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Thread: Netflix Open Connect Network: FreeBSD, Not Linux

  1. #21
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    The thing that matters is whether they will actually contribute back and from the sound of they are, and if so how can this not be a positive thing? Now a _really_ positive thing would be if Netflix made their actual content available to the actual users of FreeBSD and Linux etc al.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delgarde View Post
    Yes, but do they know that? It's not like there's a shortage of people with some misunderstandings of what the GPL actually does and doesn't do.
    I'm pretty sure that anyone who can negotiate copyright contracts with the media cartels can figure out the GPL over lunch. At a stretch, it might need to be lunch with a software engineer.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by tettamanti View Post
    GPL covers distribution, not usage: Netflix could take the kernel, modify it at will and use it for its CDN without sharing a single line of code as long as they don't redistribute it. They could even contribute back improvements where appropriate while keeping the "secret" bits to themself.
    This is correct. While large companies like Facebook and Google do contribute code back to the Linux community, they aren't required to contribute back all of their modifications. It's great that they contribute back to the community, but you can bet that Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. haven't released *all* of their changes back to the community.

    Netflix's decision to use FreeBSD for their CDN was based on the technical merits of FreeBSD and because the engineers in charge of that project like FreeBSD. It's a great operating system with solid performance. It just doesn't have the mindshare of Linux-based operating systems. I use FreeBSD and Linux-based distros, and each have their strength and weaknesses.

    In addition, Netflix uses plenty of Linux. Just look at the job descriptions for the open positions.

    -= Stefan

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tettamanti View Post
    GPL covers distribution, not usage: Netflix could take the kernel, modify it at will and use it for its CDN without sharing a single line of code as long as they don't redistribute it. They could even contribute back improvements where appropriate while keeping the "secret" bits to themself.
    This depends on your definition of distribution. At my former company we only developed software for use on our servers which clients connected to (SaaS company); we did not use any GPL licensed components because our lawyers interpreted our servers as distribution of a product. The fact that paying customers will be utilizing this product directly, even if they physically do not get executable code itself, probably would satisfy several judge's definitions of distribution.

  5. #25

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    Netflix are mere mortals, while Linux is a God!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by locovaca View Post
    This depends on your definition of distribution. At my former company we only developed software for use on our servers which clients connected to (SaaS company); we did not use any GPL licensed components because our lawyers interpreted our servers as distribution of a product. The fact that paying customers will be utilizing this product directly, even if they physically do not get executable code itself, probably would satisfy several judge's definitions of distribution.
    Seems odd, as the text of the GPL 2.0 excludes that sort of thing.

    Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.
    So if you ported and x socket of abiword over the net, it would probably be covered, but I can't imagine that emailing the output of grep would be. As long as you have a clear lines between the inputs, process, and outputs it shouldn't restrict GPL code from use.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by locovaca View Post
    because our lawyers interpreted our servers as distribution of a product. The fact that paying customers will be utilizing this product directly, even if they physically do not get executable code itself, probably would satisfy several judge's definitions of distribution.
    Sounds like you need better lawyers, it's quite clear that GPL only affects distribution of binary code, this is the very reason FSF added another licence (AGPL) which prevents this should the code author not want to allow the 'application service provider' loophole (used by Google and many others) which exists in GPL. But it's up to the code author to explicitly prevent this by choosing AGPL (or any other licence which prevents this).

    GPL has existed for over 20 years and the only lawsuits brought against offenders have been those who have distributed GPL-licenced _binary_ code without providing the source code.

  8. #28
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    Default Really all the BSD bashing?

    Guy's really? Why does it seem like every time there is a story about FreeBSD there is a bunch of Linux fan boy's screaming how crappy it is. Yea maybe it doesn't have the fan base that Linux has but but I bet if look closely you'll find a lot of products that you interface with that use FreeBSD code. Aside from the fact that most of you are using MAC's that are running OSX right? guess what that's actually based on FreeBSD. Anyone heard of Juniper, JunOS? yea that's FreeBSD based. Cisco and NetApp both use a large amount of FreeBSD code in their product. If you move on from FreeBSD to the other BSD's you'll find a lot of code has move into Linux from the BSD community. OpenSSH is a product of OpenBSD community. And what, a couple of years ago some Linux programmers were trying to re-brand the a wireless driver that the OpenBSD community wrote? So the next time you feel get the urge to sit there and go BSD sux, BSD sux, BSD sux, please do us all a favor. Take your laptop outside and put 7 .45 hollow point rounds into it and take up farming because all your doing is waisting our time and showing you don't deserve all the work that our open source fore barres have provided. For the rest of us maybe it's time to look at FreeBSD again and see what Netfilx, Yahoo, Cisco, Juniper, and Apple are seeing.

  9. #29

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    I think we can all agree: BSD sucks.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halio1984 View Post
    For the rest of us maybe it's time to look at FreeBSD again and see what Netfilx, Yahoo, Cisco, Juniper, and Apple are seeing.
    Well, I'm sure hoping netflix will contribute alot back but from the statement it says they will release 'the open source components of the server' indicating that not 'all' going to be open and we will have to wait and see what actually ends up being contributed back. As for Apple, Cisco, Juniper, they see a great system which they can utilize in their proprietary products, Juniper and Cisco use FreeBSD as the base for their proprietary systems they use in their routers etc. Apple use it as part of their proprietary OSX. I'm sure they contribute back but I'm pretty certain they contribute nothing back which they feel could be of competitive advantage (particularly between Juniper and Cisco).

    This is the drawback as I see it with BSD and corporate use, there is very little incentive to release code back which your competitors can use without them doing the same. This means these companies will likely fund FreeBSD development as the 'common base' on which to build their optimized solutions, optimizations which likely never make it back since that would be like handing your competitors an advantage. I think this ends up stifling FreeBSD development compared to the situation with Linux where everyone who wants to distribute Linux is legally bound to submit their enhancements.

    Obviously there's room for both practices, but I'm personally not surprised that Linux is getting much more corporate code contributions than FreeBSD.

    And I agree, the 'everything BSD sucks!' comments from the peanut gallery are really annoying.

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