Monday, August 23, 2010

The OpenSolaris Governing Board resigns

It is sad news, the OpenSolaris Governing Board resigned today collectively with the following resolution:

Motion concerning dissolution of the OGB

Whereas Oracle has continued to ignore requests to appoint a liaison to work with the OGB concerning the future of OpenSolaris development and our community, and

Whereas Oracle distributed an email to its employees on Aug 13 2010 that set forth Oracle’s decision to unilaterally terminate the development partnership between Oracle and the OpenSolaris Community, and

Whereas, without the continued support and participation of Oracle in the open development of OpenSolaris, the OGB and the community Sun/Oracle created to support the open Solaris development partnership have no meaning, and

Whereas the desire and enthusiasm for continuing open development of the OpenSolaris code base has clearly passed out of Oracle’s (and thus this community’s) hands into other communities,

Be it Resolved that the OpenSolaris Governing Board hereby collectively resigns, noting that under the terms of the OpenSolaris Charter section 1.1 (and Constitution 1.3.5) the responsibility to appoint an OGB passes to Oracle.

The motion was accpeted without any vote against.

The OGB had not other way, as Oracle did not talk with the OGB since at least April (when the current OGB was constituted). On August, Friday 13th there was a Letter from Oracle that Oracle will shut down collaboration with the OpenSolaris Community. On August 18th, Oracle did the last public to the Mercurial source repository.

The community moves on to the free and open Illumos project.

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

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.