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OpenSolaris Leadership Named

Five men handpicked by their peers will now help steer the fate of the open source version of the Solaris operating system.

Casper Dik, Roy Fielding, Al Hopper, Simon Phipps, and Rich Teer were announced as the charter members of the newly formed OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board (CAB). Sun Microsystems founded the board to serve as a non-vendor-specific organization to oversee the evolution of OpenSolaris, its developers and ecosystem.

Of the five members, Roy Fielding's name is the most notable of the bunch. Fielding is the chief scientist at Day Software and co-founder and member of the Apache Software Foundation. He was also the primary architect of the current Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1) and co-author of the Internet standards for HTTP and Uniform Resource Identifiers.

Hopper is an engineer consultant with Logical Approach. Teer works as an independent Solaris consultant and authored Solaris Systems Programming. Simon Phipps is chief technology evangelist at Sun and Casper Dik is a senior staff engineer at Sun.

The men said they had met for part of the day on Monday and were already pleased with their progress.

"We've had our first meeting and the whiteboard is full of ideas," Phipps said during a conference call with the press Monday. "We've already taken strong positions on keeping the transparency within the group. We've also been discussing the structure, and we will soon have a draft governance and a bootstrap so that the community can govern itself."

Back in January, Sun announced plans to release buildable source code for future versions of Solaris starting in the second quarter of 2005 under its Common Development and Distribution License. Sun has already released source code for its diagnostic DTrace application.

Fielding said OpenSolaris development from this point forward would be for the current Solaris tree version 10.1, which is now code-named Nevada.

The group reported there were several hundred engineers working on the development of OpenSolaris. It hasn't not decided on a common version control system like the Keeper, suggesting that it was leaning toward an uncontrolled approach.

"The ability for a non-Solaris developer to do a build of Solaris is not a trivial issue," Stacey Quandt, a senior business analyst with IT research firm Robert Frances Group, told internetnews.com. "Sun Solaris developers are an elite group and include some of the brightest individuals in computer science today.

"OpenSolaris can only be successful on a large scale if it can be built by developers who lack a computer science background. The selection and success of the five members of the OpenSolaris advisory board will be measured on the governance model advanced, i.e., degree of meritocracy, and the ability to garner broad interest in Solaris development outside of Sun."

The group has been compared to the Open Source Development Laboratory, a consortium of engineers assigned stewardship over the development of the Linux kernel and the Java Community Process (JCP), which is another Sun-sponsored autonomous group.

The OpenSolaris group said it is going in a different direction than the JCP in that it is reaching out more to get people involved and make it an open basis to create a community of equals. The group said it has also started a public interest mail list to keep its workings transparent.

"We are not here to tell Sun how do develop software but act as a liaison between Sun and the open Source community," Teer said.