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Linus Torvalds Doesn't Recommend Using ZFS On Linux

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  • ryao
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    That the point the netapp settlement there was the right to use the netapp patents and other tech. So he was getting something in return what did he trade to pay for that.
    Most of Netapp’s customers were using Oracle software and would have dropped Netapp if Oracle started discouraging the use of Netapp with Oracle software. Considering that, Netapp was in an unenviable position and they were willing to give Oracle things to get out of it without getting much in return. Netapp was only in this situation because it wanted to avoid paying money to Sun. It was a jerky maneuver that they did to say no to Sun’s request for patent royalties (which itself was jerky). They could have simply had their lawyers talk more.

    As far as I know, Oracle was able to settle the lawsuit without giving very much. They did not want to divert resources from the Java lawsuit and Netapp did not want to be in the lawsuit. Netapp did get what they originally wanted though, which was not having to pay royalties over the ZFS patents.

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    Yes USA people forget there is a court above the USA Supreme Court that can at times over rule its rulings.
    There is no court higher than the US Supreme Court in the US according to the US constitution. It’s decisions are final. If you look at “international courts’” decisions, you would find the decisions are non-binding (and are often ignored by the losing parties). Winning one is just PR for the winner. As far as I know, the US Supreme Court’s rulings can only be overridden by new US Supreme Court rulings or a US constitutional amendment. It is possible for the US Congress to authorize external courts to rule on things (just as it is able to make courts for various things), but such authorization never preempts the US Supreme Court.

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    That Linus did not raise it does not mean its not a factor. Remember getting a clean approval from Oracle as Linus requested would kill the possible netapp problem.



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_Corp._v._SAP_AG
    Oracle making things up after the fact is well documented.
    Linus is concerned about Oracle being a problem, not netapp.

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    None of those have a major legal firm who would have the resources to defend ZFS if they had to. Feeling confident and having the resources to back it up is another matter.
    We have the SFLC and plenty of companies willing to work together if there is an issue. Why do you think we have OpenZFS?

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    Really would pay to check who Oracle got those patents from. Some of Oracle Unix patents trace back to Novell/SCO who both got their ears boxed in for going after Linux by IBM. IBM was the first to pull out the GPLv2 implied patent license. So Oracle using what they have against Linux and lose due to prior cases around the patents with related legal records would be facing triple damages and costs if they loses. Yes Oracle losing would be basically 100 percent. Linux kernel is very well protected by parties with lots of money if they get serous.
    They got many more from Sun. The ZFS patents get plenty of attention, but they are just a fraction of what they got from Sun.

    As for Oracle losing, they would lose if they went after ZFS too. That is what my legal counsel believes anyway.

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    With CDDL yes Oracle could reinterpret things. With the Linux kernel mainline GPLv2 prior cases that Oracle legal department would be nuts to go anywhere near it. Some of the reason Oracle is so sure they can push Java LGPL so hard against Google is that Oracle legal department has a very good idea how dangerous GPL licenses are.

    Linus logic is right no matter how you argue. GPLv2 position is solidly legally proven. CDDL is not legally proven. Those companies trusting open-zfs are basically doing a leap of faith.
    Linus’ logic is that Oracle can change whatever everyone thought was correct. By that logic, nothing is safe. Honestly, software patents are a really stupid invention that the US Supreme Court gave us (in part thanks to IBM). If anything, I have learned to expect them to mess up any ruling on technology, which they did with Oracle vs Google. If I am willing to let myself accept what Linus is saying, then I might as well not use a computer because everything would be suspect. This is a reductio ad absurdem. My point is that you can live being afraid of everything or just listen to legal counsel and go on with your life. If fear decided how we did things, no one would use Linux because those court cases on the GPL and patents only existed because people had used it thinking that it would be fine.
    Last edited by ryao; 14 January 2020, 02:18 PM.

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  • oiaohm
    replied
    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    This is the first that I have heard of this. Neat.

    That said, I doubt that case would mean much to Oracle. They similarly lost the first case against Google because the first court had common sense, but won on appeal. Unless we have a Supreme Court ruling, there is room for Oracle to maneuver if it wants, plus this is just in the US.
    There are other rulings in Germany and 10 other countries that all rule the same way. Its turns out we had something wrong. When you read through the agree conventions between countries over copyright and patents there is something interesting.

    Note how prior art that is a copyrighted documented can over turn a patent. People presumed patents over rules copyright. Reality copyright over rules patents. Due to this being convention arguing over GPLv2 implied patent license to be ultra horrible can take you into the international court over trade that make the Supreme court of the USA look like a minor problem. So a GPLv2 case over the implied patent part of license if ruled against by the USA Supreme Court can go to the international court where there is already a ruling in GPLv2 favour.

