HPE Joins Other Community Leaders in Protecting Developers and Enabling Innovation

March 19, 2018 • Blog Post • Mark Potter, Senior Vice President and CTO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise & Director, Hewlett Packard Labs

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • HPE has joined Red Hat and other tech leaders supporting a commitment to provide the open source community with a cure period for instances of accidental license infringement
  • Open source is a key part of our innovation strategy and HPE’s commitment to this cure period will help the developer community thrive

CTO Mark Potter shares the importance of HPE supporting a cure period for accidental license infringement

Linus’s Law, a claim about software development that was named in honor of Linus Torvalds – the founder of the Linux operating system – states simply: that given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

 

In other words, with a large enough base of co-developers and beta testers, not only will problems in programming code get identified quickly but the fix for them will become obvious just as quickly....to someone....somewhere.

 

And while that correlation has long been debated, the beauty and elegance it ascribes to the open source movement has not.

 

It's hard to overstate the impact the open source movement has had on our world to date, and even harder to overstate the significance of the contributions individual developers around the globe have made and continue to make on a daily basis.

 

The open source movement thrives because of those eyeballs, the people who make it their business – either professionally during the work day or personally in their free time – to review, deconstruct, edit and/or otherwise iterate the base of code that powers so many aspects of our tech-powered lives today, starting with the Internet itself.

 

And so, it is in continued recognition and appreciation of the devotion and invaluable contributions of the developer community that we at HPE joined forces with our peers in the tech community this week to ensure that developers can continue doing what they do so very well and users can continue to consume that work, but without fear of retribution for trying to do the right thing.

In joining Red Hat and other companies in supporting a 60-day period cure period during which developers and community users can address accidental infringement, we are continuing our commitment to building and maintaining a collaborative and unhindered open community. HPE’s official statement on the cure period is as follows:

 

Today, we gladly join in the community announcement in support of incorporating the 60 day cure period included in the compliance provision of GPLv3 into GPLv2, LGPL v2.1, and LGPL v2.  The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board (“TAB”), and more generally, the Linux kernel developers, have adopted this already, and we certainly feel this is a good thing for Linux and for the broader open source community.

 

The expanded cure period provides additional time, and therefore comfort, to users of code licensed under the other flavors of GPL that they will have reasonable assurances of using open source, even if there is an inadvertent and temporary noncompliance with the license due to confusion, misunderstanding or for any other reason.  We support the community in this endeavor and will continue to help users and customers comply with open source licensing terms.

 

In effect, we are now helping to make shallow a bug that struck at the heart and soul of the open source system; a bug that put developers and users at risk of being sued by patent trolls who scan open source code for honest errors and patent infringements.

 

Put simply: this bug, if allowed to spread, would cripple our collective ability to innovate.

For example, it could severely harm ongoing efforts to make our cities smarter - wherein the infrastructure that makes up the very fabric of our municipalities responds in meaningful ways in real time to our pressing needs, thereby significantly improving the quality of our lives. For that to happen, disparate technologies must be able to talk to one another and so depend heavily on open source platforms.

 

The open source community has played a pivotal role in HPE’s ability to innovate. For instance, we invited the open source community to collaborate on HPE's largest and most notable research project – The Machine – which is focused on reinventing the computer architecture on which all computers have been built for the past 60 years. To bring this new memory-driven architecture to life, The Machine requires a new software stack. Our team at HPE is developing that stack in the open, actively sourcing feedback from the developer community.

 

Fixing this bug is not just good business, but it is also good for business and society overall.

 

Which is to say that I personally - and we at HPE professionally - could not be more grateful for the open source movement and the eyeballs and community contributions that continue to make it so.

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