Linus on SCO in Linux Magazine

Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:58 AM EST

Those of you with a subscription to Linux Magazine and who get it in the mail already know, but for the rest, you'll probably want to know that there is a very nice interview with Linus in the January edition by Martin Streicher. It's not online yet, but here's an advance taste, Linus on SCO, Groklaw, and on open source projects.

Streicher opens by describing Linux as a meritocracy:

"Perhaps even more incredible, Linux remains free: free of charge, free of licensing fees, and free of encumbrance. Remarkably, even the development process that produces the kernel is 'free': an open, global meritocracy where no valuable contribution is rejected. . . . Linux is not only a success; it's a model for success."

Here are three brief answers from Linus:

LM: From your perspective, where is the SCO v. IBM case?

TORVALDS: Oh, these days I just worry about how long it drags out. I always was of the opinion that there was no case . . . . The bright spot has been IBM obviously being very careful about it (even if it does seem painfully slow), and especially how the open source community has reacted to it, with sites like Groklaw debunking all the SCO lies and innuendos. . . .

LM: A little while ago, OSDL and the Linux kernel team announced some changes to how code could be submitted for use in the kernel. How is that methodology working out?

TORVALDS: I'm personally very happy with it. Not only has the patch sign-off been less contentious than I thought it might be, I actually really enjoy having the participants be better documented. While the bogus SCO claims were a big impetus for actually doing the documentation in the first place, it's been good to see that the documentation is actually useful.

Now when we have a patch that turns out to have some technical problem, the developer sign-off that carried through all the way to the source control means that it's easy to contact everybody who was involved and ask them to think about the problem that came up.

So while that hasn't been a huge change, it's turned out to be quite useful. And I think people also enjoy seeing everybody involved be better recognized. On the whole I think everybody is actually pretty happy about it.

LM: Is the kernel contribution processes and policies adaptable to others' open source projects? If so, how?

TORVALDS: I'm sure it is, but at the same time, I'm not sure it's a "one size fits all" process, or if we even want it to be that way.

The fact is, different people work different ways, and what works for me may not work for some other maintainer or project. It's really about a small 'culture' that you build up around the project, and there's nothing fundamentally wrong with having different cultures.

You might like to take a look at "Taking Linux to the Bank", currently online at Linux Magazine. Stacey Quandt takes a look at dual licensing. "Contrary to popular perception, many open source vendors are making money, even growing in size, revenue, installed base, and influence," she writes.