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Oracle Shuttering OpenSSO 128

mdm42 writes "OpenSSO is one of the best open source web Single Sign On projects out there. Sun Microsystems made OpenSSO open source in 2008, so it's sad to see how, after absorbing Sun, Oracle is shutting down this amazing project, labelling it 'not strategic' and dismembering the few parts they think are worthwhile for their own SSO effort. They started by freezing the next express release, and during the last few weeks they have been removing all the open source downloads from the OpenSSO website and removing content from the wiki. Fortunately, a Norwegian company called ForgeRock has stepped up to the plate in an attempt to salvage the project under the new name OpenAM."
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Oracle Shuttering OpenSSO

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  • MySQL next? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:51PM (#31544424)

    Sadly, probably yes...

    • Re: Maybe not (Score:4, Insightful)

      by colinnwn ( 677715 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:54PM (#31544476)
      MySQL would be a very high profile project to kill. I think it is more likely they would provide much less support and engineering resources for it going forward, leaving it to the community outside of Sun to keep it feature and bug competitive.
      • Re: Maybe not (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:59PM (#31544540)

        I think it is more likely they would provide much less support and engineering resources for it going forward, leaving it to the community outside of Sun to keep it feature and bug competitive.

        Pretty much what I meant...but a fork surely won't be as credible with the corporate suits as a product with Sun behind it.
        Shame, MySQL & Ooffice are both great products IMHO.
        Maybe a white knight (with a Red Hat?) will take it over, but I'm sure if they're too successful than Larry will find a way to stymie it...

        • I don't see them killing Open Office, they don't have anything that competes with it and it is a minor thorn in the side to Microsoft, both things that Oracle likes. They have an SSO product, they have a database product so these would not be surprising targets for them. I'm very interested in finding out what's going to happen to OpenSolaris, I've recently been doing a proof of concept with Nexenta to replace our aging proprietary storage system and I really like it. Hard to say what tactic they'll take wi

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny) is still available ... I sure hope Oracle doesn't get it first ...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jhol13 ( 1087781 )

        Why? MySQL is a goose laying golden eggs. Why would Oracle kill it?

        They will charge for the support and engineering, just like Trolltech and Sun did.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dimeglio ( 456244 )

          Once you go opensource, you can't go back.

          • by Zandall ( 658755 )
            Maybe you didn't read the MySQL licence... "Sun makes its MySQL database server and MySQL Client Libraries available under the GPL for use with other GPL-licensed software and FOSS applications licensed under GPL-compatible FOSS licenses. In addition, for open source projects and developers creating and distributing open source software under certain FOSS licenses other than the GPL, Sun makes its GPL-licensed MySQL Client Libraries available under a FOSS Exception that allows distribution of the FOSS appli
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Why? MySQL is a goose laying golden eggs. Why would Oracle kill it?

          Are you nuts? That fucker is full of GOLDEN EGGS!!! Haven't you heard of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?

          Geez, kids these days.

    • Re:MySQL next? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:14PM (#31544730)
      Why so sad? This only proves that you can't kill an open source project; any worthwhile project will have someone else pick up the development, with or without forking it. If Sun attempts to "kill" MySQL, somebody else will pick that up too. Sure, repurposing the paid developers formerly working on the project is a real loss to the project, but not a fatal one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sadov ( 450985 )

        Apropos -- Oracles acquisition of Sun for russian regional representations approved by russian Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation at 19 March.

        The main condition of this approvement -- 4 years of MySQL support & development and saving of Open Source status of this project.

        You may found this verdict at agency site (unfortunately only on Russian now ;) :

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          I ran that link through Google Translator, and it came back with: "All your queries are belong to us" and "MySQL will be renamed OurSQL".

      • Isn't there already a non-Snorcle fork of MySQL?
    • Re:MySQL next? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by seebs ( 15766 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:20PM (#31544812) Homepage

      Gee, if only we had PostgreSQL doing just fine as an alternative, then I wouldn't mind so much if MySQL went away.