    Basically you would be a idiot to push a GPLv2 implied patent license case up though the USA court system no matter how it rules you have to go to international court in the end and lose..

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    If they wanted, they could go after anything being distributed worldwide in any jurisdiction. ZFS is not any worse off than Linux is against that threat.
    CDDL has not been tested in multi jurisdictions on patents where GPLv2 has been. GPLv2 implied patent license is tested and proven in the highest court on earth and there is no loophole. Yes USA people forget there is a court above the USA Supreme Court that can at times over rule its rulings.


    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    It does not matter who owns the copyright on ZFS because the CDDL is a perpetual license. Once the copyright holder makes a copy of code available under it, that copy (and all copies of that copy) stays under it.
    It matter when you have license conflict and you are working out how you can interpret license based on intent of the license(spirit). Without being able to ignore sections of CDDL or GPLv2 they are not compatible.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    Making things closed source was the whim of a single executive.
    That does not answer why the whim and if there was any deal either. Lower level staff don't need to be told stuff. Legal department would have had to be told stuff.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    The executive in question is not a generous man and would never give anything away unless he got something in return.
    That the point the netapp settlement there was the right to use the netapp patents and other tech. So he was getting something in return what did he trade to pay for that.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    That said, Linus’ concern is about Oracle reinterpreting things as he stated in his second email.
    True and this is because CDDL is vague in places and incompatible.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    He never once brings up this netapp theory.
    That Linus did not raise it does not mean its not a factor. Remember getting a clean approval from Oracle as Linus requested would kill the possible netapp problem.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    The concern about Oracle reinterpreting can be applied to them reinterpreting things to go after Linux itself. It is rather unlikely that they would bother with ZFS.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_Corp._v._SAP_AG
    Oracle making things up after the fact is well documented.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    ZFS also has a strong license intended to protect it, plus numerous companies who feel confident in that. Some are listed here:
    http://www.open-zfs.org/wiki/Companies
    None of those have a major legal firm who would have the resources to defend ZFS if they had to. Feeling confident and having the resources to back it up is another matter.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    Whether it applies to patents not relevant to source code contributions or to patents acquired after the fact is an issue with such a theory. Oracle gained a number of UNIX patents for things it never touched in Linux.
    Really would pay to check who Oracle got those patents from. Some of Oracle Unix patents trace back to Novell/SCO who both got their ears boxed in for going after Linux by IBM. IBM was the first to pull out the GPLv2 implied patent license. So Oracle using what they have against Linux and lose due to prior cases around the patents with related legal records would be facing triple damages and costs if they loses. Yes Oracle losing would be basically 100 percent. Linux kernel is very well protected by parties with lots of money if they get serous.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    Anyway, if we are entertaining Linus’ remark about Oracle reinterpreting things, then anything we say about Linux being safe from Oracle is moot given that Oracle can just reinterpret things to suit them in court. The logic fits.
    With CDDL yes Oracle could reinterpret things. With the Linux kernel mainline GPLv2 prior cases that Oracle legal department would be nuts to go anywhere near it. Some of the reason Oracle is so sure they can push Java LGPL so hard against Google is that Oracle legal department has a very good idea how dangerous GPL licenses are.

    Linus logic is right no matter how you argue. GPLv2 position is solidly legally proven. CDDL is not legally proven. Those companies trusting open-zfs are basically doing a leap of faith.

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  • ryao
    replied
    Originally posted by F.Ultra View Post

    So let's quote the article you link to that describes the crux of the matter:


    The majority of the article and your arguments are straw-man arguments since binary distribution and source code availability for the end user is not what's on the table here, the problem is that Linus cannot distribute the Linux Kernel source code under GPLv2 if he includes the ZFS source code to the kernel source code tree.
    Linus does not find that to be an issue from what he has told me in person. He already has stuff in his tree under licenses other than the GPL.

    By the way, for what it is worth, I hold copyright over part of OpenZFS. You do not have any standing to be telling me about OpenZFS’ copyright situation, especially after the years of arm chair remarks by guys like you led me to speak to several attorneys on this topic. You also just dismissed a legal opinion by the most preeminent legal scholar on OSS as strawmans. It is rather ridiculous.

