vendredi, novembre 30, 2007

Why does blind people can't drive a car ?

Two days ago, I have been told that Neil Wilson, the guy behind OpenDS, and four other guys working with him, have been fired from Sun :

Sad news... We met them at Austin last year, during ApacheCon US, where we have had a very interesting BoF. Here are some minutes :

We don't have the exact reasons why the core OpenDS team has been fired, because it's obviously something we don't have all the elements, but the 'reasons' which are going public are quite strange (quoting Simon Phipps) :

"...However, I do question how you characterize the requests to change the OpenDS governance. I note that the OpenDS governance was changed on April 28 by sshoaff[2] and that the original line reading:

“This Project Lead, who is appointed by Sun Microsystems, is responsible for managing the entire project”

was replaced by one reading

“This Project Lead, who is appointed and removed by a majority vote of the Project Owners, is responsible for managing the entire project”

I have not been able to find a discussion of this change anywhere, and I understand from your former managers that they were unaware of this change. While you characterize the request made of you as:

“demanded that the owners approve a governance change that would grant Sun full control of the OpenDS project”

it seems to me that what in fact happened was you were (collectively) asked to revert that change to its original state. On present data, it appears to me that far from Sun acting in bad faith over the governance, they were in fact making a reasonable request to correct an earlier error."

Now, when you think about this governance thing, this is clearly something we discussed about during our meeting one year ago. We really found strange that a so-called Open Source project could be managed entirely by a single company, namely Sun. That means no one but Sun can decide which direction the project should go. It's not anymore Open Source, but For your eyes only Source. Use OpenDS, and build a stack on top of it, go front to front with Sun but then they can change something in the code and you are in a dead end.

So what's next? From ApacheDS point of view, OpenDS existence validated Alex Karasulu's vision when he started to write an Ldap server in Java. It was also good to have a competitor, and a strong one. But now what will be OpenDS future? We started some kind of collaboration, a new JNDI API, which was stopped as the project never became a JSR, another failure... Will OpenDS stall totally? Considering that Neil wrote more than 50% of the server, it's likely to be the case, at least for the next 6 months (it's a 1 000 000 lines of code project !)

There is something wrong about Sun and OSS. It's like a blind person driving a car. Being a passenger is not exactly a good position ;)