      • Re:MySQL next? (Score:4, Informative)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:30PM (#31545534) Homepage Journal

        And don't forget Ingres, SQLite (which is good enough for a lot of low-bandwidth stuff that MySQL has historically been used for), Drizzle (MySQL fork), and probably at least a half dozen others....

        • by seebs ( 15766 )

          Yeah. sqlite is AMAZING.

          pseudo (my project for a thing like fakeroot, only more bulletproofed) uses sqlite as its backend, and it's been a dream to work with.

          • by Pengo ( 28814 )

            Yup. :) I have done a bunch of small pet projects w/my work using sqlite and it's been awesome.

            For quick and dirty data-processing tasks, it's a god-send.

      • The problem is with stuff that is already built on MySQl, and the availability of MySQL. All the low end CMSs use MySQL, so do quite a few big ones. ALl the cheap web hosts offer MySQL.

        MySQL is also, IMO, easier to learn.

    • Thankfully, not []
    • I hope they do. I have never liked SQL and MySQL has always been problematic for me. The company I work at has switched to Tokyo Cabinet for all our applications and it has been like a dream compared to MySQL. The fact that we can have heavy duty applications written in C/C++ and web applications bound up with Ruby all effiiently accessing the same database AND those applications are extremely easy to understand and were easy to write says a hell of a lot.

      Of course I'm really not going to start liking Ora
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sadly? Perhaps it'll force people to use a proper database like Access or SQL Server.

    • Never underestimate the economic power of a vast user base, some of whom will buy support contracts, and perhaps upgrade to your flagship product in the future. OpenSSO didn't have a following (or upgrade path) anywhere near as large or lucrative, which made them vulnerable.
  • The Sun Also Sets (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:51PM (#31544428)
    Another nail in the once proud legacy of Sun.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why can't Oracle just leave OpenSSO open source but no longer maintain it? Why the need to rename the project or software? I hope the management at Oracle and the former Sun roast in Hell.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Because they want to monazite any parts of it they can pilfer. I used to refer to this practice as 'Frankensteining', but when it comes to Oracle I don't want to tarnish the good name of Frankenstein.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by plover ( 150551 ) *

      Is it? Or is OpenSSO simply inconsequential?

      I've never understood the appeal of SSO solutions. Joe Sixpack doesn't give a damn. It's never been made simple enough for him to "get". A handful of geeks may think it's awesome. But the rest of the real world doesn't care.

      Snoracle is probably totally safe with this.

    • by Eskarel ( 565631 )

      Why because Oracle canned a crappy Single Sign on Product which pretty much only integrated with Sun's other equally shitty server products?

      I love Java and I love the standards which Sun developed to create it, but Sun's implementations of their own standards are pretty shocking. That's a lot of the reason they tanked in the first place.

  • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:51PM (#31544430) Homepage

    This may be a test to see if they get attention for shutting down an open source project they inherited in order to also in the long run do the same to MySQL and possibly also other OpenSource projects.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PFAK ( 524350 ) *

      Well, considering, there is no official announcement from Oracle that they are pulling OpenSSO from their product lineup. This article/blog entry is mere speculation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chyeld ( 713439 )

        Information on the Wiki being removed, all of the 'opensource' versions removed for download, all updates to the same removed, leaving only the pay "enterprise" version avaliable?

        Let me guess, in a previous life you worked in Baghdad handing press announcements concerning the Allied troop advances for the Iraqi government.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, considering, there is no official announcement from Oracle that they are pulling OpenSSO from their product lineup. This article/blog entry is mere speculation.

        No, not "speculation", rather "observation".

      • by Golthar ( 162696 )

        Currently using OpenSSO on a product, I've seen that Oracle has removed more and more (now including the Wiki content it seems) from the project.
        This is going to be one in a long line of project cancelations.

    • Will see the same fate.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by argoth ( 21958 )

        Losing SPARC doesn't make much sense for Oracle. They already are closing down their x86 business and all the talk from them has been about investing in / focusing more on their SPARC (read more expensive) integrated system offerings

    • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:04PM (#31544614)

      Or it could be that no one actually gave a shit about OpenSSO outside a very small group of people.

