Sun might feel it's doing a wonderful job by offering developers and users of OpenSolaris indemnification against patent claims, but not everybody agrees.
Although the CDDL licence leaves it up to the developers to contribute source code back to OpenSolaris, not doing so means they forfeit their right for indemnification.
"I agree, [Sun's] participation so far appears to be cynical and they seem to intend to operate as a "spoiler", fragmenting the Open Source community rather than supporting it. Otherwise, we would see them dual-licensing with CDDL and GPL, and their patents wouldn't be barred from use in Linux," he writes.
By offering indemnification, Sun protects individual developers and users. The company promises to settle any patent disputes, as it did last October with Kodak. The company's patent portfolio also acts as a deterrent that can be used to file counterclaims if a party decides to go after Solaris.
What Perens is saying however, is that Sun could have taken its offering further by expanding its patent portfolio beyond just OpenSolaris and promise that it would refrain from filing claims based on its patents when it concerns any open source project. That would have mimicked a move IBM made when it donated 500 patents to the public domain.
Perens also notes the ambiguity in Sun's decision to limit the indemnification to just work done under de CDDL licence, where it would have been a minor effort to make a wider promise.
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