Sun accused of using threats to gain control of project

Sun potentially has torn a gaping hole in the OpenDS project

Sun used strong-arm tactics and made threats to the owners of an open-source directory project to wrestle away control, according to one of the former owners and creators of the project.

In the process, Sun potentially has torn a gaping hole in the OpenDS (directory service) project, which is creating a free Java-based directory service for large deployments that offers high performance, extensibility and management.

Neil Wilson, who was the co-founder, co-owner and committer of OpenDS and a Sun employee before he was laid off in September, said on his blog and in an interview with Network World, that Sun threatened to terminate his severance benefits and those of three other recently laid-off employees and co-owners of OpenDS if the foursome didn't amend the OpenDS bylaws to cede control to Sun.

Sun did not respond to requests for comments by the time this story was posted.

"Owners" of open source projects establish the work's governance and its goals, guide the community effort and resolve disputes among project contributors, among other activities.

The OpenDS bylaws state that governance changes can only be made by a consensus of the project owners, which is standard language for project bylaws, and Wilson says Sun forced him and the others to give up ownership so the vendor could control who was spearheading OpenDS.

"I don't think at the time they did it [layoffs] that they realized they had laid off the entire ownership of the project. I think they did not know how to handle that," Wilson said.

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John Fontana

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