      Its funny that everyone assume Oracle is being evil when a simple bit of common sense makes it pretty clear that its a waste of resources from pretty much every perspective to Oracle.

      • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:18PM (#31544780)

        Just like MySQL? I can't see the business case that will cause Oracle to keep MySQL around. A low-end version into the DB market? Just slap a few limitations on an actual Oracle DB, and presto - low-end version with a trivial upgrade path to "the real thing."

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Which is why you probably aren't a business man. MySQL still has plenty of people who are loyal to the MySQL brand and will continue to use it, whether it's Sun or Oracle who's owning it. Anyway Oracle already has a version of their database you can use for limited use.

        • by fm6 ( 162816 )

          Funny thing, Oracle seems to see business cases where other people don't. They bought RDB, SleepyCat, InnoDB, all of them database products that have zero synergy with their existing database. All have flourished under Oracle; in the case of RDB (which was originally for the VAX [], and still only runs on HP's DEC legacy platforms), Oracle's support is the only thing that has kept the product alive.

          Whenever Oracle acquires another company, there's always somebody claiming that they bought it just to shut it do

        • by Eskarel ( 565631 )

          Well the issue is that Oracle doesn't scale down very well. All that power and all those features come at a pretty hefty price tag in terms of disk space, memory and CPU. According to the DBA guys, setting up a new Oracle instance at work takes about 10 GB of SAN space without even adding any data to it. Not the kind of thing you'd do lightly if you didn't need any of that power, even discounting cost.

          • A new Oracle instance takes up about a half a meg for control files and probably 30 megs for system tables et al. At least it did with version 8. I can't see version 11 having bloated to 10 GB, that's truly insane.

            You're right about it not scaling down, though, and you missed the key resource: dollars. You can't put an Oracle db on a powerful webserver (at least not on Solaris) to say, serve up a few hundred web accounts for anything less a bajillion dollars. Unless they have changed licensing in the last

            • by Eskarel ( 565631 )

              I only know what the DBAs quote me, I'm not a DBA and I have pretty much zero interest in being one. I do some database design for my application development role, and I can do basic administration for SQL server, but actually setting up Oracle is black magic as far as I'm concerned.

        • oracle xe ?
        • Do you actually use any Oracle products? Nothing about them is ever "trivial"!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This is the first time I've heard of OpenSSO. Now, I'm not a web developer, but isn't OpenID much more popular as a SSO service?
        • OpenID is not an SSO service. It is more like an authentication protocol and somewhat orthogonal to something like OpenSSO.

          eg here is an OpenID extension for OpenSSO:

        • by codegen ( 103601 )
          My understanding is that OpenID is designed and coded to link public servers. Its not quite as useful for implementing a single sign on service to multiple services within a private organization. For example, openID supports users signing up and creating their own accounts, while in a enterprise system, you want to have control over creation of accounts, roles and access to resources.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:18PM (#31544786)

      As a Snorkel employee (Sun->Oracle) I'll add a simple comment. If it isn't profitable or strategic, it will be shuttered or turned loose to the community to support. It is *as simple as that*.

      • Do they want us to go from a situation where SSO in Windows is the standard on LANs, to SSO in Windows to Facebook or Windowslive servers becomes the standard in the Internet?

        Because that is the direction that Microsoft is going in with what was Active Directory.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:23PM (#31544842) Homepage

      Reality check: Nobody buys a company and just carries on because unless it was really mispriced in the market, you've gained nothing. You might as well have put the money in a stock fund. In closed source companies this means projects get canceled, reprioritized, product portfolios are aligned and they search high and low for the claimed synergies they were supposed to get. What happens in open source companies? Exactly this same. There's been quite a few of these stories now and they're all full of trivial projects and tin foil hat conspiracy. I just checked Digg and THEY got better stories than this. I'm quite the geek but still... stuff that matters. Or is at least cool, interesting or funny in a nerdy way. But not "Minor corporate politics" for 100$, I'll pass Alex.

    • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:24PM (#31544850) Homepage

      The information asymmetry involved in technology make it a very lucrative place to be. A vast majority of people don't understand the differences between Windows and Linux, much less the difference of open and closed source.

