Sun Names OpenSolaris Board

Sun announces the five members of its OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board, which includes open-source luminary Roy Fielding.

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Monday announced the five members of its OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board to steward the evolution of that community and its governance model, including open-source luminary Roy Fielding, the co-founder of The Apache Software Foundation.

The board will have five members initially, two of which have been selected from the pilot OpenSolaris community, two from Sun itself and one from the greater open-source community.

In a media teleconference late Monday afternoon, Sun officials announced that they had recruited Fielding, chief scientist at Day Software, as the board member elected from the greater open-source community. Fielding is also a co-founder and member of The Apache Software Foundation and the primary architect of current HTTP protocol.

Fielding said he sees his role on the board as "a voice for the open-source side of the equation. I also helped produce the governance model for The Apache Software Foundation, and I am really looking forward to becoming involved in this new community," he said.

The two board members elected from the pilot OpenSolaris community are Rich Teer and Al Hopper. Teer is an independent Solaris consultant and author of "Solaris Systems Programming" in British Columbia. "Im honored to be part of the board, and this is the culmination of my dream as an evangelist. I hope to do a lot to help OpenSolaris going forward," he said.

Hopper, an engineering consultant for Logical Approach, in Plano, Texas, describes himself as a "Sun zealot" for more than 15 years. "I am a big believer and proponent of Solaris on commodity hardware, and want to promote it on commodity hardware," he said. "Being on this board will allow me to influence the direction of OpenSolaris."

Hopper was one of the "Secret Six" who railed against Sun in 2002 for its decision to suspend indefinitely support for Solaris 9 on x86 hardware. Sun ultimately reversed that decision after a rollercoaster of conflicting decisions and moves.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Suns decision to deliver Solaris 9 on x86 hardware.

Sun elected Casper Dik, a senior staff engineer who focuses on security, to the board. Dik said he looks forward to helping people and to making Solaris an even better product than it is today.

The other Sun staffer elected was Simon Phipps, its chief technology evangelist, who said he is happy to see the move toward the open sourcing of Suns software products continue. He said hes committed to creating genuinely open and transparent communities around this and to setting the governance, transparency and membership of the OpenSolaris community, so everyone has an equal say in the process.

The boards chairmanship position will rotate, and the board is essentially "a group of equals," Teer said, adding that the board is not there to tell Sun how to develop software.

Fielding said the boards primary scope is to bootstrap the community, and it is essentially working on the by-laws of incorporation. Asked what the possible pitfalls could be, Fielding said one of the most common problems with sponsored open-source projects is "being loved to death" by the original sponsors.

"We are very conscious of the fact that Sun really wants this project to succeed. At the same time, it is acknowledging by forming the board that the OpenSolaris group needs to be independent, it needs to be able to act separately from what Sun does internally, and it needs to have a self-governing group that can promote through efforts of meritocracy rather than through assignment-to-work projects," he said.

The board will work on governance proposals over the next few months, and this will be done on a public mailing list so the entire community can be involved, ask questions and point out any possible mistakes, Fielding said.

Sun is delighted to have Fielding on the board, Phipps said, as he brings his aggregation of experience from The Apache Software Foundation and the other activities he has been involved in.

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