Re: What Sun was trying to do with OpenSolaris
April 25, 2008
OpenSolaris vs Conceived Intentions
As from /., Ted at thunk.org has compiled a rant post “essay” with regard to Sun’s OpenSolaris community.
I’m a systems programmer working at IBM. This allows me to get paid for what I used to do for fun, which is definitely neat hack. I’ve worked on the Linux kernel since 1991, and am probably the first Linux Kernel developer in North America. I am currently on the board of the Free Standards Group, as well as Usenix, where I organize the annual Linux Kernel Summit, which brings together the top 75 Linux Kernel Developers in the world every year. The Kernel Summit takes place in Ottawa, Canada, right before the annual Ottawa Linux Symposium.
Ted mentions Roy’s watching the ripples post, which is a great infomercial on day.com and it’s “open source” developers and their “closed source” CRM; criticizing Sun is all the rave and there are no substantial suggestions for what Sun should do with regard to Sun’s community. I won’t bother mentioning Ted is a Linux developer working for IBM and complaining about Sun. While entertaining, I would much rather see fights between the PostgreSQL and Sun’s MySQL folks just because I like to mis-pronounce PostgreSQL and MySQL is quirky.
I really don’t understand the blanket criticism. Somebody please let me know. Comments about trademarks = delete. It’s Sun’s toy, ok? If they want to share it, it’s up to them as to how and who they want to share it with. If Sun screwed you in some way, their execs are being open source media whores, or you’ve just gotten shit from Sun (and I don’t mean a 1996 newsgroup post), then please do tell your story. Complaining about Sun not liking your idea is about as entertaining as adopting a new Linux task scheduler or arguing over the transactional functionality of MySQL TRUNCATE command.
Open Source (Linux) vs. Open Source (Sun)
Let’s get back to the topic of “open source” – the synthetic kind. Since blog posts are essays now, and comments are syntactic qualifications which require research and justification, I’m going to throw a new term out there. Please use wikipedia, google, or anything else you would like to verify this newfound term, invented right here, and today – “Synthetic Open Source Community“.
Personally, I think non-organic is a little raw and vague – is it alien, poison, silicon-based? Synthetic works because while we’re not dealing with chemicals, we are dealing with “Computer Science” and we might as well qualify open source developer contributions in tandem with corporate oversight as flaming a chemical process.
So let’s not call Sun’s OpenSolaris community non-organic, we’ll call it synthetic. Right now Sun is trying to get bang for their buck and they’re going to use “open source” to do it. Linux is “open source” and OpenSolaris is “open source”; in that aspect, OpenSolaris is ‘just like’ Linux. Not really, but where do you see any Sun exec expressing and/or advertising Solaris this way anyways?
If you’ve run across some poo-poo posts on OpenSolaris, I recommend two posts (below) by Stephen at RedMonk. He concisely sums up presents both “sides” of the “just like Linux” adjunct. The other place to look are the opensolaris mailing list archives. I would recommend `-trademark -legal` when searching so you get posts about OpenSolaris and not the trademark whining.