    Originally posted by F.Ultra View Post
    Whether or not Nvidia, IBM or Broadcom are releasing and code from their binary distribution is a separate issue completely from what Linus have to do by including ZFS.
    These days, no one is asking him to include ZFS as far as I know. He already made his position on that clear. The question that caused him to state unrelated things had to do with a symbol export removal that caused a headache for OpenZFS.

    That being said, I can say as one of the OpenZFS developers that I am not aware of any of us being interested in getting ZFS into his tree. It would make more work for us. I do not understand this presumption that people seem to make about getting into his tree being the only thing that matters.
    Last edited by ryao; 14 January 2020, 12:01 PM.

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  • ryao
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post

    That is wrong I don't get where you get the idea that there are no rulings over GPLv2 and patents.
    http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=2449028
    There are rulings in court like this that GPLv2 contains implied patent license. So GPLv2 does not need a patent grant due to how the license is written. You cannot push patent infringement to breaching your requirements under copyright law that is how GPLv2 implied patent license works so patents laws don't superseded copyright in fact copyright can be written the written in way that superseded all patents laws. Funny enough that was in GPLv2.
    This is the first that I have heard of this. Neat.

    That said, I doubt that case would mean much to Oracle. They similarly lost the first case against Google because the first court had common sense, but won on appeal. Unless we have a Supreme Court ruling, there is room for Oracle to maneuver if it wants, plus this is just in the US. If they wanted, they could go after anything being distributed worldwide in any jurisdiction. ZFS is not any worse off than Linux is against that threat.

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    This statement if you like it or not is true. We need Oracle legal department to clearly state if they have traded the copyright away and who are the patent holders over the SUN ZFS code. Maybe Oracle made ZFS closed source again because they don't have the patents or the copyright to legally distribute it under CDDL. The only party who can answer what the state of play is Oracle.
    It does not matter who owns the copyright on ZFS because the CDDL is a perpetual license. Once the copyright holder makes a copy of code available under it, that copy (and all copies of that copy) stays under it.

    If you have heard what I have heard from both former and current Oracle employees, you would not entertain any of these theories. Making things closed source was the whim of a single executive. The netapp lawsuit ended because netapp had zero interest in a fight with Oracle. It only started because Sun tried to talk to netapp about royalties for the ZFS patents. Oracle had zero interest in that and instead wanted royalties from Java. You know how that went. The executive in question is not a generous man and would never give anything away unless he got something in return. The idea of him giving away the copyright to anything Oracle owns is absurd.

    That said, Linus’ concern is about Oracle reinterpreting things as he stated in his second email. He never once brings up this netapp theory. The concern about Oracle reinterpreting can be applied to them reinterpreting things to go after Linux itself. It is rather unlikely that they would bother with ZFS. The big money is with Linux, as Microsoft found. ZFS also has a strong license intended to protect it, plus numerous companies who feel confident in that. Some are listed here:

    http://www.open-zfs.org/wiki/Companies

    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    This is missing the implied patent license of GPLv2 has been used against Microsoft since it has been proven to exist. Some Android makers have used this to get out of paying Microsoft any more money.
    Whether it applies to patents not relevant to source code contributions or to patents acquired after the fact is an issue with such a theory. Oracle gained a number of UNIX patents for things it never touched in Linux. Anyway, if we are entertaining Linus’ remark about Oracle reinterpreting things, then anything we say about Linux being safe from Oracle is moot given that Oracle can just reinterpret things to suit them in court. The logic fits.

    That being said, I think Microsoft joining OIN mattered much more for Android vendors getting out of their agreements to pay royalties to Microsoft than that court ruling:

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/bl...d-open-source/

    With the FAT patents for example, there could not be an implied license for it because Microsoft never contributed to that code. Speaking of which, they seem to have voluntarily dropped the ability to assert those against Linux:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/micros...d-open-source/
    Last edited by ryao; 14 January 2020, 11:41 AM.

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  • blackiwid
    replied
    Originally posted by k1e0x View Post

    Lots of people use FreeBSD. So much so it's on the top cloud providers in the world such as Amazon, Azure, Google Cloud and others.
    Of course when I speak about Users I speak about their own machines / Desktop, I don't go around and say hey "Linux" is on most computers because, it drives the Internet and all 10 quadrilliards of smartphones use it. The desktop is what matters and there Linux has like 2% or something und BSD like 0.1% if not less.

