Web pioneer quits OpenSolaris project

Noted technologist Roy Fielding has left the OpenSolaris project.

A high-profile figure in Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris community has quit, accusing Sun of retaining too much control over the open-source counterpart to its Solaris operating system.

Roy Fielding, co-founder of the Apache HTTP Server Project and a key contributor to the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), announced his resignation last week in a message on the community's discussion forum.

"Sun didn't just make vague statements to me about OpenSolaris; they made promises about it being an open development project. That's the only way they could get someone like me to provide free labor for their benefit," he wrote in the message dated Feb. 14.

That hasn't happened, Fielding argued.

"Sun agreed that 'OpenSolaris' would be governed by the community and yet has refused, in every step along the way, to cede any real control over the software produced or the way it is produced, and continues to make private decisions every day that are later promoted as decisions for this thing we call OpenSolaris," he wrote.

OpenSolaris consists of an open-source code base, tools and a community of developers, not an end-user-ready distribution. Various distributions employing OpenSolaris have been released.

Sun should adopt the governing style of MySQL, the open-source database company Sun is acquiring, Fielding wrote. "That company doesn't pretend to let their community participate in decisions, and yet they still manage to satisfy most of their users. ... There's nothing particularly wrong with that choice -- it is a perfectly valid open source model for corporations that don't need active community participation."

Fielding did not respond to a request for additional comment.

Terri Molini, an OpenSolaris advocacy contributor at Sun, responded to Fielding in a prepared statement Wednesday.

"As a consultant, Roy was extremely helpful during the inception of the OpenSolaris community as well as an original member of the [OpenSolaris Governing Board]. His involvement with the community and his contributions in the creation of the governance model were invaluable. Sun wishes him well in all of his endeavors," she wrote.

"Open source technologies have many stakeholders and Sun is working with as many communities as possible to create an open source distribution of OpenSolaris," she continued. "We recognize that we will not be able to please everyone as we move through this process and in some cases, we'll have to agree to disagree on some points."

One close observer of OpenSolaris had a mixed reaction to Fielding's decision.

"There's a controversy here, there's a flare-up, it looks bad, but the commentary itself is not unprecedented in the open-source community," said Stephen O'Grady, an analyst with Redmonk.

Given Fielding's status as a technologist, his departure will have some effect but won't cripple the project, O'Grady said. "Certainly it's a [public relations] hit. ... But this isn't Linus Torvalds leaving Linux."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?