Feeds

Winners and losers in Sun's OpenDS spat

Not sticking it to the man

High performance access to file storage

The brouhaha (here and here) surrounding Sun Microsystems and ex-employee Neil Wilson over governance of the OpenDS project - first reported in The Register - continued to bubble this week, not least among Reg Dev's readers.

Many of you took the harsh, but arguably fair, point of view that Sun was in the right as work done during the employer's time belongs to, guess who, the employer. Others adopted the slightly provocative stance that open source developers are "chumps" because what they are really doing is unpaid open source development for companies like Sun that have the money to pay.

"Open source and for-profit companies have got an irreconcilable conflict of interests - you just end up as an unpaid proxy working for The Man who makes a profit from your efforts," according to one reader.

So is everyone getting ripped off here? What is the legal position, and who wins?

The goal of OpenDS is to build a free, open-source directory service. Wilson, who helped found OpenDS, claimed he and four other laid-off Sun employees who were also project committers were threatened by Sun into relinquishing governance of the project.

Sun claimed a change in governance of OpenDS had been improperly made months earlier, and that if left in place, would leave Sun, the project sponsor, with no say.

Both sides are throwing around a lot of terms, like "owner" and "copyright." We ran this past a couple of experts to define terms.

Bruce Perens, one of the founders of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), primary author of the Open Source Definition and a project lead for the Debian GNU/Linux, told Reg Dev that an open-source project's "owners" are the copyright holders. "If the developers are applying another sense of the term to the project, they are probably confused.

"They don't teach very much about copyright and business law in engineering school, so a lot of programmers are confused about it. If the developers brought the project to Sun from outside - if they were hired after they were already working on it or if they initiated it on their own time - they own some portion of it, or the whole thing. If they initiated it at Sun, and did the work on Sun's time, it would belong to Sun.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.