Home Business IT Open Source Canonical denies move towards open core

Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution, has reiterated its decision not to create a firm based on open core products.

An open core model is one in which free or open source software is sold along with proprietary add-ons.

The assertion came in response to queries by iTWire, occasioned by accusations levelled at the company by two Linux kernel developers.

Jonathan Corbet, a senior kernel developer and editor of Linux Weekly News, accused Canonical of splitting the Linux desktop by creating its own display server, Mir.

And Matthew Garrett speculated that the reason for Canonical choosing the GPLv3 as the licence for Mir was to freeze other companies out of relicensing the code as a proprietary product. This, Garrett, claimed was possible given the mix of the GPLv3 and contributor licence agreements that Canonical had in place.

"Canonical believes that the Mir project will deliver the new display capabilities needed for great user experiences' from desktops to mobile devices," Sian Aherne, a company spokesperson, told iTWire.

"Mir is Free Software licensed under the GPLv3 so it's available to everyone to develop, build on and use. We welcome all developers who want to be involved with the project."

However, Aherne pointed out, Canonical had a policy of requiring Contributor Licence Agreements for significant Ubuntu projects.

"This mechanism enables us to protect the code if there are IP issues and has been used by other projects," she added.

"It's true that with a single copyright an organisation is able to re-license the code to another licence. One impact of this could be that it is possible to re-license the code-base. However, as previously reported, we have no plans to build an open-core business."

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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