Discussion:
ZFS on SuSE-anyone, Distributed File System...
(too old to reply)
Verner Kjærsgaard
2008-06-10 20:35:10 UTC
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Hi list,

- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?

- or another Distributed file system. I may need a file system, that
will allow me to add storage ad hoc.

Any hints, links?

As always, thanks!
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Verner Kjærsgaard
Novell Certified Linux Professional 10035701
www.os-academy.dk +45 56964223
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Verner Kjærsgaard
2008-06-10 20:57:12 UTC
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Quick question - what are the advantages of ZFS over XFS?
I'm not trying to start a flame war but as a happy XFS user wonder
what ZFS has to offer>
Later -
Mike
Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
Hi list,
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all feasible?
- or another Distributed file system. I may need a file system, that will allow me to add storage ad hoc.
Any hints, links?
As always, thanks!
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Verner Kjærsgaard
Novell Certified Linux Professional 10035701
www.os-academy.dk +45 56964223
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I really don't know, if any? Are they not two different beasts?
I tried looking for info about XFS, any good links, homepage?
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Verner Kjærsgaard
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-11 00:35:03 UTC
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Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?
No, because the License Sun choose for ZFS is incompatible with the GPL
(which I think is why Sun did choose it). So unless Sun changes the
license, there is no legal way to use ZFS in Linux.

Philipp
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Mark V
2008-06-11 00:38:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
Hi list,
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?
- or another Distributed file system. I may need a file system, that will
allow me to add storage ad hoc.
Any hints, links?
PVFS2 might do what you need?
Mark
Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
As always, thanks!
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Med venlig hilsen/best regards
Verner Kjærsgaard
Novell Certified Linux Professional 10035701
www.os-academy.dk +45 56964223
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Randall R Schulz
2008-06-11 00:46:14 UTC
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Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?
No, because the License Sun choose for ZFS is incompatible with the
GPL (which I think is why Sun did choose it). So unless Sun changes
the license, there is no legal way to use ZFS in Linux.
Don't confuse "use" with "distribute." Even if a piece of software
(application, driver, file system, etc.) is not compatible with Linux's
zealous free software license, it does not follow that no end use may
incorporate that GPL-incompatible software into their own installation.

We have not yet reached the point where processor hardware incorporates
license enforcement circuits or microcode...
Post by Philipp Thomas
Philipp
Randall Schulz
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Druid
2008-06-11 00:04:29 UTC
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Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
Hi list,
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?
- or another Distributed file system. I may need a file system, that will
allow me to add storage ad hoc.
Any hints, links?
I haven't tried, but the only way to use zfs on linux would be through
FUSE, in userland, due to license incompatibility. Aditionaly, zfs is
not a distributed file system (but indeed would let you add storage
later, as it has some sort of pool, like in an lvm volume).

ZFS through FUSE would have worse performance, I guess. It was asked
the advantages of ZFS, and there are lots (check the wikipedia
articles), mainly end-to-end data integrity (imho) and other
functionalities (copy on write, snapshots, no need to format, no need
to fsck, simplified syntax for userland tools, etc). It's only
possible because its layout somewhat breaks the usualy fs layout in
linux, incorporating for example, the raid layer in the filesystem.

This video shows a lot of what it can do:
http://opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/demos/basics/

The closest thing in linux land would be oracle's btrfs, but its beta
or alpha, dunno. Aditionaly ext4 may give you some functionalities
that zfs has (snapshots, copy-on-write).

For distributed file systems you would have to take a look at lustrefs
(also from Sun), IBM's GPFS, Red Hat's GFS, openAFS, it varies a lot
hardware/software/application-wise

Storage specific filesystems, like SAM-QFS (SUN), ocfs2 (oracle) are
yet another thing, and they are more suitable when there is a SAN.

Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_file_systems#Distributed_file_systems
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_disk_file_system and others
for a good start

Cheers

Marcio
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Evens Garde
2008-06-11 05:26:37 UTC
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Post by Druid
Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
Hi list,
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?
- or another Distributed file system. I may need a file system, that will
allow me to add storage ad hoc.
Any hints, links?
I haven't tried, but the only way to use zfs on linux would be through
FUSE, in userland, due to license incompatibility.
How does your CPU figure out that a kernel module has a
"incompatible" license?

