Updates on {SO}GE aka GridEngine

Alrighty … looks like there is additional information.

Sun changed the license in 2009 for a 120 user test period, all Oracle did was change this to 60 day, and firmed up some of the rest of the language.

There is a debate running on the mailing list, which, while some are (erroneously) claiming that its FUD, we see now, in all its glory, the issue of incompatible licenses. SGE/OGE is covered under something called SISSL. SISSL is an “OSI approved” license.

But its not GPL2, and can’t be co-mixed with GPL2 code. It can’t (and shouldn’t) be relicensed without copyright owners permission. I’d argue that there is a snowballs chance in Florida that this will happen. Unfortunately, this seems to be having an issue.

Also, Oracle folks did weigh in, and they made completely valid points that boil down to “hey, we are spending our dime on building/maintaining this, why not pay us for it.” That is (IMO) the correct argument for sticking with OGE going forward. The problem is that I don’t know quite yet what the pricing is going to look like. If its reasonable, then this is a tempest in a teapot (which I am hoping). If its unreasonable (e.g. kilo-dollars per core or socket), lots of folks have already expressed an interest in moving on to something lower cost.

I’ve argued many time, and will continue to argue (as the evidence seems to be backing me up in most cases) that the primary rationale that people use open source software is the lower acquisition and deployment cost. They higher quality and better release responses are also high on the list. But if you have 1000 machines to deploy something to, and you have two systems, one which charges you per machine (or worse, per core), and one that has effectively a flat rate cost (which winds up being reasonable), its likely you are going to go with the latter.

This also points up to fundamental failures in licensing for clusters, clouds and other types of systems. Charging per core or per machine doesn’t make a great deal of sense in a continuously variable core/machine count scenario.

I know the software ISVs may (strenuously) disagree … their business model, to a degree, depends upon this type of licensing.

Looking at OGE going forward, we simply need to know what support will cost. From there, we can let our customers know, and they can determine whether or not it makes sense to stick with this, look at another commercial/per-seat situation, or flip over to a GPL-licensed system.

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