Monday, March 21, 2016

The future of open-source as we know it...

4 August 2008

how far is far ?

Linux is the new frontier, where is it going to take us, especially since monopolies exist in the desktop space as well as in the miniaturised & internet world? Is entrepreneurship in the IC&T world over-rated ? Here are some basics, for us to consider...


(Berkeley Software Distribution) The software distribution facility of the
Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the University of California at Berkeley.
CSRG helped develop the TCP/IP protocols for DARPA and the ARPAnet and released
them in the early 1980s along with the Unix source code from AT&T. BSD charged for
the media, and a license from AT&T was required for use. Throughout the 1980s,
this operating system release from BSD was known as "BSD Unix."

Bill Joy ran the group until 1982 when he co-founded Sun Microsystems, bringing
4.2BSD with him as the foundation of SunOS. The last BSD version released by BSD
was 4.4BSD.

Many Offshoots
In the 1990s, the AT&T kernel was removed from the BSD release, and several
different groups developed new kernels to replace the AT&T code.

BSD/386 and BSD/OS

In 1991, former CSRG members founded Berkeley Software Design, Inc.,
Colorado Springs, CO, and released BSD/386 for the Intel platform.
A decade later, Wind River Systems ( acquired
BSDI's software assets and turned the OS into its
BSD/OS Internet Server product.

FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD

Out of all open source BSD operating systems, FreeBSD ( is the
most widely used. It runs on Intel and Alpha platforms and is known for its
ease of use. NetBSD ( runs on the greatest number of platforms,
and OpenBSD ( is the most security-oriented. OpenBSD evolved
from NetBSD and also runs on a variety of hardware. A long-established BSD
support site can be found at

BS 7799

(British Standard 7799) A code of practice for information assurance originally
developed in the U.K. in 1995. It later became the basis of the ISO 17799

bank switching

Engaging and disengaging electronic circuits. Bank switching is used when the
design of a system prohibits all circuits from being addressed or activated at
the same time, requiring that one unit be turned on while the others are
turned off.

Banyan Vines


(ePresence, Westboro, MA) A well-established consulting company specializing in
systems integration and secure identity management that was acquired in 2004 by
Unisys. Its history dates back to 1983 when it was founded as
Banyan Systems, Inc., named after the Banyan tree.

Banyan was known for its sophisticated VINES network operating system and
Streettalk directory products, which were way ahead of their time and which became
dominant in federal government before Novell and Microsoft made major inroads.
Banyan discontinued its products in 1999, but used its vast experience to
reposition itself as a consulting services organization. In 2000, Banyan acquired
ePresence, Inc., a privately held company specializing in Web design and
development, and changed its name to reflect its e-business offerings.
See VINES, Streettalk, BeyondMail and Intelligent Messaging.


Copyright Policy



      Copyright law is complex, OpenBSD policy is simple - OpenBSD strives to
maintain the spirit of the original Berkeley Unix copyrights.

      OpenBSD can exist as it does today because of the example set by the
Computer Systems Research Group at Berkeley and the battles which they and
others fought to create a relatively un-encumbered Unix source distribution.

      The ability of a freely redistributable "Berkeley" Unix to move forward
on a competitive basis with other operating systems depends on the willingness
of the various development groups to exchange code amongst themselves and with
other projects. Understanding the legal issues surrounding copyright is
fundamental to the ability to exchange and re-distribute code, while honoring
the spirit of the copyright and concept of attribution is fundamental to promoting
the cooperation of the people involved.


      The Berkeley Copyright

      The Berkeley copyright poses no restrictions on private or commercial use
of the software and imposes only simple and uniform requirements for maintaining
copyright notices in redistributed versions and crediting the originator of the
material only in advertising.

      For instance:

       * Copyright (c) 1982, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1993
       * The Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.
       * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
       * modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
       * are met:
       * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
       *    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
       * 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
       *    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
       *    documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
       * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
       *    must display the following acknowledgement:
       * This product includes software developed by the University of
       * California, Berkeley and its contributors.
       * 4. Neither the name of the University nor the names of its contributors
       *    may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software
       *    without specific prior written permission.
       * SUCH DAMAGE.