How do make and g++ figure out that the source code has
a "incompatible" license?

I have quite a bit of non-GPL code on my machine, some of
them even kernal modules...and it all runs just fine.
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Cristian Rodríguez
2008-06-11 05:45:42 UTC
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Post by Evens Garde
How does your CPU figure out that a kernel module has a
"incompatible" license?
Your CPU doesnt :P the kernel identifies a propietary module , adds a
"taint" flag and emit a warning.
Post by Evens Garde
How do make and g++ figure out that the source code has
a "incompatible" license?
huh ? what has the compiler to do with this discussion ? obviously the
mission of it is to compile stuff not being your virtual lawyer, also a
binary X is not derivated work of the compiler..
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SUSE LINUX Products GmbH
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Chuck Norem
2008-06-11 05:52:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Evens Garde
How does your CPU figure out that a kernel module has a
"incompatible" license?
Wikipedia offers an explanation of the licensing issues. Here's a quote:

Linux

Porting ZFS to Linux is complicated by the fact that the GNU General
Public License, which governs the Linux kernel, prohibits linking with
code under certain licenses, such as CDDL, the license ZFS is released
under.[39] One solution to this problem is to port ZFS to Linux's FUSE
system so the filesystem runs in userspace instead. A project to do
this was sponsored by Google's Summer of Code program in 2006, and is
in Beta stage as of March 2008.[40] Running a file system outside the
kernel on traditional Unix-like systems can have a significant
performance impact. However, NTFS-3G (another file system driver built
on FUSE) performs well when compared to other traditional file system
drivers.[41] This shows that excellent performance is possible with
ZFS on Linux after proper optimization. Sun Microsystems has stated
that a Linux port is being investigated.[42]


The full entry is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS
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Dominique Leuenberger
2008-06-11 06:16:53 UTC
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Post by Philipp Thomas
No, because the License Sun choose for ZFS is incompatible with the GPL
(which I think is why Sun did choose it). So unless Sun changes the
license, there is no legal way to use ZFS in Linux.
At this time ZFS is under CDDL, but Sun already advertised that openSolaris, and also ZFS shall be put under GPL.
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Evens Garde
2008-06-11 06:25:27 UTC
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Post by Cristian Rodríguez
Post by Evens Garde
How does your CPU figure out that a kernel module has a
"incompatible" license?
Your CPU doesnt :P the kernel identifies a propietary module , adds a
"taint" flag and emit a warning.
Post by Evens Garde
How do make and g++ figure out that the source code has
a "incompatible" license?
huh ? what has the compiler to do with this discussion ? obviously the
mission of it is to compile stuff not being your virtual lawyer, also a
binary X is not derivated work of the compiler..
Which is my point, exactly.
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Cristian Rodríguez
2008-06-11 06:29:03 UTC
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Post by Dominique Leuenberger
At this time ZFS is under CDDL, but Sun already advertised that openSolaris, and also ZFS shall be put under GPL.
So we have to wait for real actions instead of good intentions.
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-11 10:42:56 UTC
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Post by Randall R Schulz
Don't confuse "use" with "distribute."
Sorry, I meant that the license makes it impossible to directly port it
to Linux.
Post by Randall R Schulz
Even if a piece of software (application, driver, file system, etc.) is
not compatible with Linux's zealous free software license,
The GPL isn't zealous. There simply are licenses incompatible with it
because they add additional restrictions.

Philipp
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Rafa Grimán
2008-06-11 11:16:56 UTC
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Hi :)
Post by Verner Kjærsgaard
Hi list,
- has anyone tried SUN's ZFS on SuSE? Can it be done, is it at all
feasible?
- or another Distributed file system. I may need a file system, that
will allow me to add storage ad hoc.
Any hints, links?
As always, thanks!
ZFS is not a distributed file system, it doesn't provide various hosts
concurrent access to one file system.

ZFS is a file system that integrates volume management, RAID capabilities and
file system all in one.

