Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

IBM Pulls Open-Source License

Filed under

IBM has extended support for a development tool after users cried out against the company mothballing it and revoking its open-source status.

The controversy revolves around the Cgidev02 tool which is part of IBM's Easy400 software suite for the iSeries that lets developers web-enable software written in COBOL or RPG.

Changing Story

Despite labelling the product as open source and stating that it complied with the official Open Source Criteria, the vendor doesn't specify on its Web site which of the more than 70 open-source licenses governs the product. Users who download the free tools are never presented a license either.

Regardless of the product's advertised open status, IBM rejected a request from Giovanni Perotti to offer the Cgidev2 tool for download from his Web site. Perotti is a former IBM software developer who retired earlier this year.

After further review, the vendor claimed that the software had never officially been open sourced.

"While in the grand scheme of things Cgidev2 is penny-ante, the implications of its reproprietization are not," said Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst with Illuminata.

Abusing Status?

IBM has abused the software's open-source status to enjoy marketing and user acceptance benefits, he argued. By revoking the open-source status, the company undermines the value of open source.

"This is the kind of reversal that makes folks into cynics."

IBM's refusal to allow its former employee to host the software automatically meant that the tool would be mothballed. Prior to his retirement, Perotti had been the last developer to work on the project.

"I believe that such a position is totally irrespective of the iSeries and AS/400 customer's needs all over the world," Perotti wrote in an e-mail posted on a mailing group about the application.

Causing an Outcry

More than 17,000 people have registered on the Web site where they can download the tool and over 3,000 sites use it. Cgidev2 allowed IBM to retain customers that otherwise would have migrated to Microsoft's .Net platform Perotti claimed.

IBM's decision to pull support lead to an outcry among users who sent the company several hundred e-mails. This in turn caused the the company to re-assign developers.

"I didn't recognize until Monday that this tool set was still being utilized to develop applications on a platform. Once I became aware of it, I said let's go ahead and support it," Jim Herring, IBM eServer iSeries product management and business operations director told

Spokeswoman Kathleen McGraw for IBM's System and Technology Group told that the situation was based on a miscommunication. The company plans to set up a new Web site to replace the one that Perotti run where users can download the tool.

She added that the vendor is looking to release the code under an open-source license.

By Tom Sanders

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • LZHAM Is Still Ticking Along To Further Open-Source Lossless Compression
    It's been nearly one year since last talking about LZHAM, the lossless data compression codec designed by a former Valve developer and has been showing great potential -- particularly by game developers for compressing assets. While LZHAM news has been quiet, Rich Geldreich has still been hard at work on advancing open-source lossless compression.
  • Pick of the Bunch: Cloud Development Tools
    Cloud computing is not simply a popular phrase; it is a very important part of how we use technology. Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. The cloud eliminates maintenance and management issues, and eliminates the risk of running out of capacity. Cloud-based applications also have the virtue of being accessible from any location with an internet connection. And Linux continues to demonstrate that it is the go-to cloud platform. Developers need a broad set of powerful tools to use the cloud. There are far too many excellent cloud development tools, and this is not an exhaustive survey. But here are four excellent tools that caught our eye. The first is Dirigible; don't be put off by its name.
  • podlators 4.00
    podlators is the distribution that includes the Pod::Man and Pod::Text modules for Perl, plus the pod2man and pod2text driver scripts (among a few other, more minor things).

Radeon DRM Linux 4.4 + Mesa 11.1 + DRI3 vs. AMD's Proprietary Driver

On Friday I posted benchmarks showing Nouveau's re-clocked performance relative to NVIDIA's proprietary driver for showing the performance potential of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 600/700 series with the performance state code there beginning to work. That article was followed by AMDGPU driver tests on Linux 4.4 against Catalyst for the newest AMD GPU tech that uses this newer Direct Rendering Manager driver. The third test now is comparing the Radeon DRM performance on Linux 4.4 against AMD's binary blob when using older AMD GCN GPUs as well as a Northern Islands GPU for reference. Read more

Sabayon 15.12 Updates Plasma 5, GNOME 3.18 Goes Into Testing

Sabayon Linux continues to be one of the easiest ways to setup a Gentoo-based environment. With Sabayon 15.12, GNOME 3.18 packages were added to their testing repositories, KDE Plasma 5 was updated against KDE Frameworks 5.16 and KDE Plasma 5.4.3, and there is support inbound for ARM. The Sabayon project intends to release Raspberry Pi 2 images in the near future. Read more Also: Gentoo-Based Sabayon Linux 15.12 Is Out, Raspberry Pi 2 Version Incoming

Solus Operating System Gets a Fix for Acer C720 Boot

The Solus developers have been working to fix a problem with their system on the famous Acer C720 laptop. It might not seem like a big deal, but that’s only for people who don’t have an Acer C720. Read more