Martin Fink, Hewlett Packard’s Linux vice-president, yesterday slammed the open-source community’s complex licensing schemes, suggesting that there are too many open-source licences for developers to manage properly.
Closing a presentation at the Linux World Conference and Expo in Sydney yesterday, Fink said, “If there’s one thing that you take home from my speech today it is: do not make more open-source licences.”
He said there were currently “58 open-source licences in use,” and the task of keeping up with them created many difficulties for open-source developers. It’s something of a personal crusade for Fink, who said, “I’ve spent a lot of my time stopping people from creating more [licences]”, before going on to say, “[HP has] never ever created an open-source licence. If we never had to, why do you?”
The various open-source licences are approved by the Open Source Initiative as a way to standardise and regulate licensing in the open-source community. However, with so many different licences now approved, figures such as Fink see the strong potential for developer and business confusion as something that stands in the way of further open source adoption by business.
It is a point of view echoed by HP’s open source and Linux chief technology officer, Bdale Garbee, who confirmed there are, “too many licences out there; it’s a real headache for developers,” in an interview with Builder AU at the Sydney Linux World Conference and Expo.