Are you looking for distributed file systems, parallel filesystems, ...? What
exactly are your needs?

Rafa
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Randall R Schulz
2008-06-11 13:12:27 UTC
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Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
Don't confuse "use" with "distribute."
Sorry, I meant that the license makes it impossible to directly port
it to Linux.
Porting is technological activity. A license cannot prevent it.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
Even if a piece of software (application, driver, file system, etc.)
is not compatible with Linux's zealous free software license,
The GPL isn't zealous. There simply are licenses incompatible with it
because they add additional restrictions.
Yes. It's the Linux developers who are zealous.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Philipp
Randall Schulz
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-11 15:50:21 UTC
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On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 06:12:27 -0700, Randall R Schulz wrote:

Sigh, seems you don't want to understand me.
Post by Randall R Schulz
Porting is technological activity. A license cannot prevent it.
Of cause not, but using the result of a porting can be prohibited by a
license. And a ZFS kernel driver breaks the GPL. Just like binary-only
kernel drivers do.

Philipp
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John Andersen
2008-06-11 16:56:27 UTC
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Post by Philipp Thomas
Sigh, seems you don't want to understand me.
Post by Randall R Schulz
Porting is technological activity. A license cannot prevent it.
Of cause not, but using the result of a porting can be prohibited by a
license. And a ZFS kernel driver breaks the GPL. Just like binary-only
kernel drivers do.
Sigh, it seems YOU are having problems shedding your world view....

It is not prohibited to port, or using the result.
It is merely prohibited to redistribute.
Joe User can do what he wishes. Mega Corp can do as they wish.

Only distro packagers are prohibited.
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-11 18:00:42 UTC
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Post by John Andersen
Sigh, it seems YOU are having problems shedding your world view....
OK, then I'll make it extra precise: given that Suns CDDL is
incompatible with the GPL, no one distributing a Linux kernel can also
offer the ported ZFS. And because of that, porting ZFS isn't very
attractive.

Philipp
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John Andersen
2008-06-11 18:27:15 UTC
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On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 11:00 AM, Philipp Thomas
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by John Andersen
Sigh, it seems YOU are having problems shedding your world view....
OK, then I'll make it extra precise: given that Suns CDDL is
incompatible with the GPL, no one distributing a Linux kernel can also
offer the ported ZFS. And because of that, porting ZFS isn't very
attractive.
Ok, Granted, now that you've demonstrated you can at least
appreciate the end-user's point of view.

Not attractive to Distros or companies like Novell to spend any
amount of time on, because they can't really distribute it.
(They could spend the time, and that might be time well spent,
but they could not include it in Opensuse or SLED/S.)

However, it sounds like a really nifty file system, and, if a way
were to be found to avoid having to have it run in userland
someone like Packman or Guru could package it.


Believe it or not, Philipp, I'm not on your case, I just think
its important to state clearly the limitations imposed by
the GPL other than stating "its prohibited to use it" or
" the license makes it impossible to directly port it
to Linux.".

Neither of these is true. Its merely prohibited to be distributed
WITH Linux.
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Jim Flanagan
2008-06-11 21:01:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Andersen
On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 11:00 AM, Philipp Thomas
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by John Andersen
Sigh, it seems YOU are having problems shedding your world view....
OK, then I'll make it extra precise: given that Suns CDDL is
incompatible with the GPL, no one distributing a Linux kernel can also
offer the ported ZFS. And because of that, porting ZFS isn't very
attractive.
Ok, Granted, now that you've demonstrated you can at least
appreciate the end-user's point of view.
Not attractive to Distros or companies like Novell to spend any
amount of time on, because they can't really distribute it.
(They could spend the time, and that might be time well spent,
but they could not include it in Opensuse or SLED/S.)
However, it sounds like a really nifty file system, and, if a way
were to be found to avoid having to have it run in userland
someone like Packman or Guru could package it.
Believe it or not, Philipp, I'm not on your case, I just think
its important to state clearly the limitations imposed by
the GPL other than stating "its prohibited to use it" or
" the license makes it impossible to directly port it
to Linux.".
Neither of these is true. Its merely prohibited to be distributed
WITH Linux.
Not to add fuel to this already simmering fire, but the fact that a user
can use a certain software package but not distribute (without making
those changes public under the GPL) is a feature of the GPL. I may not
be a feature of the CDDL. I'm not saying it is or isn't, I just don't
know. My point is you can't assume rights under one license (for the
user) is the same under a different license. I am not familiar with the
CDDL at all. Licensing can be tricky. That's why they have so many high
dollar attorneys in that field.

