COMMENT ON THIS ARITCLE
LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit speaker Jeremy Allison explains some tricky details of Linux/Windows interoperability, what the Novell/Microsoft deal really does for interoperability, and a vision for a future easy-to-administer network filesystem.
Don Marti, LinuxWorld.com: You’ve been in the news lately for leaving Novell over the controversial Novell/Microsoft patent licensing deal.
Jeremy Allison: That’s true.
LinuxWorld: Now, when I talked to you a while ago, you said, "I don’t give away my software. I cooperate with people who cooperate with me. How does that relate to what’s going on here, patent licensing-wise?"
Allison: Well, kind of peripherally really. Essentially, this is going back to the misnomer of "free software." A lot of people, corporations included, hear the word free, and they don’t think about the second meaning of the word free. They just think, "oh, it’s without cost." And, of course, it isn’t. And the cost is you have to reciprocate. You have to give exactly the same terms to people you give it to that you get yourself. It’s the share and share a like kind of license.
So, when somebody violates that essentially by negotiating favorite terms for themselves, that they don’t want to give to other people, then that I object to strenuously, up to and including leaving a company because of it. This is why some people in the free software community like to say software libre, liberated software, although that doesn’t quite mean the same thing in English either. But essentially it’s a word meaning the second meaning of the word free, which is freedom.
LinuxWorld: We need an extra word for free in the English language now.
Allison: I’m sure Richard Stallman will come up with one. After all, he works at MIT where Noam Chomsky works. I’m sure Chomsky can come up with something.
LinuxWorld: That sounds like a good project that maybe he can get a Google Summer of Code student to work on for him. So, you’re at Google now?
Allison: I am indeed. And you know what they say about Google? It’s like Fight Club. The first rule about Google is you don’t talk about Google. And the second rule about Google is you don’t talk about Google. Now that’s kind of secretive. But fun -- a lot of fun.
LinuxWorld: It’s my favorite fajita place in Mountain View.
Allison: You don’t like La Fiesta instead -- man!
LinuxWorld: I like La Fiesta for the burritos, but the fajitas at Google really have something going for them.
Allison: I’m still a La Fiesta man. In case people don’t know, La Fiesta is the place where the SGI engineers used to go every Wednesday night. But this was back when they occupied the Google campus. It’s funny. I ran into a guy I used to work with who was a director of engineering I think at SGI. We’re essentially in the same campus. And we looked at each other and said, "It’s kind of like coming home, isn’t it?"