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From "George C. Hawkins" <george.hawk...@pobox.com>
Subject Fw: Software company falsely blames SUN for forcing them closed source?
Date Wed, 10 Oct 2001 20:15:25 GMT
I recently sent the following e-mail to a large number of people within
SUN (and a couple of people outside SUN). While people who have been
following goings on at Enhydra.org may view this as rather old news, I
think it is important. The question is "are the licensing conditions
attached to J2EE technologies incompatible with Open Source
development?" A company called Lutris claims they are, if this is really
true it has very important implications for JBoss, Tomcat and similar
projects.  While most of us are not in a position to definitively
confirm or refute Lutris's claim I felt SUN would have the legal muscle
and the motivation to do so - hence my e-mail to them. However not one
person from SUN responded so I'm forwarding it to a number of groups in
the hope of encouraging a clear and definitive answer to the question.
Until we have such an answer I feel the confusion caused in the
community will be harmful to the development and acceptance of Open
Source products such as JBoss and Tomcat.

[ Please also look at http://instantdb.tripod.com/
  Sincere apologies to people who are receiving this e-mail for a
  second time - I promise I won't disturb you again. ]

--------------------[ The original e-mail follows ]---------------------

[ Note: some non-SUN people have been CCed a copy of this. ]

Dear SUN (and SUN employees),

I know that there are many open source project based around SUN
technologies and that SUN actively backs many of them. Two of my
favorites are JBoss, a J2EE implementation, and Tomcat, the SUN reference
implementation for JSP and Servlets. Both these developments have been
great successes and SUN's licensing conditions for the relevant
technologies do not seem to have hampered the development of either.

Despite this a company called Lutris has recently claimed that it has
been forced to close source all future development of its previously
open source Enterprise Enhydra J2EE application server due to its
failure to negotiate a license agreement with SUN. See this page:


While Lutris uses wording that's deliberately ambiguous and so hard to
pin down they're definitely placing the blame squarely at SUN's door.
This can be clearly seen in this article where NewsForge quote Keith
Bigelow, Lutris Vice President of Marketing, practically verbatim:


Obviously Lutris's claims have worried those using other Open Source
projects based on SUN technologies. JBoss have issued reassurances,
saying "Lutris' decision to close its source seems clearly driven by its
own business considerations and not by Sun.", see this page:


The confusion and worry created by Lutris is clearly bad for SUN and bad
for the Open Source community (that SUN has supported so much).

While individuals like myself have had little luck trying to push Lutris
on these issues I think SUN is in a position to demand that Lutris
retracts any false statements and clarifies areas where they have
deliberately tried to cause confusion.


George C. Hawkins

PS Lutris have done similar things in the past to what they are now
doing with Enhydra Enterprise, coming up at the time with different
reasons to the current "it's all SUN's fault" excuse - so making their
current claims even less credible. See this page for a fuller discussion
of this and previous events:


PPS I addressed this letter to SUN, clearly SUN is many people,
engineers, PR people, VPs etc. While only some can respond definitively
on SUN's behalf to a letter such as this (just the lawyers I suspect), I
think it's relevant to all. Please forward to anyone you think should
see it who isn't in the original CC list - thanks. My apologies to any
who think they were not an appropriate recipient for this e-mail.

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