Jim
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Nico Sabbi
2008-06-11 21:54:27 UTC
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Post by John Andersen
On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 11:00 AM, Philipp Thomas
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by John Andersen
Sigh, it seems YOU are having problems shedding your world view....
OK, then I'll make it extra precise: given that Suns CDDL is
incompatible with the GPL, no one distributing a Linux kernel can also
offer the ported ZFS. And because of that, porting ZFS isn't very
attractive.
Ok, Granted, now that you've demonstrated you can at least
appreciate the end-user's point of view.
Not attractive to Distros or companies like Novell to spend any
amount of time on, because they can't really distribute it.
(They could spend the time, and that might be time well spent,
but they could not include it in Opensuse or SLED/S.)
However, it sounds like a really nifty file system, and, if a way
were to be found to avoid having to have it run in userland
someone like Packman or Guru could package it.
I use it every day, and although it works pretty well
unfortunately it's not as stable as SomeoNe wants to sell it:
just follow zfs-***@opensolaris.org to find out.
It's especially bad for running databases on top of it,
unless you disable certain caching and I/O transactionality features
that somehow defeat the purpose of running zfs.
To me it seems that -in order to run well- applications (especially
databases) must be written with a certain awareness of the
features of zfs.
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-11 18:03:32 UTC
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Post by Randall R Schulz
Yes. It's the Linux developers who are zealous.
Pray tell me why using the GPL makes a developer zealous.

Philipp
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Randall R Schulz
2008-06-11 18:54:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
Yes. It's the Linux developers who are zealous.
Pray tell me why using the GPL makes a developer zealous.
I didn't say that. I said the Linux developers are zealous in their
attitude toward free software.

It's an opinion. You don't have to agree. But their attitude towards
hardware and software vendors that don't share their philosophy of free
software is religious and generally counterproductive.

And it's more than a little ironic that huge, extremely profitable
companies can see immense bottom-line benefits from using Linux (I'm
not talking about Novell now) without having to redistribute the
software and systems they build and deploy on Linux while a handful of
Linux kernel developers make life difficult for very many end users and
hinder wider adoption of Linux by excluding non-GPL and binary-only
drivers from distributions.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Philipp
Randall Schulz
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-12 03:30:21 UTC
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Post by Randall R Schulz
I didn't say that. I said the Linux developers are zealous in their
attitude toward free software.
Then I'll rephrase: please tell me why you think that that attitude is
zealous. I just want to understand.
Post by Randall R Schulz
It's an opinion. You don't have to agree. But their attitude towards
hardware and software vendors that don't share their philosophy of free
software is religious and generally counterproductive.
Ah yes, so forcing Linksys and other companies to make the sources of
their Linux firmware open is counterproductive? Only the GPL gave the
lever to do that.
Post by Randall R Schulz
while a handful of Linux kernel developers make life difficult for very
many end users and hinder wider adoption of Linux by excluding
non-GPL and binary-only drivers from distributions.
It's not only the Linux kernel developers using the GPL. GCC, binutils,
findutils, shellutils and glibc all use the GPL (just to name a few).

