Friday, February 26, 2010

Opening up some details of OpenSolaris under Oracle

The OpenSolaris Annual Meeting is under way on IRC. (The meeting itself is one of those odd side-effects of the old constitution, it's never really been used as a proper meeting.)

We were fortunate enough today to have Dan Roberts along to answer questions. A log of the session is available - for the conversation with DanR look just after the noon mark.

Positive, simple and straightforward:

Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source, and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the community


Oracle will also continue to deliver OpenSolaris releases, including the upcoming OpenSolaris 2010.03 release.

In terms of investment:

Oracle is investing more in Solaris than Sun did prior to the acquisition, and will continue to contribute technologies to OpenSolaris, as Oracle already does for many other open source projects

Questioned on open development:

Oracle will continue to develop technologies in the open, as we do today

with the caveat:

There may be some things we choose not to open source going forward, similar to how MySQL manages certain value add at the top of the stack.

(Although the model that came to my mind was the fishworks/analytics add-ons that go into the open storage systems. So that's not a change.)

In reply to a question "for 'regular' users and contributor to Open Solaris - do you figure that anything will change in terms of how open solaris is delivered and how developers contribute?":

Love to see the tech journal crowd participating! And yes, regular users will find things mostly unchanged. Contributors also.

On the subject of User Groups, there's already been some outreach (as I've noted before). Part of the story here is that Oracle have a group for community support, so that group will take over the support that has come from Sun in the past. User groups still look after themselves, but wil be centrally supported (if they want and need it) through the new route. I also expect some user groups to form relationships with other organisations such as the independent Oracle User Groups, and all user groups will be free to take whatever steps they wish to in that area.

Support is an area that has been contentious recently. On this:

And Oracle will ensure customers running OpenSolaris have an option for support on Oracle Sun Systems where it's required, though given the very little sales here this will not be something we expect many customers to deploy going forward. Solaris is our focus, on both SPARC and x86.

(Read it this way: if anybody wanted support, they should have paid up. I've heard what "very little sales" means. My one concern in this area is support for Solaris/OpenSolaris on 3rd-party systems.)

All in all, though, thanks to Dan for sticking his head above the parapet. And - while there are clearly devils in the details - it's clear than Oracle plan to keep pushing OpenSolaris forward, so rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nominations for the 2010-2011 OGB now open

The OpenSolaris Governing Board is now accepting nominations for candidates to run for the OGB term starting April 2010. Anyone registered with an account on the website is eligible to be nominated, even if not currently recognized as a Core Contributor or Contributor to any existing community group.

Nominations should be e-mailed to (please make sure you either use the web forum or subscribe to the mailing list first to avoid getting caught in the spam-filter/moderation queue - use the forums or sign up at

Nominations must submitted by a current Core Contributor - those who are interested in running may nominate themselves if they are a Core Contributor already (see the current lists of Core Contributors on, or send mail to the mailing list asking for a Core Contributor to formally nominate them if they are not a Core Contributor.

Those who are nominated by others must send mail to ogb-discuss accepting their nomination.

All candidates will be required to submit a statement before the election containing "a list of their commercial affiliation, or other interests related to OpenSolaris, so that a voting member can understand the context from which they would act on the OGB and the likely biases they would bring."

The deadline for submitting and accepting nominations will be 23:59 in the US/Pacific timezone on Monday, March 1. Statements from nominees are due before the start of voting, which is scheduled to begin at 00:00 on Monday, March 8.

Nominations and acceptances will be tracked during the nomination period using the OpenSolaris bugzilla at in the "ogb" product under the "nominations" category.

More information about the OpenSolaris elections and governance can be found at:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

OpenSolaris: Oracle, where art thou?

After a prolonged wait, Oracle have now completed their takeover of Sun. Late January, they presented their plans for taking Sun's products forward.

OpenSolaris wasn't even mentioned.If you look carefully, it's on a slide, but that's about it.

That silence has continued. OpenSolaris has - publicly at least - been completely ignored by Oracle. It's as if we don't exist.

Somewhat perturbed by this state of affairs, I asked for a communication channel to be established between Oracle and the OGB. This was ignored. The OGB pointed out (in pretty strong terms) to those Sun staff that we do have communication with that some level of contact was needed. We haven't heard back.

It's not as if we're asking for much; the very basic start of a conversation. I've no doubt that Oracle are very busy, but not even bothering to say hello?

Recently, Oracle sent a welcome letter to (some of) the OpenSolaris User Group leaders. While any contact is welcome, the manner in which it was done was unfortunate. It ignored OpenSolaris as a whole, ignored all the other groups that make up the OpenSolaris community, and completely bypassed the Governing Board. This is shockingly poor treatment.

I've attempted to make contact. Again, this approach has been completely ignored. I have not even been accorded the common courtesy of an acknowledgment.

I'm not the only one. It's clear that the OpenSolaris community are very concerned, and they're being left completely in the dark. Ben blogged an Open Letter to Oracle and that doesn't seem to have elicited any response either.

At a most basic level, this is simply impolite. Even downright rude. Is it a sign of something more sinister? Well, nothing at all has been said that would allow anyone ta make a judgment, but it's fuelling the FUD machine.

Needless to say, this is pretty inauspicious start to a relationship. It's about time for Oracle to stop avoiding us and make their intentions known, especially with the OpenSolaris Governing Board Elections just round the corner.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

OpenSolaris Community Reports 2009-2010

With the end of this year's OGB term coming up, I just sent out the following request for reports to various mailing lists. Historically, we've not been very good at reporting what we're doing in the OpenSolaris community, and really need to do better.

There is a lot of work taking place in the OpenSolaris community. In order to inform the OGB, the rest of the community, and those outside our community of all the work that's being done, the OGB seeks to collect reports from the communities, projects, and user groups that make up our community.

For the 2009-2010 period, we seek brief (presentation style, one-page would be ideal but don't force it if this doesn't fit) reports from all community groups, projects, and user groups, highlighting their achievements. We aim to combine them into a single presentation that could be used by others. If there is additional material - video or images, or full presentations, we would like to know about that too.

Some templates you may wish to use are available at:

Some suggested details that could be included:

Communities: projects that have been newly sponsored or completed, and events or meetings that have occurred

Projects: aims, new features, build number if the project has integrated

User Groups: number of attendees, frequency of meetings, involvement with other groups or events

Please reply directly to me by email.