OpenRC improves upon the original system startup scripts for Gentoo Linux by being driven by a C program instead of a shell script. This means that the scripts to start services can be executed more quickly.
The Gentoo modular network scripts were created by Daniel Robbins for Gentoo Linux 1.0_rc6, in development during most of 2001 and released in September 2001. After their development, the dependency-based initscript system was maintained by a number of senior developers (add names here.... need to look at baselayout cvs logs.)
excerpt from http://www.gentoo.org/news/en/gwn/20040426-newsletter.xml by Grant Goodyear:
"My recollection is that one of woodchip's more impressive early feats was the complete replacement of all of the init scripts in Portage for Gentoo Linux 1.0_rc6. Through 1.0_rc5 Gentoo had used fairly standard rc scripts modified from Stampede Linux, but for 1.0_rc6 Daniel Robbins (drobbins) and Martin Schlemmer (azarah) had created a new dependency-based init script system that is still used today. Within a span of days Donny rewrote every single init script in the Portage tree and committed new masked packages to await the release of 1.0_rc6. Thanks to woodchip (and drobbins and azarah, of course) the transition to the new init scripts was nearly painless."
Roy Marples became a Gentoo/Linux developer in 2004 and maintained the modular network scripts for the Gentoo baselayout package. Then towards the end of 2005, he became the the primary maintainer for baselayout.
At the start of 2007, Roy Marples announced the ongoing development of baselayout-2, containing a rewritten initscript code in C and allowing POSIX sh init scripts instead of forcing the use of bash. By Mid 2007 Roy Marples had re-implemented the Gentoo initscript design created by Daniel Robbins, using an entirely new code base. Alpha and pre-release baselayout-2 snapshots were added to Gentoo's Portage tree as an optional component.
Towards the end of 2007, Roy Marples retired as a Gentoo developer Baselayout-2 was still in the pre stage, and aside from the fbsd users, it was masked everywhere. However, Roy Marples desired to keep the baselayout-2 project alive, but outside of Gentoo and into other projects such as FreeBSD.
As such, the Gentoo Council permitted Roy Marples to release OpenRC under the 2 clause BSD license, managed by him as an external project. Around mid-2010, Roy Marples decided to no longer maintain OpenRC. At this point, he transferred development back to Gentoo, which continues to maintain the scripts. In addition, Daniel Robbins continues to maintain an independent version OpenRC for Funtoo Linux, which includes a Funtoo-specific network configuration system.