Philipp
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Randall R Schulz
2008-06-12 04:47:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
I didn't say that. I said the Linux developers are zealous in their
attitude toward free software.
Then I'll rephrase: please tell me why you think that that attitude
is zealous. I just want to understand.
I don't know what more to say. They are dogmatic about a definition of
free software that goes far beyond open source.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
It's an opinion. You don't have to agree. But their attitude towards
hardware and software vendors that don't share their philosophy of
free software is religious and generally counterproductive.
Ah yes, so forcing Linksys and other companies to make the sources of
their Linux firmware open is counterproductive? Only the GPL gave the
lever to do that.
Now it's your turn to explain to me how that provides "a lever." And if
it does, why doesn't it work for all hardware vendors?
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
while a handful of Linux kernel developers make life difficult for
very many end users and hinder wider adoption of Linux by excluding
non-GPL and binary-only drivers from distributions.
It's not only the Linux kernel developers using the GPL. GCC,
binutils, findutils, shellutils and glibc all use the GPL (just to
name a few).
But those things don't preclude end users of Linux from using hardware
from vendors who wish to keep their intellectual property a secret.

The GPL is very asymmetrical. You can use all those Gnu tools to produce
proprietary software, but you can't incorporate proprietary software
into the Linux kernel because of the GPL's contagion provisions. No one
is helped by that.


And I'm sure you know that there are more than a few developers out
there, of both proprietary and open-source software, who will have
nothing to do with GPL-licensed components, no matter how valuable they
might be to their projects.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Philipp
Randall Schulz
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John Andersen
2008-06-12 05:15:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Randall R Schulz
The GPL is very asymmetrical. You can use all those Gnu tools to produce
proprietary software, but you can't incorporate proprietary software
into the Linux kernel because of the GPL's contagion provisions. No one
is helped by that.
Further, the practice of placing binary drivers external to the device is an
engineering decision that is not likely to go away any time soon. Its a
sound practice which allows the same hardware to be upgraded with a
new software load preserving every user's investment while extending
functionality.

There is only starting to be begrudging acceptance of binary firmware (which
must be loaded into and run by the device) and still no acceptance what so ever
of binary blob drivers (which are executed by the CPU).

Modems, WIFI cards, Hardwired Nics, Video cards, some disk controllers
and some printers are all affected by this today, with more of these devices
on the way.

Sooner or later the kernel developers will have to find a way to incorporate
and/or accommodate this type of hardware and its associated binary
drivers.

Just saying NO isn't going to work for ever. 5 more years of Leopard
development and enhancement might squeeze Linux out, not because
its better, but just because Leopard does not refuse to grow and play
well with others.
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Evens Garde
2008-06-12 06:01:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Randall R Schulz
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by Randall R Schulz
I didn't say that. I said the Linux developers are zealous in their
attitude toward free software.
Then I'll rephrase: please tell me why you think that that attitude
is zealous. I just want to understand.
I don't know what more to say. They are dogmatic about a definition of
free software that goes far beyond open source.
All TOOOOOOOO true.
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Druid
2008-06-12 11:10:51 UTC
Permalink
(bla bla bla)
Just saying NO isn't going to work for ever. 5 more years of Leopard
development and enhancement might squeeze Linux out, not because
its better, but just because Leopard does not refuse to grow and play
well with others.
Don't like the license? Don't use gpl software, then. It's that simple.
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John Andersen
2008-06-12 17:31:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Druid
(bla bla bla)
Just saying NO isn't going to work for ever. 5 more years of Leopard
development and enhancement might squeeze Linux out, not because
its better, but just because Leopard does not refuse to grow and play
well with others.
Don't like the license? Don't use gpl software, then. It's that simple.
Isn't that exactly what I just said?

Why should an entire operating system dwindle to obscurity simply
because it fails to recognize and deal with the fact that the boundary
between hardware and software have permanently changed?
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John E. Perry
2008-06-13 02:23:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Andersen
Post by Druid
(bla bla bla)
Just saying NO isn't going to work for ever. 5 more years of Leopard
development and enhancement might squeeze Linux out, not because
its better, but just because Leopard does not refuse to grow and play
well with others.
Don't like the license? Don't use gpl software, then. It's that simple.
Isn't that exactly what I just said?
Why should an entire operating system dwindle to obscurity simply
because it fails to recognize and deal with the fact that the boundary
between hardware and software have permanently changed?
Uh, guys, a bit of history?

Unix -- bsd with it -- was headed down the tubes, unable to resist the
Microsoft steamroller. No small part of that was that, while dozens of
companies took bsd and made their own little mods (for which they
charged tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars), no one gave anything
away, either to each other, or to BSD. So, like all the rest of unix,
bsd was stagnating while MS was buying people to improve their products.