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  • oiaohm
    replied
    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    There are no rulings over the GPL and patents. The GPLv2 also has no patent grant, unlike the CDDL. Oracle is also holding plenty of patents from Sun on UNIX in general. If they wanted to use the nuclear option, ZFS is in a much better position than Linux due to the patent grant of the CDDL.
    That is wrong I don't get where you get the idea that there are no rulings over GPLv2 and patents.
    http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=2449028
    There are rulings in court like this that GPLv2 contains implied patent license. So GPLv2 does not need a patent grant due to how the license is written. You cannot push patent infringement to breaching your requirements under copyright law that is how GPLv2 implied patent license works so patents laws don't superseded copyright in fact copyright can be written the written in way that superseded all patents laws. Funny enough that was in GPLv2.

    Really what is written GPLv3 Explicit patent grant you have to obey with GPLv2 implied patent license and every patent case against GPLv2 work has backed this it about time you catch up with court rulings on this topic. GPLv3 Explicit patent grant just make it clear to people what is GPL effects on patents not that it was required to be included. .

    So legally when it comes to patents GPLv2 turns out to be harder to get around than the CDDL patent grant due to GPLv2 contain no exceptions. So GPLv2 is a form of implied unlimited patent license just like GPLv3 is a explicit unlimited patent license. CDDL only has a limited patent grant so you are in a worse position. Yes once Microsoft developers put exfat into Linux kernel source that triggered the GPLv2 implied patent license for any patents covering it Microsoft has the rights to.

    CDDL patent grant only works on the licenses you own so if you submit something to CDDL with some third party(Netapp) that you settle with latter you don't have to protect the end users.. GPLv2 and GPLv3 by the GPL licenses implied/explicit unlimited patent license you would have to settle in way to cover all end users.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    Netapp does not hold copyright over any part of ZFS. Merely stating that Netapp owns copyright over ZFS indicates a severe lack of understanding of who owns copyright over ZFS, what copyright is or both. You should take the time to learn these things before forming opinions. In specific, copyright has to do with authorship and is entirely separate from patents. ZFS has no netapp code. Therefore netapp does not hold copyright over it. Any reasoning that begins with netapp holds copyright over ZFS is automatically wrong.
    No its not automatically wrong. If you are playing it legally safe you have to presume as part of the settlement:
    https://www.techworld.com.au/article...ent_litigation

    That netapp has copyrights over SUN ZFS until you have a letter from Oracle legal stating different.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    “without SUN legal information that Oracle holds how many more parties are there like this”
    This statement if you like it or not is true. We need Oracle legal department to clearly state if they have traded the copyright away and who are the patent holders over the SUN ZFS code. Maybe Oracle made ZFS closed source again because they don't have the patents or the copyright to legally distribute it under CDDL. The only party who can answer what the state of play is Oracle.

    Originally posted by ryao View Post
    Microsoft has a few patents that it has used against the Linux kernel to collect $1 billion in annual royalties from Android phone makers
    This is missing the implied patent license of GPLv2 has been used against Microsoft since it has been proven to exist. Some Android makers have used this to get out of paying Microsoft any more money.

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  • F.Ultra
    replied
    Originally posted by ryao View Post

    https://www.softwarefreedom.org/reso...rnel-cddl.html

    That being said, you can always request the ZFS source code. The CDDL might be more like the LGPL in terms of letting you mix in proprietary code, but as far as I know, no one actually does.

    You probably want to take up your complaints about not being able to get kernel source code with Nvidia, IBM (GPFS), Broadcom, etcetera. They are the ones not releasing their code as OSS. Ironically, this is a situation that the mainline kernel created via the module interface to allow ports of drivers because it helped it become popular in the early days. The GPL is concerned with derived works and being from other systems, those modules are not derived from Linux, even if they were adapted to work with it through an interface made to allow for them.
    So let's quote the article you link to that describes the crux of the matter:
    In the present case, the files containing the code of the ZFS filesystem are available under free software license, but the terms offered are CDDL, not GPLv2. So although complete and corresponding source code for the GPLv2-licensed kernel binary is available under free license, some files are available only under terms of CDDL, which is inconsistent with the literal meaning of GPLv2 section 2(b). For a community of copyright holders whose consensus intention is to limit their permission to the literal meaning of GPLv2's words, this is a sufficient basis for an objection to the combination.
    The majority of the article and your arguments are straw-man arguments since binary distribution and source code availability for the end user is not what's on the table here, the problem is that Linus cannot distribute the Linux Kernel source code under GPLv2 if he includes the ZFS source code to the kernel source code tree.

    Whether or not Nvidia, IBM or Broadcom are releasing and code from their binary distribution is a separate issue completely from what Linus have to do by including ZFS.