      Oracle is determining what parts of Sun are profitable, and planning to abandon the parts that are not. The abandonment of unprofitable Sun products will be touted as their commitment to open source. The privatization of Sun products will be touted as their commitment to innovation, or some other meaningless phrase.

      If it makes you feel any better, that was also the policy of Sun. And Microsoft. And Apple. If you are ever on the wrong side of a profit equation for a company, you will be screwed. This is as certain as death and taxes.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Actually, the fact that Oracle is slashing and burning stuff immediately after an acquisition seems like a pretty good indication that this really wasn't the S.O.P. for Sun, which may explain why they had to accept a buyout to stay afloat....

      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        Oracle is determining what parts of Sun are profitable

        Or potentially profitable. Sun has some good products that don't do as well as they might, due to inept management and marketing.

    • by glwtta ( 532858 )
  • Oracle is probably trying to leverage her own Identity Management product against IBM and Novell, who are kings on this market.
  • OSS FTW... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    because it was OSS, it can be forked and survive. :)
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...or OSS FTL? If it had a viable business model behind it, they wouldn't be killing it off.
  • by PFAK ( 524350 ) * on Friday March 19, 2010 @05:58PM (#31544516)

    OpenSSO is not a trademark of Oracle/Sun, you can see a list of trademarks for Sun at []

  • not strategic (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 )

    Well of course not. If it doesn't make Oracle money, it will be gone.

  • OpenAM? (Score:3, Funny)

    by nycguy ( 892403 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:03PM (#31544598)
    Isn't FOSSSSO so much more appealing?
  • by olyar ( 591892 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:13PM (#31544726) Homepage Journal

    As much as this is a bummer, it's actually a great example of the OSS model at work.

    If this was a closed source solution, where the company got acquired and the product wasn't strategic, the solution would just be gone.

    With OSS though, another company - for whom the solution is strategic - can step in and pick up the project.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BitZtream ( 692029 )

      Yea, and pretty much any time some propritary software package is terminated, it is almost certainly available for sale to someone else so it can be taken over if its worth it to someone.

      The reason it doesn't happen is because the projects that get cut are the ones that no one cares enough about to continue development.

      The license of the software pretty much no effect on its ability survive, its worth to someone else does.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:36PM (#31544978)

        Not true.

        Let me cite an example in the exact same market space: CA acquired Netegrity because they wanted SiteMinder even though they (CA) already had a web SSO product. In addition to SiteMinder (their main business) Netegrity had a provisioning product. After the acquisition closed CA shot their in house SSO product and shot Netegrity's provisioning product.

        CA would never have even considered selling either product to anyone else at any price for two reasons:
        * why compete with a product you created when you already own it
        * it's better to migrate your existing customers on the "to be killed" product over to the strategic product than to sell them off along with the product you're killing.

        This happens throughout the software industry every time there's an acquisition and some overlapping products. The acquirer decides which products will live on, which will be shot immediately and which will be put onto life support until customers can be gently moved off onto the strategic product.

        The only difference here, as the grandparent says, is that someone can grab the code and resources and carry on.

      • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <[ten.knil01p] [ta] [hsawgulp]> on Friday March 19, 2010 @10:22PM (#31546704) Homepage

        Yeae. and pretty much any time some propritary software package is terminated, it is almost certainly available for sale to someone else so it can be taken over if its worth it to someone.

        Buying out a propietry requires a substantial chunk of cash up front. So it's only an option if one of the following applies.
        1: you are big enough to buy it out
        2: you can convince another company that it's worth thier while to buy it out, take it over and sell you licences.
        3: you can get enough of the community together to buy it out.

        And even if you can get the money together the owner still has to be willing to sell. They may not be especially if they consider killing the project to be a strategic move.

        Copying the code of an opensource project and setting up repositries OTOH is so cheap that anyone can do it. Minimal maintenance (accepting bugfixes, dealing with new OS releases etc) is some work but should be managable by a few interested users working together.

  • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:18PM (#31544788)

    SSO is a pretty backwards way to do Open Source Software.

