The OGB's Decree

Last week, four out of the five OpenSolaris Governing Board members issued the CAB/OGB Position Paper # 20070207 in an attempt to outline their position on the issue of potentially dual licensing OpenSolaris with GPLv3 and CDDL. I responded to the OGB's position paper because I have concerns about the language they used to articulate their position and their attempt to thwart an open conversation on OpenSolaris by issuing a "decree" saying that "[f]urther discussion on GPL\* is merely a diversion and distraction that should be discouraged." That's a remarkable statement and needs to be challenged.

For the purposes of this discussion, I don't particularly care about the distinctions between GPLv2, GPLv3, and CDDL. All I ask is that the elected representatives of the OpenSolaris community not use inflammatory terms like "fostering FUD towards OpenSolaris" to describe a fellow open source community and also not try to stop an open debate on our forums. There are perfectly valid differences of opinion between the proponents of all licenses, and there's no reason we can't explore all of the issues whenever we want.

To me, the most important words written about Opensolaris are contained in the OpenSolaris Community Principles:
  • The project will evolve in full view of the world. By opening our code, processes, documentation, and historical information to everyone, we offer a real opportunity for others to join our community and contribute from an equal footing. Technical information will be withheld if there are legal restrictions, never because it is incomplete or of poor quality.
  • We will be inclusive. Proposals will be evaluated based on technical merit and consistency with overarching design goals, constraints, and requirements.
  • We will be respectful and honest. Developers and users have the right to be treated with respect. We do not make ad hominem attacks, and we encourage constructive criticism. Our commitment to civil discourse allows new users and contributors with contrarian ideas an opportunity to be heard without intimidation.
  • Quality is always a top priority. The OpenSolaris project will continue the long tradition of quality engineering established by the Solaris Operating System.
  • We are independent. Decisions within the project are made independently from those concerning Sun's business. Sun's management controls the business aspects of the Solaris product, but will not exert undue influence within the OpenSolaris community.
The third bullet is most important in this context: "We will be respectful and honest. Developers and users have the right to be treated with respect. We do not make ad hominem attacks, and we encourage constructive criticism. Our commitment to civil discourse allows new users and contributors with contrarian ideas an opportunity to be heard without intimidation."

I think I'll continue following the OpenSolaris Community Principles. I can not accept the OGB's decree.

Comments:

Awesome post Jim, completely agree. I'm looking forward to a whole new air of positivity in the coming year!

Posted by Glynn Foster on February 11, 2007 at 05:50 PM JST #

I think one half of all this needs bullet #3 pointed out to them, and the other half could probably do with bullet #5 shown to them, too.

Posted by richlowe on February 12, 2007 at 02:18 AM JST #

Jim, "That a Boy ..." Keep up your efforts!

Posted by William R. Walling on February 12, 2007 at 03:46 AM JST #

Rich ... your are 100% correct. Although I'm not necessarily happy with Sun's actions here, I'm just as unhappy with the community's reaction. And both are articulated in the third and fifth points. Fascinating. Thanks. Glynn ... thanks, I hope we can improve the tone here, and I think we will. And William ... I just sent mail asking for a face to face meeting between executives and the OGB. We need to resolve this together.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on February 12, 2007 at 06:39 AM JST #

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