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    SubjectDoes Solaris source license interfere with Linux contributions?
    I wish to inquire how signing the solaris 8 foundation source code license might
    affect my future ability to contribute to free software.

    I would like to do as much as I can in the future to contribute to free
    software. Off and on I've been studying the linux kernel with the aim
    of contributing meaningful code to Linux and other free software, although
    I haven't done much but some testing and bug reporting so far for the

    I may have an opportunity to get a job with a good company developing
    Solaris device drivers, pretty fancy ones at that. It's not a sure thing
    yet, but they have said they'd like to hire me when the economy improves

    I'd like to improve my odds at getting the job and keeping it, so I'm
    thinking of installing Solaris for Intel on my PC and later getting a sparc
    machine, and learning all about the Solaris kernel. It's been a while since
    I've used Solaris at all.

    Sun makes the solaris 8 source available for "viewing" (perhaps just a little
    better than Microsoft's "shared source"). It would serve my
    immediate purposes to study that source code, but I'm concerned the license
    I would have to sign would restrict my ability to write free software in
    the future. That is, if I was privy to proprietary Sun algorithms or
    implementations, then Sun might give me a hard time if I later
    contributed code to the Linux kernel, or if my code made it into the kernel,
    then Sun could give everyone a hard time.

    The license can be downloaded from:

    But rather than asking you to download the license there must be some among
    you who have considered the question already, so I ask you to share your
    thoughts on this.

    I felt concerned when I found the license requirement because I read on the website that they could not accept code into the VM that came from
    people who'd ever read the Sun Java VM source code. I have wide-ranging
    programming interests, and I'd like to be able to contribute to anything I

    If you wonder how a joker who's never programmed either a solaris or
    linux driver could get a job writing fancy solaris drivers, I did used to
    be a system software engineer at Apple, where I did a bunch of
    debugging and performance tuning of the classic Mac OS (not Mac OS X), mostly
    at the assembly level, working on interrupt, VM code and such. So
    I have worked on device drivers and kernel level work, although it was
    nothing like a Unix or Linux kernel. In some ways it was much harder
    than what you folks do, because the classic Mac OS architecture lived
    much longer than it really should have, and grew a lot of warts.

    I've been programming for a long time, and the head of engineering at this
    company that wants to hire me seemed to care more for the fact that I just knew
    my way around software than that I had a specific skillset. I consider clients
    and employers who have this attitude to be a rare and refreshing contrast from
    the usual buzzword-blinded recruiters, so I prize them like jewels. So I'd
    really like to work for these people.

    Thanks for any advice you can give me,

    Michael D. Crawford
    GoingWare Inc. - Expert Software Development and Consulting

    Tilting at Windmills for a Better Tomorrow.
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