  • Ironic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ritzer ( 934174 )
    This has got to be the height of irony. Lamenting, a commercial entity is dropping a project that doesn't make money... But, isn't the beauty of open source related to the fact that those who care, can pick up the source and make it work? So, prove it.
  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:03PM (#31545312) Homepage
    If you want the source you can get the info to obtain it from here []

    I'm grabbing the source now.
  • by toriver ( 11308 ) on Friday March 19, 2010 @07:35PM (#31545568)

    - Hi we are Sun and we have this portal. You want to buy a commercial license for it?
    *six months pass*
    - Oh hi we decided to drop that portal and switch to this Liferay-based Webspace solution none of our techs really know anything much about?
    *a year passes*
    - Oh hi again, we were just bought by Oracle and will be abandoning Webspace, would you like to switch to this WebLogic-based monstrosity instead?

    That is in addition to the OpenSSO/IDM kerfuffle.

  • Another somewhat related open-source project has had no commits since January 25 []
  • Like I posted a few weeks back [], /. needs to save a template to re-use each time they feel the need to write a story about a marginally-relevant, minimally-staffed, largely-forgotten Sun project that Oracle shuts down.
  • Why not use Jasig CAS instead? Not that it will be any consolation that Oracle is trying to profit off its expensive SSO solution, but CAS is easy to implement with a Java and Ruby version available, and hundreds of universities are using them. We're a private business and we use CAS easily with phpCAS and RubyCAS-client. It's easy to use and implement, and systems such as PeopleSoft can easily be CASified. While it's sad OpenSSO is being discontinued, CAS is not an option likely to disappear any time soon
    • Why not use Jasig CAS instead?

      CAS somehow forces an architecture on you. Other IAM proveders like OpenSSO do not, integrating with what you have without forcing you to adapt to what they propose.

  • Another way to look at this move is that open source projects have a significant dollar value, if for no other reason that the project may compete for market share with other products. One could certainly see the strategic benefit of supporting a "hard to kill" project to compete with a market leader. Now, we have an example of such a project becoming an acquisition target.

    This is no different than a company which buys out their competitor for the purpose of "integrating" (e.g., shutting down) a competing

  • OpenAM appears to have simply imported a snapshot of the tree into SVN. Interested parties should probably back up the entire CVS history of OpenSSO using a tool like, for example, cvssuck, in before it is "unpublished".
  • I'm surprised no one has mentioned Shibboleth. Shib is pretty popular in the higher-ed space. There is a bit of a learning curve when first playing around with it, but once you get it up and going, it's very powerful. It does more than just your average SSO by providing federated authentication across organizations while maintaining user security. The project page is at []
  • I've actually been involved with the OpenSSO project during the last 2 years or so, and I honestly don't think it will disappear at all. It had a very active and vibrant community which supported it, many of which have already made the jump to help ForgeRock.

    On top of that, OpenSSO/OpenAM already has some terrific features. Its Agent interface is superb, the SAML engine is rock solid, FEDLETs are ahead of their time, and it even had a well documented API for integrating directly into your own application. T

  • Do I need to care about this at all?

    I understand the value of SSO and all that stuff, but I can't say I'm an expert in the field. Can someone who knows something about SSO and OpenSSO give me an idea as to whether or not I should even care that OpenSSO has been killed?

    Was it especially novel? Was it used by anybody? Did it work well? How does it compare to other, similar solutions? *Do we, the open source community, need this?*

  • Everett ( also supports opensso.

    Suresh Samuel

  • Most of the directories are very general in scope and list websites across a wide range of categories, regions and languages. But there are also some niche directories which focus on restricted regions, single languages, or specialist sectors. One type of niche directory with a large number of sites in existence, is the shopping directory for example. Shopping directories specialize in the listing of retail e-commerce sites. Examples of well known, general, web directories are Yahoo! Directory and the Open
  • Oracle has another tool for SSO, used to be called Core Id and changed to Oracle Access Manager. It is kind of a crappy product, but does work OK. It has a terrible interface, poor deployment model, and terrible integration to app servers, but otherwise works well. I am betting this more than anything is why they are killing open sso.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972