on trusting open source companies

Dave: but you’ve hit on the head exactly why you can’t trust Sun (or Novell, or RH) any further than you can trust their licenses. I love Glynn like a brother, I like Danese, and Simon Phipps and Jon Schwartz appear to be incredibly sharp and fairly clueful, and so I’m optimistic that the company will do the right things in the future. But what if the corporate winds change? Danese is already gone (and apparently was frustrated); what if the stock slips again and Schwartz and Phipps are the sacrificial lambs? At that point, all the community has is the license, and Sun’s licensing choices… typically at best they signal that Sun is ‘first among equals’, at middling they indicate strong distrust of the community, and at worst they indicate outright attempts to block interoperability with the community. When Sun actually trusts communities, and signals as such by treating the community as equals and giving the community the power to fork (aka by putting their jewels under GPL-compatible licenses), then the community should (and I think will) trust them back. But not until then.

Re: MPL and firefox, lots of people justifiably weren’t happy until it was triple licensed (which didn’t completely resolve netscape/aol’s privileged position, but at least ameliorated the problem). I personally still don’t completely trust them (because of the trademark issues about which I’ve blogged about before) but until I or someone else comes up with a trademark license that actually respects freedom two I probably should shut up about that :) (Or maybe I mean ‘respects powerplay two… another post, I guess.)