Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Tim Hinds, Douglas Lyon

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Linux Containers

Open Source Cloud: Article

Open Letters Back to Darl

Bob Young and "maddog" to SCO Group's CEO: "Be less vocal."

SCO's Last Open Letter Draws Response from Red Hat Cofounder Bob Young

To the Editor:

I've kept out of this debate as I no longer work at Red Hat and wanted to give Matthew Szulik and the Red Hat team complete control over Red Hat's communications with the press. But three years have passed since I worked at Red Hat. Lulu.com is where I'm spending my time and energies, now I figure I can and should speak up. Lulu is attempting to create a marketplace for digital content. Its goal is nothing less than to enable authors to decide for themselves how to edit, market, and grant rights to others over the use of their works (copyright). On the off-chance that anyone is taking [SCO Group CEO] Darl McBride's campaign seriously I can no longer sit idly by, as to do so could some day restrict the users of Lulu.com from choosing the copyright terms and conditions that most suit the needs of the projects they are trying to advance.

Bob Young,
CEO, Lulu.com (co-founder of Red Hat in another life)

Dear Darl:

Many smarter people than me have demolished your arguments around the idea that anyone has knowingly stolen any property from you. Yet you continue to refuse to tell anyone what it is that you claim has been stolen. So your arguments against others ring very hollow. It is like my claiming you broke into the trunk of my car and stole something from me. But then I refuse to tell anyone, the police or anyone else, what was stolen, or even allow anyone to look in the trunk of my car. Your strategy would be laughable if it were not costing everyone involved huge amounts and of time and effort to correct your errors and respond to your lawyers.

Secondly, no one is arguing against copyright. Everyone agrees intellectual property, from trademark law to copyrights and patents, is a good thing.

Ok, so maybe Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation, the inventor of the GPL license, thinks it is not a good idea to copyright software. But even Richard thinks copyright has its place to enable authors to earn a living. Free markets are not so fragile that a new idea like the GPL can threaten them. The only thing that can threaten free markets in a democracy is fear. Fear can cause well-meaning governments to enact flawed legislation. The kind of legislation the DMCA represents. The DMCA is the equivalent of trying to stop break-and-entry of homes by making screwdrivers illegal. Breaking and entering should be illegal. Allowing honest citizens to own innocent tools that evildoers might use to break and enter must remain perfectly legal. It is the crook who should be sent to jail, not the tool nor the owner of the tool.

The Supreme Court case that you misrepresent in your latest open letter demonstrates the Justices think too much of a good thing may no longer be so good. The case you quote (Eldred vs Ashcroft) was accepted by the Supreme Court specifically because they wanted to consider whether copyright, enacted by the founding fathers with a term of 14 years, may be getting stretched a little too far at its current 95 years. The case was decided based on the Justices concluding that it was up to Congress, not the Supreme Court, to set the terms of copyright law. Groups like Creative Commons are working to fix in the marketplace the problems caused by recent expansions of copyright terms. But then you seem to have little respect for the marketplace.

The sad thing about your arguments is that you undermine them by running your company so badly. SCO's revenues from the sale of goods and services (not counting some very odd license "revenue") have fallen every quarter since you took over SCO. Corporate America does not illegally download anyone's property to save a few bucks. They purchase the best product and services available from the companies they trust the most. You and your team have proven to be incapable of producing good products, at least not as good as those from other suppliers. These self-serving "open letters" make SCO appear extremely untrustworthy. So you have violated both of the customer service rules you should be focused on honoring.

Darl, for the sake of your case in front of the courts, for the sake of your company's ability to win customers, for the sake of everyone's blood pressure, and to save yourself further personal embarrassment, you might want to be less vocal. All you are doing is causing your audience to educate themselves. Once everyone understands how wrong you are your stock price will suffer. Hmm, suddenly when I think about it -you might in fact be doing us all a favor.

Thanks,
Bob Young
CEO, Lulu.com

Linux doyen and head of Linux International maddog Hall wasn't any too thrilled with Darl either.

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to Darl McBride's open letter about copyrights.

First of all, Mr. McBride seems to think that the GPL (a license which gives certain rights and has certain restrictions on how to distribute software) somehow diminishes the copyright laws of the United States. It does not.

