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Open source debate hots up at Linuxworld conference

The debate over the future of open source came to the fore yesterday at the Linuxworld conference in San Francisco, with one Hewlett-Packard executive calling on IBM and Sun Microsystems to abandon their own licences and back the GNU general public licence.

The debate over the future of open source came to the fore yesterday at the Linuxworld conference in San Francisco, with one Hewlett-Packard executive calling on IBM and Sun Microsystems to abandon their own licences and back the GNU general public licence.

Martin Fink, vice-president and general manager of HP’s non-stop enterprise division for open source and Linux, argued that the proliferation of open source licence types left too much scope for incompatability.

He said steps were now being taken to limit open source licensing, but still more needed to be done.

But his remarks prompted a strong response from Sun’s Russ Castronovo, who said in a statement that HP should stop “sniping from the outlands of participation in the open source community” and concentrate on dislodging Sun as the leading contributor of open-source code among commercial companies.

Castronovo said HP and Fink needed to recognise that “there isn’t one hammer for all nails and not one licence for all projects.”

IBM did not comment on Fink’s remarks, but some Linuxworld delegates agreed it would be preferable if open-source licensing was simplified.

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