      Berkeley rescinded the 3rd term (the advertising term) on 22 July 1999.
Verbatim copies of the Berkeley license in the OpenBSD tree have that term removed.
In addition, many 3rd-party BSD-style licenses consist solely of the first two

      Because the OpenBSD copyright imposes no conditions beyond those imposed by
the Berkeley copyright, OpenBSD can hope to share the same wide distribution and
applicability as the Berkeley distributions. It follows however, that OpenBSD
cannot include material which includes copyrights which are more restrictive than
the Berkeley copyright, or must relegate this material to a secondary status,
i.e. OpenBSD as a whole is freely redistributable, but some optional components
may not be.


      Copyright Law

      While the overall subject of copyright law is far beyond the scope of this document, some basics are in order. Under the current copyright law, copyrights are implicit in the creation of a new work and reside with the creator, unless otherwise assigned. In general the copyright applies only to the new work, not the material the work was derived from, nor those portions of the derivative material included in the new work.

      Copyright law admits to three general categories of works:

      Original Work
          A new work that is not derived from an existing work.
      Derivative Work
          Work that is derived from, includes or amends existing works.
          A work that is a compilation of existing new and derivative works.

      The fundamental concept is that there is primacy of the copyright, that is a
copyright of a derivative work does not affect the rights held by the owner of the
copyright of the original work, rather only the part added. Likewise the copyright
of a compilation does not affect the rights of the owner of the included works,
only the compilation as an entity.

      It is vitally important to understand that copyrights are broad protections
as defined by national and international copyright law. The "copyright notices"
usually included in source files are not copyrights, but rather notices that a
party asserts that they hold copyright to the material or to part of the material.
Typically these notices are associated with license terms which grant permissions
subject to copyright law and with disclaimers that state the position of the
copyright holder/distributor with respect to liability surrounding use of the


      Permissions - the flip side

      Because copyrights arise from the creation of a work, rather than through a
registration process, there needs to be a practical way to extend permission to
use a work beyond what might be allowed by "fair use" provisions of the copyright

      This permission typically takes the form of a "release" or "license" included
 in the work, which grants the additional uses beyond those granted by copyright
law, usually subject to a variety of conditions. At one extreme sits
"public domain" where the originator asserts that he imposes no restrictions on use
of the material, at the other restrictive clauses that actually grant no additional
rights or impose restrictive, discriminatory or impractical conditions on use of
the work.

      Again, an important point to note is that the release and conditions can only
 apply to the portion of the work that was originated by the copyright holder - the
holder of a copyright on a derivative work can neither grant additional permissions
for use of the original work, nor impose more restrictive conditions for use of that

      Because copyright arises from the creation of a work and not the text or a
registration process, removing or altering a copyright notice or associated release
terms has no bearing on the existence of the copyright, rather all that is
accomplished is to cast doubt upon whatever rights the person making the
modifications had to use the material in the first place. Likewise, adding terms
and conditions in conflict with the original terms and conditions does not
supersede them, rather it casts doubts on the rights of the person making the
amendments to use the material and creates confusion as to whether anyone can use
the amended version or derivatives thereof.


   Finally, releases are generally binding on the material that they are
distributed with. This means that if the originator of a work distributes that work
with a release granting certain permissions, those permissions apply as stated,
without discrimination, to all persons legitimately possessing a copy of the work.
That means that having granted a permission, the copyright holder can not
retroactively say that an individual or class of individuals are no longer
granted those permissions. Likewise should the copyright holder decide to
"go commercial" he can not revoke permissions already granted for the use of the
work as distributed, though he may impose more restrictive permissions in his
future distributions of that work.

      Specific Cases

      This section attempts to summarize the position of OpenBSD relative to some
commonly encountered copyrights.


          The Berkeley copyright is the model for the OpenBSD copyright. It retains
the rights of the copyright holder, while imposing minimal conditions on the use of
the copyrighted material. Material with Berkeley copyrights, or copyrights closely
adhering to the Berkeley model can generally be included in OpenBSD.


          As part of its settlement with AT&T, Berkeley included an AT&T copyright
notice on some of the files in 4.4BSD lite and lite2. The terms of this license
are identical to the standard Berkeley license.

          Additionally, OpenBSD includes some other AT&T code with non-restrictive
copyrights, such as the reference implementation of awk.


          Caldera (now known as the SCO group) is the current owner of the Unix code
 copyrights. On 23 January 2002, the original Unix code (versions 1 through seven,
including 32V) was freed by Caldera. This code is now available under a
4-term BSD-style license. As a result, it is now possible to incorporate real
Unix code into OpenBSD (though this code is quite old and generally requires
significant changes to bring it up to date).

      DEC, Sun, other manufacturers/software houses.

