• Ofer Nave

    And not a moment too soon. This might be our sole lifeline as we enter the Trusted Computing era.

  • http://poptones.f2o.org poptones

    How exactly is a GPL core supposed to work? Any changes made to the core must be open? And functionality linked to the busses must be made open?

    This is an interesting development, but it is meaningless to most computer users. if you want to win the war of mindshare what is needed is not more uber-end geek toys, but more high quality and free content for those “media consumers.”

  • http://www.robmyers.org/ Rob Myers

    The Free core design is a very positive development, although there is some debate over whether any hardware actually made from it would be covered by the GPL software license.

    I found Prof. Lessig’s statement on another Sun announcement here a little bizarre though:

    Lessig endorses Sun’s “open” DRM

    (Via Groklaw.)

  • three blind mice

    if coca-cola made money selling bottles, it might make sense to open source the formula for coke, but it’s a bit hard for us mice to see SUN’s angle here. SUN OSDL:ed Solaris and now they do more or less the same thing with Niagara. what’s the connection?

    this will certainly interest the chinese whose Godson II “MIPS64″ processor doesn’t seem to have much of a chance of becoming a platform of choice for developers, but where is the benefit to enticing Chinese manufacturers to produce Niagara-based chips if Solaris 10 is also available for use free as in no cost? is the goal to make a big footprint for JAVA and AJAX and then collect license fees there?

    poptones? you are the resident bithead, what do you think is going on?

  • http://vitanuova.loyalty.org/ Seth Schoen

    Ofer Nave:

    There is no sense in which having a design for a CPU will protect you from bad effects of trusted computing. Anyone who wants to force you to use particular hardware or software can still use trusted computing to tell whether you are using that hardware or software, even if you built your PC from scratch from the CPU up. If you can’t get the crypto keys out of a TPM, you will not be able to persuade anyone that you have that TPM and you will not be able to get them to interoperate with you if you don’t follow their policies.

    To “work” in most senses, trusted computing does not rely on prohibiting people from turning it off, nor from getting computers without TPMs, nor from getting CPUs or designs for computers or the ability to fabricate electronic components.

    I keep hearing people talk about stockpiling non-TC equipment, but many of those people must misunderstand the role of TC in enforcing security policies.

  • Jean Dumont

  • “In a world where DRM has become ubiquitous, we need to ensure that the ecology for creativity is bolstered, not stifled, by technology. We applaud Sun’s efforts to rally the community around the development of open-source, royalty-free DRM standards that support “fair use” and that don’t block the development of Creative Commons ideals.”
  • This citation is taken from here and frankly it totally puzzles me, I did not understand up to now that Creative Commons had nothing to do with freedom.

  • http://poptones.f2o.org poptones

    DRM is essentially just cryptography, and it can be used for “good” or for “evil.” Having freedom doesn’t mean much if your greatest “freedom” is to be hijacked by some anonymous thug the second you exit your front door.

    SUN’s “open DRM” is, thus far, a joke: the site has not changed at all since the project was launched, and the discussion forum (last time I looked) had only about ten posts – mostly from folks wondering (months later) when Sun would post something new. I also signed up for the mailing list the day this project was anounced and I have never received a single message from them on the topic… not even to advertise this conference. I see on the website they hype the corporate participation, but no reference at all is made to us lesser beings… hmmmm.

    SUN seems intent on trying to tap into the OSS market, but I have not yet seen any compelling moves toward that end. They open the source to Solaris, but the license ensures there will never be a competing version, say “Ubuntu Solaris.” Their “open DRM” project seems open in name only, as they are definitely not trying to build a community of support like that traditionally associated with FOSS projects. And making their CPU core “open” really doesn’t help any of us lowly users – most users can’t even manage Photoshop, much less a VHDL environment.

    Remember, an “open” core under GPLv2 doesn’t mean free technology for all. IP owners can retain rights and, I do believe, license that same technology on a for profit basis. So, what they have now done is provide universities pretty much all the tools they need – the operating system, the cpu, the vhdl models – for engineering students to learn their craft “the SUN way.” This isn’t very new, since SUN has been a mainstay of university engineering labs – this is really just SUN adapting to better compete in that market. When a new generation of students, weaned on SPARC cores and Solaris and Java, enter the international workforce, will they rush to embrace intel and amd and .NET?

    SUN’s “open” efforts should not be confused with “open” in the sense that “we are all creators.” There are countless people practicing guitar in their garage, there are damn few with silicon fabs. Solaris is free as in beer, not free as in freedom; Java is “open” but you have to pay SUN in order to call your “Java Java” or to actually participate in steering its development; the “open DRM” project really seems “open” only by invitation, and if you’re not a corporation with your own IP library to contribute, you don’t get that invitation. Sure, you can grab the docs and support the standard on your own – but where is the feedback? Where are the forums where developers are encouraged to contribute fresh ideas and code? There aren’t any – because, despite all the talk, SUN is obviously still driven by the “not invented here” school of design.

  • Wes Felter

    poptones, it’s interesting that you use “Ubuntu Solaris” as an example, because it does exist — it’s called Nexenta.

  • http://poptones.f2o.org poptones

    Nexenta is a solaris core with gnu userland. The CDDL has provisions that allow Sun to retroactively pull licenses, which means it’s not “free” like gnu.

    There are gnu userland versions of Apple’s OS as well. So what? That doesn’t mean OS X is free – or even changes contributed to darwin.

    Sun has a legacy of making things “open” but then pulling back on a very tight leash.

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