Another fork, at last….

My thoughts go out to the LibreOffice people at this moment in their efforts; it is a fragile time, and I wish them all the success in the world, and hope that Oracle learns from its recent mistakes. This seems unlikely, however.

Oracle has not yet learned the deep truth evident in Star Wars (or from observing Sun over the last decade):

“Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

The ultimate freedom of free software is not those most commonly observed: it is the freedom to fork the code, project and community in extreme circumstances.  This is the ultimate check on abuse of power of a copyright holder of free software: if the software matters, it will eventually be forked.

The process of doing such a fork is long and arduous.  I have lived the ultimate irony of having to fork the X Window System back to being a community project some years ago, while being one of its original creators.

If Oracle does not learn from history, maybe it’s James Gosling’s turn next, with Java.  Now that would be interesting….

4 Responses to “Another fork, at last….”

  1. Droid Says:

    Oracle is only interested in making money. It doesn’t need to care about forks of its open source products as long as it has enough in-house developers to keep its versions running smoothly for its customers.

    • gettys Says:

      No one cares about ineffective forks.

      It’s effective forks, in which most/all use the forked code base that matter.

      The ones that are hard on the community, are the ones that actually split the community long in the really long term, causing gratuitous confusion and trouble.

      I’m not close enough to Java to gage if a fork at this time would really be effective; of course, the FOSS versions of java have also been maturing over the last years, so it might also not matter if the Oracle/Sun codebase is the starting point.

  2. Stephen J. Hyland Says:

    Sorry to hear Smokey passed on. He was a great guy.

    Wondered what happened to you. I last saw you at the X Window Conference too many years ago when Mark Nelson and I mentioned we were building a Ada language API for X (“Oh, Ada is a brain-dead language,” you said.)

    Good to see you’re still around and still opining. I thought Oracle only existed in order to pay for the fuel Larry Ellison wastes to annoy his neighbors in the Valley. So, making money is really only their secondary interest.

    • gettys Says:

      Dunno why you think I have anything to do with Oracle; never have, never will.

      I’m working for Bell Labs these days.

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