Following Samba's criticism early this week, Sun boss Jonathan Schwartz has profoundly disagreed with the idea that open-source software is unsafe without the "no use" arrangements agreed between Microsoft and Novell.
On his blog, Schwarz candidly admits that the motive for making Java open source through the open-source GPL (General Public Licence) method was to counteract the idea that "free and open source software wasn't safe unless a royalty was being paid". Schwartz bluntly said: "That's nonsense."
"Free software can be free of royalties, and free of impediments to broadscale, global adoption and deployment. Witness what we've done with Solaris, and now, what we've done with Java. Developers are free to pick up the code, and create derivatives. Without royalty or obligation.
"Those that say open source software can't be safe for customers - or that commercially indemnified software can't foster community - are merely advancing their own agenda. Without any basis in fact."
What this riposte to the deal between Novell and Microsoft means for the Sun-Microsoft relationship isn't clear. Their relationship, similarly to the Microsoft-Novell one, had a key component relating to the parties involved agreeing not to sue each other. Novell, you might think, is merely following Sun's lead in negotiating its own arrangement with Microsoft.
Clearly Schwartz doesn't think so.