Sunday, March 25, 2007

JKstat 0.15

I've made a new version of JKstat available.

There are quite a few changes underneath. I'm very grateful to Tom Erickson for sending me a bunch of enhancements and fixes. Some of them made it into this version fairly directly - particularly the sorting of kstats in the browser.

This version has also been revamped and now requires Java 5. I had been thinking about modernizing the code for a while, but had always put it off. Tom again provided the impetus, as he went ahead and used generics in the fixed version he sent back to me. I reimplemented it myself, so I could actually understand what I was doing to my code.

I actually went and rewrote solview first. This was a useful exercise in itself, as one of the advantages of using generics is that it makes you think harder about the way you define classes and how your code is structured. In solview I was in the middle of cleaning the code up to define Solaris packages and install clusters as proper objects, and using generics made sure I actually got that right.

JKstat was also accepted as an OpenSolaris project, so I'm going to be moving development over there soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

OpenSolaris priorities

Before the OGB election there was the OpenSolaris Comunity Priorities vote.

Looking at the result, and the clear winner in terms of priorities is the public defect management system. Yep, I put that at number 1 too. (I think...)

The OpenSolaris Bugs interface did get revamped recently, and that was a significant improvement. However, it's still not really doing anything for OpenSolaris - it's just a way to give a limited view of a subset of Sun's bug database.

Importantly, there's no other integration with anything else the community might be doing, and no way for a community member to interact with the system. How can it be improved?

Here are a couple of things I would like to see:

Eliminate all the crud. The database is littered with all sorts of things that aren't bugs, and still contains bugs that are antique. We need to take some of the open bugs forward, but most of the database has no relevance to the current codebase.

I think this means we need a completely separate database. And bugs that Sun generate through their support organization need to be put into the public OpenSolaris bug database the same way that Sun currently logs bugs against external projects such as Gnome.

We need to allow community members to participate in the triage process, and allow comments and followups to further refine the bugs and provide sample solutions, test cases, and prioritization. This extra interaction will build a stronger community, and provide ways for more people to get involved.

And the database needs to be linked into the whole workflow, so that there's a way to see who might be working on a particular bug and contact them.

The bug database is the crucial missing link. We want to improve and develop OpenSolaris, and to do that we first need to know what's broken and what's missing.

Polls and voter apathy

I've been sitting on the fringes of the OpenSolaris Governing Board Election. I would have liked to have been more involved, but have been struggling to find time. Strike one for apathy!

(And, while I did consider putting myself forward as a candidate, the fact that I haven't been able to effectively contribute up to this stage also implies that I wouldn't be able to do the job properly in the unlikely event that I were to be elected.)

There does seem to be a fairly low turnout so far. There have been a number of calls for people to get their finger out, and we seem to be creeping closer to a quorum.

Alan Coopersmith had a look at the contributors and communities. This shows what we've known all along - that the different communities have very different levels of participation in the governance process. Looking at the way that core contributors are distributed, it's not clear to me now that relying on communities to generate the initial list was - or is - a good thing.

There seems to be a view that reorganising the communities is going to be a big task for the incoming OGB. (If one gets elected, that is.) I'm not so sure about this. I feel that we're trying to build too much officialdom into the community structure, when in reality the communities are more social structures connected by a common interest. But more on that later.

I'm fortunate that I am classed as a core contributor and, yes, I've voted.

Perhaps core contributor status should be automatically be rescinded from those who haven't bothered to vote?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spring Clean and Upgrade

I've been doing a bit of a spring clean and upgrade on some of my home systems.

The family PC had its memory doubled. It's survived 3 years with only 512M, which ought to be enough but it's obviously running out. We use fast user switching so there are usually 4 people logged in. That shouldn't be so bad, but it implies 4 web browsers and they guzzle memory like it's going out of fashion. I also replaced the broken DVD-ROM with a working dvd writer.

I think it's the first time the case has been opened for 3 years. And it was filthy inside, so it got a thorough vacuuming.

Next step was a couple of Sun workstations. I use one for OpenSolaris development, and I shuffled that up from build 55 to build 59. I also took a gamble on rebuilding one of the children's systems from an essentially unpatched FCS version of Solaris 10 to the latest Solaris Express release - the same build 59. Only complaint so far is the placement of the tab close buttons in Firefox 2 versus Mozilla.

Next step - run Nexenta using the VMware player.