Have received a number of on and off the record reactions to the last piece concerning IBM, Linux, OpenSolaris, & Sun.
- One anonymous reader – not affiliated with either IBM or Sun – claimed that IBM’s decision to not open source AIX was born not out of concern over the effort required in building a community, but rather the relatively small size of the AIX community relative to both Linux and Solaris.
I think IBM would actually acknowledge this to a degree, in that Linux is the clear path ahead for them and they’re up front about seeing very little demand for an open source version of AIX. And personally I would agree with the contention, but with a bit more context. It is indeed about demand – or rather lack of it, but there is a cost component. Namely that the costs of open sourcing AIX are not currently justified given the lack of demand for it, and the larger Linux strategic context. But point well made.
- Another anonymous reader dropped me an email claiming that I had taken OpenSolaris insufficiently to task for some of their procedural failings.
My response to that is the same as it would be for a variety of project: they’re not perfect, but they are improving. If the status quo was likely to be the future state, I’d be more inclined to knock OpenSolaris’ ‘openness,’ but for the moment I think they’re moving in the right direction.
- Sun’s David Comay – whom I had the pleasure of meeting at OSCON a couple of weeks back – made that point as well, in a comment on the blog. He said a couple of interesting things:
“I think one issue is that many of the OpenSolaris discussions (be they design reviews of a proposed enhancement or the code review of a bugfix or a discussion on which source code management system should be used) naturally occur on the site’s mailing lists and forums. But unless one takes a bit of time to explore and either lurk or join those forums, I think it’s possible to not appreciate how involved the external community has already become.”
I agree, and just for the record I do sit on the main osol-discuss list, so I see the community in action on a daily basis.
“But the important thing to realize is that neither Sun nor the OpenSolaris community wishes to keep the status quo around longer than it needs do be. There’s been a steady stream of progress made in this area (from cleaning up the source base so that it can be compiled by gcc to choosing a SCM system (a process which was done entirely in the open with vocal participation from the community) to creating the infrastructure to move the primary repository on the other side of the firewall.”
I think that’s fair, although I can understand why people who are not close to Sun have mixed impressions about this. Fairly or unfairly, Sun is known for not having open sourced Java (yet). Now I personally have been supportive of that decision, but more and more of the people I speak with don’t agree with me. For those people, the fact that process is moving forward now is undermined by the fact that it took years and that there was substantial internal opposition. Fair or unfair, that bleeds into their impressions of OpenSolaris. In that context then, it’s not surprising that people might question how quickly Sun might be moving to open things up. Again, that might not be fair, but it’s important to understand where these concerns originate.
- Lastly, I ran across Jim Grisanzio’s – the Engineering Community Manager, OpenSolaris, whom I met at OSBC last spring – del.icio.us comment which read “Unfortunate that IBM gets as much credit here as it does.” He also tagged it with “propaganda“.
Given that I’m biased on the subject, having written the original piece in question, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine whether or not you believe the entry was balanced or was instead propaganda for one side or another. I will say only that I found that designation surprising.
Appreciate, as always, the feedback. Keep it coming.