Sun's OpenSolaris community problem

Sun wants to control the development of OpenSolaris through its control of the trademark. This upset Roy Fielding, a key member of the governing board, so much he quit in a huff.

Roy Fielding of Day Software
Earlier this week I got a little jokey about Sun's open source efforts.

Turns out they have a serious problem. They have moved to licenses at  the bottom of the open source incline, but their corporate attitude puts them at the top of the open source development incline.

That's an unstable position that can easily lead to a hard fall.

At issue is the status of the OpenSolaris community. Sun wants to control the development of OpenSolaris through its control of the trademark. This upset Roy Fielding, a key member of the governing board, so much he quit in a huff.

Fielding's letter, which is still on the OpenSolaris Web site, says Sun broke its promises on making OpenSolaris an open development project, and claimed it has made a habit of breaking promises.

Sun responded in the form of a prepared statement from Terri Molini, a Sun PR person who emphasized Fielding's role as a consultant while giving her own title as "OpenSolaris advocacy contributor."

That's worse than a non-denial denial. It's a confirmation of Fielding's basic charge, that despite claims to the contrary OpenSolaris is still Sun's property, and will be treated as such by Sun.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but why should I work free so you can profit? Especially when there are plenty of alternative projects to work on which don't have that problem?

Given Sun's need for community contributions, which motivated the decision to make OpenSolaris open source in the first place, the company has some explaining to do.

And words won't do the job. Action is needed, or Sun's goals for OpenSolaris, in terms of community contributions, just won't be met.

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