Well it had to happen at some point — the open-core debate has finally entered the Ubuntu community with a bang as a result of Nasa dumping Eucalyptus. If you remember the announcement surrounding “Karmic Koala and its food Eucalyptus ” which gave the Ubuntu platform remarkable “cloud- like properties”, then you may also remember that absolutely nothing was said back then about the new “open-core paradigm”. If you assumed it was all just Open Source, think again. Unbelievably, although not all that surprising considering the high stakes involved, the Ubuntu Enterprise layer is, yes, Open Core.
According to The Reg Nasa engineers attempted to contribute additional Eucalyptus code to improve its ability to scale, but they were unable to do so because some of the platform’s code is open and some isn’t. Their attempted contributions conflict with code that is only available in a partially closed version of platform maintained by Eucalyptus Systems Inc., the commercial outfit run by the project’s founders.
That Canonical has a commercial Redhat edge about it, has always been a rumour, but did we have to find out like this via a licensing violation? Canonical are going to have a lot of explaining to do about their commitment to open source, and while the open-core definitions are only now being resolved by the folks who gave us the Open Source Definition, how does this impact on the GPL? I hesitate to say the Free Software Foundation is going to have something to add, but you have my two cents, Stallman is going to give Shuttleworth his own particular form of hell. Check this excellent article summing up the current debate, The Singularity of Free