Sun's Linux Desktop in China

by Miguel de Icaza

Congratulations to Sun on getting the deal with the government of China. We are competitors, but still the software they are delivering is open source.

I know various of the hackers and developers at Sun that have worked hard on this: on Gnome, in OpenOffice and Java, and I am glad that their hard work is going to in such a large deployment.

A few years ago, we met with John Heard and Marco Boerries who were working on various angles of Sun on the desktop. It was back then that John had seen a future for Gtk+ as an ISV platform, and that Marco would bring up the idea of open sourcing StarOffice (which we have been very excited about contributing to). They wanted to see Gnome mature: and they were two important driving forces for the establishment of the Gnome Foundation. Through all these years of work, Sun has funded big parts of development of various components of the open source.

Despite all the criticism they get from Jonathan Schwartz quotes about Linux, Sun is a massive contributor to the open source pool. OpenOffice alone is a big chunk of functionality. But their daily involvement in Gnome 2 has been a pleasure to watch: they were the first to push Gnome to be fully accessible to comply with government regulations.

Anyways, good luck to our competitors. Tonight is a big win: at least 1.3 billion people will be running Evolution.

Royalty-Free Office XML file formats

Microsoft announced the specs for the XML markup for Office, and they are royalty free. The actual license text contains:

If you distribute, license or sell a Licensed Implementation, this license is conditioned upon you requiring that the following notice be prominently displayed in all copies and derivative works of your source code and in copies of the documentation and licenses associated with your Licensed Implementation:

"This product may incorporate intellectual property owned by Microsoft Corporation. The terms and conditions upon which Microsoft is licensing such intellectual property may be found at"

By including the above notice in a Licensed Implementation, you will be deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions of this license. You are not licensed to distribute a Licensed Implementation under license terms and conditions that prohibit the terms and conditions of this license.

It appears that the above *might* be incompatible with the GPL. It sounds like the BSD advertisement requirement. Further study is needed to really understand the issues.

Posted on 18 Nov 2003