,

I mainly agree with you except on this one small point.

↪ 2015-11-02 Mon 13:57, Fabian Keil <freebsd-listen at fabiankeil.de>:
> > > While the fact that they are licensed under the CDDL might be inconvenient
> > > for GNU/Linux distributions, for various other operating systems it's not
> > > a big deal and (from their point of view) even preferably to a more
> > > restrictive license like the GPL.  
> > 
> > The fact that there are more permissive licenses than the GPL doesn't
> > mean it's not a big deal to make a GPL incompatible license.
> I never said that. My point is that other parts of the free software
> community are happily using ZFS and DTrace right now. Thus Mr. Fink's
> claim that the "the community" can't use them due to their license is
> ridiculous.
> It's like claiming that "the community" can't use gcc versions after 4.2
> because parts of the community have a policy to tolerate GPLv2 code in
> the base system but reject GPLv3 code due to the perceived risks for
> downstream consumers.

It's not the same claim. In one instance, there is a *choice* to
reject the license (GPLv3) while, in the other instance, you *can't*
use the license (CDDL) because it conflicts with the already-used

If you combine this with the fact that the CDDL itself has allegedly
been chosen *because* (or designed so that) it's incompatible with a
license that's used *a lot* by the community, I think it's really not
far fetched to say the tactic was entirely anti-community and,
instead, was pursuing another agenda.

This is also supported by the fact that they filed for patents on the
technology, thus even making sure other implementations under a
different license are excluded (which isn't the case with gcc, you can
fork, reimplement, start a competing project, etc.).

The fact that some projects in the community can still use ZFS with
the CDDL is just a minor side-effect.

Thus I disagree with the claim being “ridiculous” as you wrote and I
wouldn't downplay what looks in retrospect as a very nasty tactic
(which failed).


PS: please note that I used the word "allegedly" and "looks" -- I have
no specific knowledge of what really happend on ZFS and behind the
choice or design of the license. But there sure are some elements
raising questions... and in the end we have a missed opportunity,
because I really do hear that ZFS was awesome.

Hugo Roy – Free Software Foundation Europe https://fsfe.org/about/roy
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