Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Moving OpenSolaris forward

Unless you've been living under a rock for a while, it should be clear that the OpenSolaris Community isn't in the healthiest state. Oracle, as the new owners and sponsors of the project, have been spectacularly uncommunicative. The Governing Board have been left completely powerless, reduced to the role of spectators as Oracle withdraws behind its own barriers and what's left of the external community starts to engage in infighting.

So, and this hasn't been an easy decision, we have resolved:

The OGB is keen to promote the uptake and open development of OpenSolaris and to work on behalf of the community with Oracle, as such the OGB needs Oracle to appoint a liaison by August 16, 2010, who has the authority to talk about the future of OpenSolaris and its interaction with the OpenSolaris community. Otherwise the OGB will take action at the August 23 meeting to trigger the clause in the OGB charter that will return control of the community to Oracle.

Now, and sorry Ben, this isn't a "start talking to us or we'll just shot ourselves in the head" ultimatum. We're already on life support, if there are no signs of life then life support will be turned off.

Continuing on, or waiting indefinitely, merely perpetuates a lie. All is not well, and we would all be foolish to believe that it is. To do so would simply be delusional.

It may be nice for some to think that Oracle will ride up on a white charger to save the day. Even if that were to happen, it wouldn't really change the reality of the situation: that the current state of the community is essentially incompatible with the OpenSolaris charter and constitution, and that we need to move forward to a new organization that has new methods of governance. To get there (wherever that is) implies sweeping the current governance away. Oracle may not be prepared, but the OGB is brave enough to recognize that necessity and take the first steps. We would prefer to do so in concert with Oracle, hence the request that an official liaison be made available.

This move should also serve as a reality check and wake up call. Nobody - either within or outside Oracle - should have any excuses for being unaware of how bad things have become.

OpenSolaris stands at a crossroads. Many routes are open, there are choices available and decisions to be made. Simply standing still, wringing our hands and waiting indefinitely for Oracle to show up with a map, isn't an option. We need to break the shackles that tie us to this place and move forward.