...making Linux just a little more fun!

[lg-announce] Linux Gazette #140 is out!

Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]

Mon, 2 Jul 2007 09:32:25 -0700

[[[ I have included a portion of this thread for general interest, but the rest of the housekeeping has been elided. -- Kat ]]]

Quoting Ben Okopnik (ben@linuxgazette.net):

> July 2007 (#140):
>   * Mailbag
>   * Talkback
>   * NewsBytes, by Howard Dyckoff

There was something I annotated at the time of my svn checkin of lg_bytes -- but just realised I should have ALSO put into the STATUS notes. (I'll bet in retrospect that nobody pays attention to svn checkin comments.)

Howard had:

  Red Hat Adds Business Solutions to Open Source RHX
  RHX launch partners include Alfresco, CentricCRM, Compiere,
  EnterpriseDB, Groundwork, Jaspersoft, Jive, MySQL, Pentaho, Scalix,
  SugarCRM, Zenoss, Zimbra, and Zmanda.
Problem: A bunch of those are JUST NOT OPEN SOURCE. Zimbra, SugarCRM, Compiere, Groundwork, and Scalix are classic "badgeware", which is under MPL-variant software with some restrictions -- while with CentricCRM, there's not even any room for controversy, since their licence doesn't even permit code redistribution. Jive Software (which I'd not heard of, before) turns out to be equally bad.

I have brought this matter, several times, to Red Hat's attention, and the presence of actively misleading wording on the Red Hat Exchange site, such as this at the top of http://rhx.redhat.com/rhx/support/article/DOC-1285:

  Red Hat Exchange helps you compare, buy, and manage open source
  business applications. All in one place and backed by the open source
  leader. We've collaborated with our open source software partners to
  validate that RHX applications run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and are
  delivered through the Red Hat Network. At RHX, Red Hat provides
  customers with a single point of contact for support.
There has been no response and no correction of this error, but the very bottom of that page now has this "FAQ" item:
  Are you only accepting open source ISVs into RHX?
  The initial set of participating ISVs all have an open source focus. We
  realize that there is debate about which companies are truly open
  source. To make it transparent to users, RHX includes information about
  each ISV's license approach. Longer term, we may introduce proprietary
  applications that are friendly with open source applications.
That is, of course, anything but a straight answer. First, it's nonsense to speak of companies being open source or not -- and the above paragraph in general ducks the question. The issue is whether software is. Second, even if there were debate about the badgeware offerings allegedly being open source, there could be absolutely none about Jive Software's Clearspace or CentricCRM 4.1, which are unambiguously proprietary.

I'm surprised that this Red Hat's deceptive characterisation got past Howard without comment, given that the matter's been extensively covered in recent _Linux Gazette_ issues.

At the time I noticed this error, it was late at night and I delayed dealing with the matter because I needed to chase down which of the named offerings were under which licence, and I hadn't done so when I suddenly started helping run the Westercon (which is still ongoing).

Any chance you'd like to append a footnote and republish?

Top    Back

Howard Dyckoff [howarddy3 at att.net]

Mon, 02 Jul 2007 19:09:29 +0000

[[[ Note to regular contributors: I'm resigned to having to edit out the top-posting and html of new faces to LG, as part of the price of having fresh voices, but I'd really appreciate not having to do this for notes from regular contributors. PLEASE quote, snip, and interleave appropriately! -- Kat ]]]

I'd be happy to do a small rewrite about this....

I have to say that I put much more attention into the General News section and for this last issue corresponded with Mark ShuttleWorth and Kevin Carmony, their spokespeople, et al. I also tried to get comments from folks I've met from what is currently referred to as Microsoft's Open Source Labs [no debate on that is implied.... '-) ].

I did wonder about a few of the companies in the list, but at the webinars and conferences I've attended of late, there is a very expansive use of the term Open Source. The discussion is usually not how open a company is but rather which license they are using. And there certainly has been a lot of discussion about GNU vs BPL vs Apache, etc.

When it comes to product-oriented stories, I just summarize the press release and do little followup. So, if we want to police the use of the term 'open source' a bit in all News Byte stories, I can try to do that. Or perhaps we could create a phrase equivalent to saying :

"Red Hat calls these companies Open Source partners and we may beg to differ."

Rick seems to have more creds in this area and I could, with his permission, ping him about any such claim in future NB columns.

So on this one, Ben, do you want a disclaimer or a summary of the Open Source licenses those listed companies DO or DO NOT USE??? Or both??


Top    Back