In fact, the GPL depends very heavily on the fact that the AUTHOR of the copyrighted work owns the right to that work and what becomes of it.

The United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 actually says:

"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;" It does not say (as Mr McBride implies) that that right is simply to make money, although that certainly is one of the rights of the Authors and inventors. The right that the Constitution talks about is the right of the authors and inventors to do anything they want with their writings and discoveries, including the right to give it away, either freely or under certain conditions.

The GPL is a license, just as there are other licenses. Some companies, such as MySQL, actually license their code under several different licenses. One license may require that you pay them money for their code on a per unit basis, another license may require that you freely distribute your changes to their code if you wish to freely use it.

Mr. McBride talks about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Most of the feelings stirred by that act is not about the right of the author to determine what happens to his work overall, but the right of the individual to make one copy for "personal use"...something best illustrated by the concept of "the party tape" that has been effectively removed from existence due to the arcane application of anti-copy technologies. Linux users cannot legally watch a legally purchased DVD on a GPLed operating system (their operating system of choice) because it is illegal to disclose how to decode the encryption mechanisms. There are many legislators in the United States today who are taking a second look at the DMCA law and discovering that it is just a bad piece of legislation (it happens sometimes) and needs to be modified to meet its goals of limiting the unbridled reproduction and distribution of intellectual property. Mr. McBride somehow hopes to link the national feelings for the Constitution with the poorly conceived and written DMCA law.

But the DMCA law has nothing to do with the GPL.

Mr. McBride claims that the GPL does not allow for "any proprietary use whatsoever," yet many companies use the GPLed compilers to generate closed-source applications. People use Linux (GPLed code) to run proprietary closed-source businesses. What Mr. McBride really means is that the GPL does not allow a company to take the software created by the sweat and work of another person, add a few lines of code to it and then sell it to make a huge profit. If this was the desire of the original copyright holder, all they had to do was license the code under the BSD license, which allows this type of action. But the original author CHOSE not to, as was their RIGHT. It seems to me that Mr. McBride is very anxious to take away the right of an author to license his code the way he see fit, and only be able to license it the way that Mr. McBride sees fit.

In the case of Eldred v Ashcroft the majority justices stated that:

"encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors"

and that:

"copyright law celebrates the profit motive, recognizing that the incentive to profit from the exploitation of copyrights will redound to the public benefit by resulting in the proliferation of knowledge. The profit motive is the engine that ensures the progress of science."

Unfortunately the Justices did not think of any other "profit" that could come from science than the dollar bill. Perhaps they should go out to the Web and take a look at www.sourceforge.net, where over 70,000 projects are being worked on by over 740,000 programmers from all over the world. They have a profit motive, but the motive is not entirely tied to money. Sometimes the motive is "fame," sometimes "peer respect" and sometimes it is just the good feeling that you get when you help some other person solve a problem, something that is often called "the golden rule." Perhaps the Justices should accompany me on trips all over the United States and the world where I see people using free and open source software (licensed by the GPL) allowing them to use software legally that they could not otherwise afford, and to legally improve it to better fit their needs, all allowable because of the GPL license.

The Justices might also pay attention to a very excellent invention whose inventor DID NOT choose to patent it, although he could have. Instead he chose to publish his work and allow any one of his competitors to make it freely. This, in turn generated more demand for his invention than he would otherwise had if he had patented it and kept the other vendors from manufacturing it. The date was 1703, and the invention was the pianoforte, which today we call simply "the piano." Patents and copyrights do not ALWAYS mean the most profit for the author or inventor, nor the best for "the common good."

In times past when creating computer programs meant access to a machine that costs six million dollars, fitted to a large air-conditioned room that used kilowatts of power, more investment of money was required due to requirements for funding. Today really good software can be produced as a byproduct of solving a particular problem on already existing computer systems, and the owner has no real need to keep the software proprietary. Indeed, some people find that it is cheaper to use the GPL model and hope that others help them develop and improve the code than it is to go the traditional model and have to continue to develop the code themselves.

As an employee of the former Digital Equipment Corporation I often found software that our customers would like to have used. However our complex "profit model" that Mr. McBride puts forth often meant that useful software never saw the light of day. The software was deemed valuable, but not so valuable as to go through an entire product cycle and quality assurance cycle and therefore was lost inside of Digital. It is too bad that the open source model was NOT as accepted, as that technology might still be with us today.