Linux was the first OS to buck the downward spiral because everyone who
modified it had to give their mods back to the community. So linux
advanced by leaps and bounds.

Personally, I believe linux brought bsd back from death's door because
this brilliantly successful example of the GPL at work prompted
previously insular bsd programmers to break down the fences they'd built
between one another. I've heard that bsd started from a better base,
and I have no reason to doubt that, but linux has moved much faster
until fairly recently, when bsd ideologs started cooperating more with
one another.

Now what could possibly reverse the move of IBM, hp, Novell, etc., etc.,
to point of causing linux to "dwindle to obscurity"? One more
absorption of bsd into a proprietary clod -- no matter how big the clod
-- isn't going to change the trend of 25 years.

John Perry
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Evens Garde
2008-06-13 02:37:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by John E. Perry
Post by John Andersen
Post by Druid
(bla bla bla)
Just saying NO isn't going to work for ever. 5 more years of Leopard
development and enhancement might squeeze Linux out, not because
its better, but just because Leopard does not refuse to grow and play
well with others.
Don't like the license? Don't use gpl software, then. It's that simple.
Isn't that exactly what I just said?
Why should an entire operating system dwindle to obscurity simply
because it fails to recognize and deal with the fact that the boundary
between hardware and software have permanently changed?
Uh, guys, a bit of history?
Unix -- bsd with it -- was headed down the tubes, unable to resist the
Microsoft steamroller. No small part of that was that, while dozens of
companies took bsd and made their own little mods (for which they
charged tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars), no one gave anything
away, either to each other, or to BSD. So, like all the rest of unix,
bsd was stagnating while MS was buying people to improve their products.
Linux was the first OS to buck the downward spiral because everyone who
modified it had to give their mods back to the community. So linux
advanced by leaps and bounds.
Personally, I believe linux brought bsd back from death's door because
this brilliantly successful example of the GPL at work prompted
previously insular bsd programmers to break down the fences they'd built
between one another. I've heard that bsd started from a better base,
and I have no reason to doubt that, but linux has moved much faster
until fairly recently, when bsd ideologs started cooperating more with
one another.
BSD has still under the hijacking of three non-cooperating
assholes... which is why none of the three has released a
new kernel in a year beginning with 200.
Post by John E. Perry
Now what could possibly reverse the move of IBM, hp, Novell, etc., etc.,
to point of causing linux to "dwindle to obscurity"? One more
absorption of bsd into a proprietary clod -- no matter how big the clod
-- isn't going to change the trend of 25 years.
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John Andersen
2008-06-13 02:57:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by John E. Perry
Now what could possibly reverse the move of IBM, hp, Novell, etc., etc.,
to point of causing linux to "dwindle to obscurity"? One more
absorption of bsd into a proprietary clod -- no matter how big the clod
-- isn't going to change the trend of 25 years.
John Perry
Well obscurity was perhaps a tad strong. My point was not aimed at
the GPL, but simply that the kernel maintainers do not seem to recognize
that the structure of hardware/software boundaries is quite different today.

Everything from Military fighter jets to automobiles to cell phones no longer
run burned in software. Huge performance increases are made available on
older platforms by simply loading new software (microcode, firmware, call it
what you will).

This trend is not going away. Nor is it desirable that it should. Its a design
benefit of the modern era, and advancement long in coming, and extremely
useful in all software driven items from Aircraft to Zunes.

The microcode/firmware loaded into a video card or a WiFi chip at boot time
is one example of this.

/lib/firmware is the directory where this stuff is stored
in a modern distribution. This is a relatively recent development. Prior to
about Suse 9 (i think) there was no provision for this stuff, and loading it
immediately tainted your kernel and its location was haphazard.

It still taints your kernel. (And even Novell has a policy that they won't help
you on any bug you run into if your kernel is tainted. Often ignored, this
restriction is still there).

So the kernel developers have come half way, making a standardized
place for firmware while still denying its usefulness. Nihilism at its best.

