Computer Associates is talking to fellow software vendors including Sun Microsystems and IBM about creating a common commercial open source licence for future projects.
"We are actively looking at [Sun's] CDDL," said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president at CA, at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco. "We are seriously considering the CDDL and have already started discussions [with Sun]."
The final version will be a template licence, Greenblatt said. He compared the template to the constitution in that it will formulate a set of ground rules and each company can include addendums for further fine-tuning.
The licence should be finished by the end of the year.
Commercial software vendors that want to release the source code of projects typically require a licence that's different from the general public licence (GPL), the most common licence in the open source space.
Local legislation often requires very specific phrasing of warranty provisions in a software licence, disqualifying the GPL for developers who sell and support their product in multiple regions and wish to offer warranties. The licence also requires developers who mix their software with GPL code to make all of their code available to the public.
To deal with those issues, Sun has created the CDDL for the release of the Solaris 10 source code, and Computer Associates formed CA-Trusted Open Source Licence when it released its Ingres database last year.
But this has led to a proliferation of open source licences and caused confusion with both end users and developers. The Open Source Initiative currently has 58 licences approved as officially open source.
Greenblatt emphasised that CA and its Ingres database are hurting from the confusion that this causes.
"I am not looking to make Ingres so hard to embed that you don't take the product and don't use it," he said.
Last February at Linuxworld in Boston, several industry executives including CA chief John Swainson called for a clean up of the open source licence system.
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