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  • Slartifartblast
    replied
    Originally posted by ryao View Post

    Oracle owns at least that much of the copyright of the Linux kernel. This is also true for glibc, MAC OS X, FreeBSD, etcetera. If you want to avoid their copyrights, your choices would be Minix, Haiku and Windows, although they might own portions of those of which I am unaware.
    Critically, that's covered by GPL.

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  • ryao
    replied
    Originally posted by smitty3268 View Post

    Sure, but that's GPL code.

    The problem isn't that they have written parts of the code. It's that the license allows them to do shady things if they want.

    Regardless of your beliefs on the legality of integrating ZFS with the kernel, there should be zero doubt that if they wanted to Oracle could create a big multi-million dollar lawsuit over it that would take years of time in court to resolve and huge armies of lawyers. They might be able to attempt something similar with pure-GPL code, too, but their chances of getting anywhere with it are much slimmer. Presumably such a lawsuit would be shot down fairly quickly in that case.
    The GPLv2 has no patent grant, so code under it is far more vulnerable than code under the CDDL. Being under the GPLv2 does not make it more safe. If anything, it is less safe. That is why the GPLv3 was written.
    Last edited by ryao; 14 January 2020, 03:44 AM.

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  • ryao
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post

    Don't make me laugh.
    https://www.softwarefreedom.org/reso...rnel-cddl.html
    This is error if you think this says that CDDL is not suspect.

    There are prior ruling over MPL 1.1 that the SFLC totally does not consider and it openly admits that there are areas in cddl without a clear understanding what the heck it means in simple terms the license is suspect those areas may have a different meaning to what you expect when we get a court order over them.

    In response to such an objection, all distributors would no doubt cease distributing such combinations,
    This is a mistake as well. Different distributions are made in different countries on these unclear license what is legal in one country can be illegal in another. This is partly why Ubuntu and Debian response to CDDL is different.


    Yes Oracle is sitting on a lot of patents. But large section of Oracle patent pool is not usable because rulings over GPL and other things around patents. ZFS is in the location where those patents have be considered.

    https://www.techworld.com.au/article...ent_litigation

    So oracle has the right to the patent licenses to use ZFS that cover CDDL works. But netapp is sitting on patents that that could cover ZFS who has sued.

    Please note I said "sitting in the patents" not that all those patents own to Oracle. Oracle is the only party who as the information on who has patents against ZFS and the terms of use of those patents as a collective. So we need Oracle legal to be answering questions on ZFS.

    Think SFLC goes if the Linux kernel developers object. One problem "kernel licensors" is not worst problem. Netapp the patent holder who could object to ZFS entering kernel mainline they are one of the parties who also holds copyright to parts of the ZFS stuff used by SUN.

    So while ZFS for Linux contains any of the old SUN code you can have Netapp as a copyright holder in mix so kiss good buy to your licensor agreement. Again without SUN legal information that Oracle holds how many more parties are there like this. So the argument that consensus could exist with the current ZFS for Linux source trees it cannot exist.
    There are no rulings over the GPL and patents. The GPLv2 also has no patent grant, unlike the CDDL. Oracle is also holding plenty of patents from Sun on UNIX in general. If they wanted to use the nuclear option, ZFS is in a much better position than Linux due to the patent grant of the CDDL.

    That being said, I think calling a well written open source license ”suspect” is not a legitimate argument. It is also not one that even Linus entertains. He simply dislikes taking code that does not have signed off from the copyright holders, especially when one of them is Oracle. That is his only problem with OpenZFS as far as he has told anyone.

    Quite frankly, whether he takes the code into his tree or not does not really matter as he is not in a position to decide what people run or do not run on their machines. If he was, we would not have functional computers given that his tree lacks a functional userspace. Linus taking it would also create headaches for development supporting multiple kernels/platforms that do not occur when being out of tree.

    Netapp does not hold copyright over any part of ZFS. Merely stating that Netapp owns copyright over ZFS indicates a severe lack of understanding of who owns copyright over ZFS, what copyright is or both. You should take the time to learn these things before forming opinions. In specific, copyright has to do with authorship and is entirely separate from patents. ZFS has no netapp code. Therefore netapp does not hold copyright over it. Any reasoning that begins with netapp holds copyright over ZFS is automatically wrong.

    Your remark “without SUN legal information that Oracle holds how many more parties are there like this” is FUD that can be applied to *anything*. Microsoft has a few patents that it has used against the Linux kernel to collect $1 billion in annual royalties from Android phone makers, so it is clear that such FUD could be easily applied to Linux too. Oracle has enough UNIX patents that they likely could do the same or worse with Linux if they tried.
    Last edited by ryao; 14 January 2020, 04:17 AM.

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