OpenSEA launches!

Today, the OpenSEA Alliance launched, with the objective of developing a cross-platform open source 802.1X supplicant. I was fortunate enough to be part of the initial group, both as an individual and representing one of the founding companies.

Any time you get multiple companies together, it can be challenging coming to consensus. We were helped immensely by Cliff Schmidt from the Apache foundation, and were lucky to be able to draw extensively on his expertise.

One of the few thorny issues that was outside of Cliff’s immediate expertise in law was deciding on a name. Naturally, he helped assist the group in selecting a name that was not already in use and could be legally protected, but we still had to come up with a name within those broad criteria. “OpenSEA” was my suggestion, originally proposed to come up with a middle ground between a name that was specifically tied to 802.1X and a more general name. Officially, “SEA” stands for “Secure Edge Access,” but unofficially, we’re using the “open sea” phrase to indicate that changes at the network edge will have profound effects on the way networks are built and managed. As a fun point, we get the ability to give nautical-themed code names to our projects.

Starting the organization was quite educational, and I’m glad I participated. In addition to getting agreement on how to structure the organization, there’s a lot of start-up work to do to incorporate, get a bank account, and so on. At our first meeting last week, I was elected to the board of directors for a two-year term, ending in 2009. I’m concurrently serving a one-year term as corporate secretary.

So, the easy work is done, and the organization is running. The challenge now is to make it successful. Right now, the group depends on volunteer labor. As part of the process of starting OpenSEA, I learned from a colleague that the Wi-Fi Alliance started in much the same way, but it has now become successful enough that it has a professional staff. While OpenSEA probably will not be as well-known as Wi-Fi, it can certainly become successful enough to outgrow volunteers.

5 Responses to “OpenSEA launches!”

  1. […] As a completely shameless plug, you can also see the Open1X supplicant in the iLabs, which is now supported by the newly-formed OpenSEA Alliance. […]

  2. You may be surprised at the growth of OpenSEA, because it enables a large number of opportunities that have been overlooked in the pursuit of very large corporate agendas.

    Actually, what is happening is part of a bigger trend with open source (see Open source needs to be seen strategically (see

    At the beginning of open source operating systems, I pointed this out, although others insisted on service models at the time.

  3. […] Interop ended the week before last, but Las Vegas is good enough at being angry-making that it took me a week to sort through all the pictures that I took. During Interop, my major activities were related to the OpenSEA Alliance, an organization that I helped found, and the Interop Labs, the legacy of Interop’s conference and research focus. […]

  4. […] (Yes, this is one of the things that could be addressed in part by the OpenSEA Alliance and the Open1X Project.) […]

  5. […] A little more than a month ago, the OpenSEA Alliance launched. One of my first volunteer roles with the organization was to act as the volunteer “electronic tsar” responsible for many of our communications with the outside world. […]

Leave a Reply