Things are even worse for binary blobs that run on the main CPU. (And
rightfully so).
But instead of designing a safe sandbox for these things to run in, they still
say you can't really use them. (Ndiswrapper is a not too safe example
of a sandbox).

The industry is running headlong to virtualization. The kernel developers
are saying if you call us, we own you.

Something has to give. The sooner a proper container is developed for these
types of software the better.

The argument is only tangentially related to the GPL.
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-13 10:04:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Andersen
It still taints your kernel. (And even Novell has a policy that they won't help
you on any bug you run into if your kernel is tainted. Often ignored, this
restriction is still there).
And rightly so! If you can reproduce the bug without the tainting module,
we will help. If not, ,it's the job of the vendor of the closed source
module to fix the bug. We can't fix bugs in modules whose source code we do
not have.
Post by John Andersen
So the kernel developers have come half way, making a standardized
place for firmware while still denying its usefulness. Nihilism at its best.
Very few deny the usefulness of firmware, but a firmware isn't a kernel
driver.
Post by John Andersen
Things are even worse for binary blobs that run on the main CPU. (And
rightfully so).
In your eyes maybe, but that view isn't shared by all others.
Post by John Andersen
But instead of designing a safe sandbox for these things to run in, they still
say you can't really use them. (Ndiswrapper is a not too safe example
of a sandbox).
Why should kernel developers care and invest time for people that only use
what the community offers (an additional market) but refuse to give anything
back to the comunity? Some argue that ndiswrapper has the same problems as
binary-only drivers in regards to Licenses.
Post by John Andersen
Something has to give. The sooner a proper container is developed for these
types of software the better.
No, the sooner vendors realize that non-NDA'd documentation and open source
drivers are the way to go the better.

Philipp
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Carlos E. R.
2008-06-13 11:40:33 UTC
Permalink
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by John Andersen
It still taints your kernel. (And even Novell has a policy that they won't help
you on any bug you run into if your kernel is tainted. Often ignored, this
restriction is still there).
And rightly so! If you can reproduce the bug without the tainting module,
we will help. If not, ,it's the job of the vendor of the closed source
module to fix the bug. We can't fix bugs in modules whose source code we do
not have.
We all understand you can not fix problems on a module that is not yours
and you can't look inside. The problem is that if there is any such module
loaded you may (and do some times) refuse to look at any other bug.

This is similar to, say, Microsoft refusing to debug their USB
infrastructure because the user has loaded drivers for the Epson scanner,
both closed source. Rather, both would have to cooperate to find on which
side the problem lays and solve it.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Post by John Andersen
But instead of designing a safe sandbox for these things to run in, they still
say you can't really use them. (Ndiswrapper is a not too safe example
of a sandbox).
Why should kernel developers care and invest time for people that only use
what the community offers (an additional market) but refuse to give anything
back to the comunity? Some argue that ndiswrapper has the same problems as
binary-only drivers in regards to Licenses.
Surely, a mid-way compromise could be reached. Both sides have their
reasons, neither is fully wrong neither is fully right.

- --
Cheers,
Carlos E. R.

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Druid
2008-06-13 04:34:48 UTC
Permalink
henne,

