The net is suddenly all abuzz with the rumor mill churning out numerous accounts that the PlayStation 4 running Orbis OS (shown here) is actually a derivative of FreeBSD 9. Thus the debate over licensing models rages on. The Linux camp are miffed at being passed over and many are self righteously indignant at this latest development. The BSD crowd on the hand is elated as it is another shining example showcasing the stability of FreeBSD over many other open source initiatives.
Many Linux users do not understand why Sony would choose to use a BSD for this purpose especially given the lack of a native driver for the AMD Radeon graphics on PS4. However, if anyone has the clout to encourage AMD to release full fledged BSD compatible drivers Sony certainly can.
Then there is the fact that everyone steals, er I mean borrows from the BSD family of operating systems. Even Linus Torvalds has admitted to this. Personally I feel that Linuxes who co-opt products and code from the BSD only to re-license under GPL into their environments are far more egregious than the commercial companies who build product on top of a BSD. You have done no one a favor by cannibalizing another open source community’s work. Fortunately I have observed some projects include an anti GPL re-licensing clause in their work. Whether or not such modified BSD licensing will hold up in a court of law or not is still under contention, it is good to see BSD project protecting themselves from the GPL vampires.
Ultimately one does not buy a gaming console based upon the license of the equipment’s operating system. Consumers purchase this sort of equipment based upon the games and content available. Look at the Nintendo Wii at one point a very successful system but as new game development dwindled so did the device. Furthermore, the Wii U is nothing to write home about. However, considering the alternative of a completely 100% closed system such as the case with the PlayStation’s closest competitor the Xbox One isn’t this at least a better alternative?
Sure Sony will likely choose to closed the source once they are commercial ready but at least the product is based on Open Source. Perhaps it is time to add a usage disclosure clause to the BSD License?
If you use or derive a work from one of the BSDs then you must publicly acknowledge this on ALL product documentation.
What are your thoughts on such a simple change?