Former Sun Open Source Evangelist Forges Forward

Simon Phipps is one of those technology purists that makes you wish you were even half as enthusiastic as he is about your favourite subject. As Sun Microsystems’ chief open source officer/evangelist he was a welcome addition to JavaOne events, where he would typically install himself in the press room alongside the technical journalists and file Flip-video reports on his own company’s event with tremendous gusto.


Sadly Phipps has moved on, but the latest benefactors of his ebullient energy for open source are a Norwegian headquartered open source middleware operation called ForgeRock.

With a product range encompassing SOAP messaging systems, front-line security and back-room management technologies, ForgeRock is currently keen to be recognised for its OpenAM open source authentication and access management system.

OpenAM 9.5 has just been made publicly available this July. “This is significant for open source because it signals that the OpenAM community – especially the part on ForgeRock’s own team – is up to speed maintaining and evolving the code and that the transition from its former home is going well,” said Phipps.

The “former home” he refers to is Sun (and subsequently Oracle), whose sponsorship underpinned the OpenSSO open-source project which OpenAM drives. Oracle worked with the project for something less than a year and eventually decided that it was not strategically beneficial.

The Open Web SSO project (OpenSSO) describes itself as a source of core identity services to simplify the implementation of transparent single sign-on (SSO) as a security component in a network infrastructure. According to the project’s website, “OpenSSO provides the foundation for integrating diverse web applications that might typically operate against a disparate set of identity repositories and are hosted on a variety of platforms such as web and application servers.”

The latest version of OpenAM can be downloaded here from the ForgeRock website.