On opening up Solaris
By tucker on Jun 18, 2004
One of the projects I've been working on lately is figuring out how we're going to make the Solaris code available as open source, and create an open development model around it allowing (and encouraging) contributors from outside the company. Some of you may have heard that Jonathan Schwartz (Sun's COO) recently announced that we're going to be doing this. We've actually been working on it for quite a while, but the public announcement has certainly increased the pressure (both internal and external).
There's been a lot of speculation about why we're doing this, whether we're out to "attack" Linux or whatever. From where I sit, this isn't at all what we're trying to do. We've been working on Solaris for a number of years, and are proud of what we've accomplished. We'd like to make it easier for more people to use it, and to help us improve it. We see open source as a way to enable that. If you prefer Linux, that's fine; I'm a firm believer in diversity and choice. In the end, diversity helps drive innovation, which helps the end user (and keeps me employed).
As you might expect, working on this involves lots of time spent meeting with lawyers about licenses and such. Obviously we have to worry about the legal stuff, but I'm also interested in hearing from other people outside the company about what you think we should do. Clearly we'll need to release the code under an open source (i.e., OSI approved) license, but beyond that, what do you think are the requirements? What about governance models? Are there any examples that you think work particularly well, or not so well?