How could the founding fathers or the early legislators have foreseen the Web, or even computers? How could they visualize thousands of people working freely all over the world, sharing ideas and information much faster than our intellectual property laws can keep up. And so it makes sense that the legislature and the justices review every once in a while the true meaning of "for the common good" and fit it to the current world, and not the world of past endeavors.

The issue with Eldred v Ashcroft was not whether copyrights were bad or illegal, but whether having extensions for such a long period over the original lengths made sense in an age where takes only a month for a paperback book to be published, distributed over the world, and sell five million copies.

Most people in the copyright world understand that the copyright, patent and trademark laws when applied to a global economy in an ever-shrinking world are hopelessly outdated. Not necessarily bad, just in need of being revised.

In summary, the GPL does NOT invalidate copyright, the DMCA deserves to be reviewed and corrected, there are other profit motives other than money, an even if there wasn't, the GPL does not preclude earning money with software.

What the Free and Open Source community objects to, has always objected to and continues to object to is Mr. McBride continually stating that some of the code that is in Linux, contributed over the past 12 years by many, many original authors, is now owned by his company when he has not shown one shred of real evidence.

Jon "maddog" Hall
Executive Director
Linux International

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (6) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Sheng Long Gradilla 12/15/03 01:01:34 PM EST

To Charles McColm:

Copyright and trademark are not the same thing. Copyright is about a published work. Trademark is about a name.

James Smith 12/14/03 11:01:43 AM EST

I agree with everything in these two letters. They both bring up some good points that show what a loser Darl is. However, I get the distinct feeling that they're both preaching to the choir. Darl's open letters have received press attention outside Linux sites, but what about these letters? And does anyone visit Linux sites other than Linux people? If anyone has anything to prove me wrong, please post it. I would love to be proven wrong. Since this case isn't really about what actually happens in court and is more about what happens in the press, I think some FUD on SCO would be nice.

Charles McColm 12/14/03 05:36:21 AM EST

The issue I'm most confused about is how SCO is even attempting to claim ownership of the UNIX trademark. The other day I was reading a Linux Magazine UK that had an advertisement by a merged SCO/Caldera and right at the very bottom, of their OWN advertisement, UNIX is a trademark of The Open Group. Did SCO think millions of people would overlook their advertising? ...yet they're still trying to convince people they own the UNIX trademark.

Ryan 12/14/03 01:39:53 AM EST

Mr. Hall missed one profit that can be obtained from open source. Knowledge. I got interested in open source because I found it so much easier to learn what I wanted to learn. It's hard to really understand how an OS works without seeing the inner workings.
And not being able to make a profit off GPL'd items. RedHat seems pretty successful dealing with it. Zend doesn't use the GPL but they have an open source license for PHP and they seem to be doing all right. MySQL was mentioned. And I believe the list goes on.
As for Mr. McBride. I have this REALLY strong feeling that you should do a little more research before you go shooting your mouth off.

Anyway. Just my one cent.

Seth Cohn 12/13/03 05:45:30 PM EST

Hall writes: ".. GPL does not allow a company to take the software created by the sweat and work of another person, add a few lines of code to it and then sell it to make a huge profit."

In fact, the GPL _does_ allow this. There is no restriction in taking a GPLed piece of code, adding lines of code (or not) and then selling it to someone for $X dollars. (1 Jillion Dollars! finger to corner of mouth). In fact, it's completely allowed so long as the buyer recieves the _same_ GPL rights (and source on demand). Why someone would purchase a GPLed product (sans support or other value added) for such an amount is another question, but in fact, a number of people out there do just such a thing, including with code that the original author has changed license terms on and no longer provides GPLed code themselves. Once a GPLed copy is out there, it's out there. Which is a good thing. Despite SCO's claims.

Javier Smaldone 12/13/03 05:02:19 PM EST

I completely agree with Young and Hall.

I think McBride must shut up his mouth. But even if he doesn't, everybody must realize what is this all about: SCO (and McBride) claims are not about laws nor rights. They are just promoting a FUD campaign (funded by you-know-who).

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...