OpenSolaris devs 'ignored' by Oracle
Red flags flap
Alarm bells have started ringing inside the former Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris community over the project's potential future with database giant Oracle.
OpenSolaris developers have complained they've been "completely ignored" by Oracle despite reaching out, with their questions over the project's future going unanswered.
Project member Peter Tribble blogged here following an open letter to Oracle by OpenSolaris developer and evangelist Ben Rockwood pleading for information about what's in store for Solaris on February 2.
Rockwood's appeal came days after Oracle's high-profile strategy announcement in January that outlined the company's product plans with Sun, that failed to mention OpenSolaris bar one reference on a slide.
Oracle and former Sun executives instead focused their Solaris talk on the paid version of the Unix operating system that spawned the free and open OpenSolaris project, and its future in joint server, storage, and relational database Exadata appliance.
OpenSolaris' peers OpenOffice and GlassFish, meanwhile, have received the blessing of Oracle's chief executive Larry Ellison and were listed in Oracle's roadmap plans. Sun's other pet open-source projects have fared less well, with Sun's massive gaming environment Darkstar killed. Oracle, though, has dithered on Sun's code-hosting site Project Kenai saying it would keep the project alive as part of Java.net, following an outcry.
With these pieces in play, Rockwood said he sought "guarantees with regard to the well-being and sustained viability of OpenSolaris as an Open Source community (independent of 'OpenSolaris' as a distribution)."
He also sought guarantees for support and development of Solaris virtualization technologies xVM, Crossbow, and Fault Management Architecture, and also Solaris' containers, along with a roadmap for future versions of Solaris.
But just over two weeks following Rockwood's letter, it seems Oracle has not responded, and Tribble has publicly reproached Oracle for this and for not talking more about OpenSolaris either at its strategy day last month or in general.
"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 [sic] make a judgment, but it's fuelling the FUD machine," Tribble wrote.
"Needless to say, this is [a] 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."
Oracle, meanwhile, has offered something by way of an explanation that puts the continued silence down to noting more sinister than being overworked as it digests Sun.
In a message to OpenSolaris User Groups this week, Oracle senior director of global customer programs Mary Dopart wrote: "We are receiving requests from around the world for many kinds of support - for media, books, promotional items and funding.
"We will reply to individual requests as they are received. We are reviewing the entire program to understand its funding and support model. As soon as we have more details, we will schedule a leaders call to provide updates."
Tip of the hat to the H for flagging this up. ®
Give them time
Oracle are trying to absorb nearly 30,000 people, at a rates which varies from country to country. I'm seeing this from the inside and I can assure you it is non-trivial work. Hardly surprising that an opensource project which doesn't immediately have revenue is a lower (not necessarily low) priority.
Note that like any "open" project the support also has to come in part from the developers who use it.
Give them time...
Let's hope my gut feeling about this is wrong
Let's hope my gut feeling about this (created by years of being exposed to corporations) is wrong. The gut feeling is that "Oracle's main customer base is big corporations and government contracts, and they have no interest in any product making it easy for small operations to compete with their big customers", and as such they want products like OpenSolaris to die a horrible death.
Which is sad, really. Opensolaris properly polished could really give Linux, OSX, *BSD some proper competititon, both at server and workstation ends, and with a little extra spitshine even compete on end-user desktops.
However, doing so would give Oracles main customers competition. Given Oracles track record, I have a bad feeling.
p.s. I'm a FreeBSD enthusiast myself, but admit OpenSolaris is better at a lot of things.
I know how Oracle feels. My wife is currently "reaching out to me" to paint the living room ceiling on a daily basis.
Much more "reaching out" and I'm off.