This Week in Open Source News for Feb 13 – Feb 19

With the Open Source Business conference in San Francisco on February 14 & 15, quite a bit of open source news was revealed as companies timed press releases and announcements to coincide with the event. The most significant was the Oracle acquisition of Sleepycat, which I covered in several previous blog entries. I will not cover it again here, but I encourage everyone to read the previous posts.

Sun announced that they are GPLing UltraSPARC technology along with a quote from Richard Stallman: “The free world welcomes Sun’s decision to use the Free Software Foundation’s GNU GPL for the freeing of OpenSPARC,” said Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation. This is quite an endorsement from Richard Stallman and shows that Sun is able to get support of the open source community on efforts like this one. I will be curious to see how people use this open source code and what kind of community develops for this project.

Microsoft and SugarCRM announced their new technical collaboration at OSBC, and they distributed Valentine’s Day chocolate bars that read, “Share the Love”. This will be part of Microsoft’s shared source initiative and will improve the interoperability between SugarCRM and Windows Server products. Although it sounds odd to have Microsoft at open source conferences (Microsoft even gave one of the keynotes), it is important for people to recognize that many open source software packages run on Windows in addition to Linux and other operating systems. It never ceases to amaze me to hear people say, “I can’t run open office because I run Windows.” People tend to have an automatic association between open source and Linux that is not justified. Both use open source licenses, but open source software can run on any operating system. In other words Linux is open source, but open source does not imply the use of Linux as the operating system.

The GPL debate continued this week at OSBC with a panel of lawyers leading a discussion about the new version of the license. The conversation mostly addressed questions about the license and areas where further clarification is needed, which supports the view that it is still too early to take a definitive stance on whether or not to use the license.

Scalix announced the availability of the latest version of their enterprise email and calendar solution. They demoed the web client version of this product at OSBC, a slick, fast, AJAX-based client with an Outlook look and feel.

There were too many new product releases and other news announcements to cover this week, so this is a sampling of the stories that I found the most interesting. Tune into this blog every Sunday for the best open source news of the week.