Tuesday, August 03, 2010

To fork or not to fork

When people talk about OpenSource, they often ask whether a project is free enough to allow to create a fork from the original project. They never ask whether it makes sense to fork. When OpenSolaris was first published on June 14th 2005, people asked whether OpenSolaris is free enough to create a fork, they did not ask whether it makes sense to fork OpenSolaris.

When OpenSolaris was announced by Sun on September 14th 2004, it was announced to become a true OpenSource project with co-development and collaboration between Sun and the community. It could not become 100% OpenSource in the first attempt as not all of the code was owned by Sun. When OpenSolaris did become OpenSource on June 14th 2005, Sun probably thought that this was more for an academic purpose, as important parts for the base of the Operating System where missing. When we did publish the first version of SchilliX based on the OpenSolaris code on June 17th 2005, nobody thought that this was possible. We did not fork as there was no need to fork, we just added missing code from the OSS community and code we did write ourself.

After some years, the community still had problems to contribute into the OpenSolaris code base from Sun. As Sun did publish source and binaries for OpenSolaris on a regular base, nobody was interested in a fork.

Then Oracle bought Sun and stopped publishing binaries for recent OpenSolaris releases and stopped talking to the community at the same time. Now more and more people started to talk about forking, but they felt helpless.

Then a group of former Sun/Oracle employees and people from the community started to work on a truely open OpenSolaris base owned by the community and stored in the open. This group started to replace the closed source bits from Solaris by OSS code. Today this project has been announced under the name Illumos, see http://illumos.org/

Is this project a fork?

No, we still believe that it is better to keep it as a maintained child of the OpenSolaris source from Oracle as this allows for collaboration with Oracle and that allows to let code flow in both directions.

We however demonstrated that we now definitely can fork in case this will be needed, e.g. because Oracle stops publishing sources.

OpenSource does not live from forking but from being able to fork in case forking could be needed.

9 Comments:

Blogger 亦奈美妮 said...

Many a true word is spoken in jest..................................................................

August 5, 2010 at 1:28 AM  
Blogger 偉曹琬 said...

唯有學習不已的老師,才能認真的教,唯有燃燒自己,才能點亮他人的燈............................................................

August 7, 2010 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger 允黃淑 said...

百發百中不是一試就成的。..................................................

August 10, 2010 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger 佳陳容 said...

相見亦無事,不來常思君......................................................................

August 12, 2010 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger 恩宛玲如 said...

你的分享很不錯.. 謝謝 ..................................................

August 14, 2010 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Paul Johnston said...

Well it's gone now so is a fork the only way ahead and can it survive or will it wither away?
Paul

August 17, 2010 at 3:24 AM  
Blogger ader45 said...

any open source project should be help.. because they had help a lot of people....


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August 29, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger ader45 said...

open source still awesome because it is free...

they must be something wrong..... :-(
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October 11, 2011 at 3:45 AM  
Blogger Damian said...

i love open source product... free and quality :-)


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December 20, 2011 at 9:29 PM  

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