Simon Phipps joins open identity startup ForgeRock
ForgeRock has announced that Simon Phipps has joined the Norway-based company's board as Chief Strategy Officer. Phipps, formerly Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems and currently sitting on the boards of the OSI (Open Source Initiative) and Open Source for America, is developing ForgeRock's plans to be a "pure open source" player in the identity management business.
Core to ForgeRock's plans is OpenAM, based on Sun's OpenSSO product which Oracle have apparently abandoned and which was rescued for the community by ForgeRock in February and renamed OpenAM for trademark reasons. OpenAM is complemented by a range of ForgeRock's other products: OpenESB, OpenIdM and OpenPortal (based on LifeRay). ForgeRock already has a number of customers including BetFair, the online gambling services provider, and NBA AS, the Norwegian state railway company.
Forgerock's open source development policies are aimed at keeping the ownership of code within the community, through a contributor agreement which does not ask for copyright assignment but for a licence for the project and its users to use the code. This is complemented by the option to contribute code without an agreement by placing it under the Apache 2 licence.
Talking to The H, Lasse Andresen, CEO of ForgeRock said that Phipps was one of the people who was closest to what he believes are the "first class citizens of open source" and he shares Phipps' view on how open source should be done, "The right way, not half the way as a lot of open source companies have tried". Phipps' role immediately would be to help ForgeRock plan and communicate that goal. "It's important that we are clear on presenting what we do, how we think and what we don't do, and Simon is very good at strategising and presenting that kind of message" said Andresen, "We want to make sure that what we do is clear and communicated well, and open and transparent".
Phipps, writing in his new blog, under the title "Software freedom matters, and I intend to prove it", says that one of the benefits of open source is that in the event of the code's owner discontinuing development a group of developers can simply pick up the source code and continue improving it. "That's all fine in theory" says Phipps "but does it actually work? I intend to find out".