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OpenSolaris community proposes to fork code for independent development

Lack of communication and unexplained delays over the release of OpenSolaris 2010.3 threatens a split in the OpenSolaris project.

Read on for more information.

In the world of open-source, forking the source code of a program(taking the legal code of a program and performing independent development) is something which usually thought of as a last resort, as it is usually done only when participation in a certain project has become impossible due to unresolvable differences between the developers.

Needless to say, the act of forking is generally considered as something undesirable, but it seems that for the OpenSolaris community, such an action might be necessary to ensure the survival of a free UNIX operating system.

Much of the discontent stems from the fact that the upcoming 2010.3 release has already been delayed by almost a month (it was slated to be released on March 26), while Oracle, which purchased SUN, seems “to be ambivalent” about the free operating system, not having made any explanations for the delay and has since ceased offering install CDs of the operating system (the ISO file is still available for download).

To many community developers, such actions were enough to justify calling for a fork of the OpenSolaris code base, a move which many members on the mailing list have supported.

“We [should] not ignore the current situation and thus be prepared to fork in case this is needed,” wrote board member Joerg Schilling on the mailing list.

However, OpenSolaris board members called for a more cautious approach, saying that the community should not be too hasty in making a fork of the project, and that the first step should be to establish regular contact with Oracle, as the company has a different approach with regards to communication with the community developers, and is still responsible for much of the development work behind OpenSolaris .

That being said, board member Simon Phipps feels that the need to fork the code base is not needed, at least for now.

“Given Oracle’s style, I have seen no concrete triggers for concern yet,” Phipps wrote in an email to IDG.

Source: InfoWorld

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