please kill aaron kulkis again
Post by Evens Garde
Post by John E. Perry
Post by John Andersen
Post by Druid
(bla bla bla)
Just saying NO isn't going to work for ever. 5 more years of Leopard
development and enhancement might squeeze Linux out, not because
its better, but just because Leopard does not refuse to grow and play
well with others.
Don't like the license? Don't use gpl software, then. It's that simple.
Isn't that exactly what I just said?
Why should an entire operating system dwindle to obscurity simply
because it fails to recognize and deal with the fact that the boundary
between hardware and software have permanently changed?
Uh, guys, a bit of history?
Unix -- bsd with it -- was headed down the tubes, unable to resist the
Microsoft steamroller. No small part of that was that, while dozens of
companies took bsd and made their own little mods (for which they
charged tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars), no one gave anything
away, either to each other, or to BSD. So, like all the rest of unix,
bsd was stagnating while MS was buying people to improve their products.
Linux was the first OS to buck the downward spiral because everyone who
modified it had to give their mods back to the community. So linux
advanced by leaps and bounds.
Personally, I believe linux brought bsd back from death's door because
this brilliantly successful example of the GPL at work prompted
previously insular bsd programmers to break down the fences they'd built
between one another. I've heard that bsd started from a better base,
and I have no reason to doubt that, but linux has moved much faster
until fairly recently, when bsd ideologs started cooperating more with
one another.
BSD has still under the hijacking of three non-cooperating
assholes... which is why none of the three has released a
new kernel in a year beginning with 200.
Post by John E. Perry
Now what could possibly reverse the move of IBM, hp, Novell, etc., etc.,
to point of causing linux to "dwindle to obscurity"? One more
absorption of bsd into a proprietary clod -- no matter how big the clod
-- isn't going to change the trend of 25 years.
--
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Patrick Shanahan
2008-06-13 11:58:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Druid
henne,
please kill aaron kulkis again
(bla bla bla)
since the entire thread has gotten out of hand and has disolved into a
series of baseless rants about the rights/wrongs of the gpl and all
other software licenses, why don't you move the thread to the proper
location and continue the (?)discussion there: opensuse-offtopic!
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Carlos E. R.
2008-06-13 12:43:31 UTC
Permalink
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Hash: SHA1
Post by Druid
henne,
please kill aaron kulkis again
Why? He hasn't insulted any one on that email, nor used bad language or
anything objectionable of that sort.

- --
Cheers,
Carlos E. R.
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Andreas Jaeger
2008-06-13 12:51:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos E. R.
Post by Druid
henne,
please kill aaron kulkis again
Why? He hasn't insulted any one on that email, nor used bad language or
anything objectionable of that sort.
Aaron is banned from this list - in any incarnation,

Andreas
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SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Markus Rex, HRB 16746 (AG Nürnberg)
Maxfeldstr. 5, 90409 Nürnberg, Germany
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Lars Marowsky-Bree
2008-06-26 12:39:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos E. R.
We all understand you can not fix problems on a module that is not yours
and you can't look inside. The problem is that if there is any such module
loaded you may (and do some times) refuse to look at any other bug.
Correct.

A kernel module has close to infinite options for screwing up the kernel
(and often does ;-). Even if the bug appears "unrelated", it might very
well be caused by it.
Post by Carlos E. R.
This is similar to, say, Microsoft refusing to debug their USB
infrastructure because the user has loaded drivers for the Epson scanner,
both closed source. Rather, both would have to cooperate to find on which
side the problem lays and solve it.
That is what NTS will do for paying customers. It's not feasible to do
for the community projects.
Post by Carlos E. R.
Post by Philipp Thomas
Why should kernel developers care and invest time for people that only use
what the community offers (an additional market) but refuse to give anything
back to the comunity? Some argue that ndiswrapper has the same problems as
binary-only drivers in regards to Licenses.
Surely, a mid-way compromise could be reached. Both sides have their
reasons, neither is fully wrong neither is fully right.
Some of this is happening; USB drivers of all kinds can be in
user-space, for example. The onus is on the people who want their code
to be supported though, not on the community.


Regards,
Lars
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Philipp Thomas
2008-06-12 22:54:24 UTC
Permalink
They are dogmatic about a definition of free software that goes
far beyond open source.
Open source isn't a well defined term but instead has many different
variations.
Now it's your turn to explain to me how that provides "a lever."
A company uses Linux as embedded OS. Since it distributes the device and
thus the Linux kernel, the GPL demands that the company also make the
sources available. Harald Welte of netfilter fame has successfully got
companies like Linksys to make the sources available and the GPL gave
him the lever.
And if it does, why doesn't it work for all hardware vendors?
No one is helped by that.
The developers of the kernel code are helped. Creating proprietary
drivers means profiting from the work of the kernel developers without
giving something back in return.
who will have nothing to do with GPL-licensed components, no matter
how valuable they might be to their projects.
Nearly everybody uses GCC (at least the C and C++ compilers) and
everybody uses the glibc (which is licensed under LGPL).

Philipp
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