          In general OpenBSD does not include material copyrighted by manufacturers
or software houses. Material may be included where the copyright owner has granted
general permission for reuse without conditions, with terms similar to the
Berkeley copyright, or where the material is the product of an employee and the
employer's copyright notice effectively releases any rights they might have to the

     Carnegie-Mellon (CMU, Mach)

          The Carnegie-Mellon copyright is similar to the Berkeley copyright, except
that it requests that derivative works be made available to Carnegie-Mellon.
Because this is only a request and not a condition, such material can still be
included in OpenBSD. It should be noted that existing versions of Mach are still
subject to AT&T copyrights, which prevents the general distribution of Mach sources.


          The original Apache copyright is similar to the Berkeley copyright,
except that it stipulates that products derived from the code may not have
"Apache" in their name. The purpose of this clause is to avoid a situation in
which another party releases a modified version of the code named in such a way
to make users think that it is the "official" version. This is not an issue with
OpenBSD because OpenBSD is a Compilation, and not a Derived Work. Source code
published under version 2 of the Apache license cannot be included into
OpenBSD. As a consequence, OpenBSD now maintains its own version of Apache based
on version 1.3.29. The OpenBSD version includes many enhancements and bugfixes.


          The ISC copyright is functionally equivalent to a two-term BSD copyright
with language removed that is made unnecessary by the Berne convention. This is the
preferred license for new code incorporated into OpenBSD. A sample license is
included in the source tree as /usr/src/share/misc/license.template.

      GNU General Public License, GPL, LGPL, copyleft, etc.

          The GNU Public License and licenses modeled on it impose the restriction
that source code must be distributed or made available for all works that are
derivatives of the GNU copyrighted code.

          While this may be a noble strategy in terms of software sharing,
it is a condition that is typically unacceptable for commercial use of software.
As a consequence, software bound by the GPL terms can not be included in the kernel
or "runtime" of OpenBSD, though software subject to GPL terms may be included as
development tools or as part of the system that are "optional" as long as such use
does not result in OpenBSD as a whole becoming subject to the GPL terms.

          As an example, GCC and other GNU tools are included in the OpenBSD tool
chain. However, it is quite possible to distribute a system for many applications
without a tool chain, or the distributor can choose to include a tool chain as an
optional bundle which conforms to the GPL terms.


          Much of OpenBSD is originally based on and evolved from NetBSD, since
some of the OpenBSD developers were involved in the NetBSD project. The general
NetBSD license terms are compatible with the Berkeley license and permit such use.
Material subject only to the general NetBSD license can generally be included in

          In the past, NetBSD has included material copyrighted by individuals
who have imposed license conditions beyond that of the general NetBSD license,
but granted the NetBSD Foundation license to distribute the material. Such material
can not be included in OpenBSD as long as the conditions imposed are at odds with
the OpenBSD license terms or releases from those terms are offered on a
discriminatory basis.


          Most of FreeBSD is also based on Berkeley licensed material or includes
copyright notices based on the Berkeley model. Such material can be included in
OpenBSD, while those parts that are subject to GPL or various individual copyright
terms that are at odds with the OpenBSD license can not be included in OpenBSD.



          Most of Linux is subject to GPL style licensing terms and therefore can
not be included in OpenBSD. Individual components may be eligible, subject to the
terms of the originator's copyright notices. Note that Linux "distributions" may
also be subject to additional copyright claims of the distributing organization,
either as a compilation or on material included that is not part of the Linux core.

      X, XFree86, X.Org

          X, X.Org or XFree86 are not parts of OpenBSD, rather X.Org and parts of
XFree86 3.3.6 are distributed with many OpenBSD ports as a convenience to the user,
subject to applicable license terms.

      Shareware, Charityware, Freeware, etc.

          Most "shareware" copyright notices impose conditions for redistribution,
use or visibility that are at conflict with the OpenBSD project goals. Review on a
case-by-case basis is required as to whether the wording of the conditions is
acceptable in terms of conditions being requested vs. demanded and whether the
spirit of the conditions is compatible with goals of the OpenBSD project.

      Public Domain

          While material that is truly entered into the "Public Domain" can be
included in OpenBSD, review is required on a case by case basis. Frequently the
"public domain" assertion is made by someone who does not really hold all rights
under Copyright law to grant that status or there are a variety of conditions
imposed on use. For a work to be truly in the "Public Domain" all rights are
abandoned and the material is offered without restrictions.


$OpenBSD: policy.html,v 1.25 2007/04/25 06:43:32 tedu Exp $ 

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