Sun Nabs Open Source License

By | January 20, 2005

The Open Source Initiative has approved Sun Microsystems’ Common Development & Distribution License (CDDL). The move paves the way for Sun to proceed with its plans to release its Solaris OS as an open source project.

A source close to Sun told eWeek that “with the CDDL, if you read it carefully, Sun will convey all of its patents to the community, and not just 500 like IBM recently did.”

Full details on Open Solaris, including its license and the community development and governance models, could be released as early as next week.

In addition, Sun is moving up its plans to release Solaris 10, which should be available by the end of the month. The new OS will be available as a free download from, and Sun will begin installing the OS on its own systems in February.

Sun submitted the CDDL license to the OSI for approval in early December, but declined to say whether it intended to use that license for its Open Solaris project.

They say Sun´s first priority is to protect its partners and customer investments rather than to please those in the community who want it to be GPL-compatible. In fact, Claire Giordano, a member of Sun´s CDDL team, said in a letter accompanying the submission that “like the Mozilla Public License, the CDDL is not expected to be compatible with the GPL, since it contains requirements that are not in the GPL [GNU General Public License].”

“Thus, it is likely that files released under the CDDL will not be able to be combined with files released under the GPL to create a larger program,” Giordano said in the letter.

Sun officials have told eWEEK that there are many OSI-approved licenses that are not GPL-compatible, including the Mozilla Public License, on which the CDDL is largely based.

“It´s basically the Mozilla license with the one clause struck, that gives the ability to supersede the license. It´s an honestly good license, which Sun will also be donating to the community, unlike what IBM did with Common Public License (CPL), which is a copyrighted IBM license that leaves IBM entirely in charge,” the source said.

Leave a Reply