Sunday, April 27, 2008
The View from the inside of Sun, Part 1 (Openness)
I have been a member of the OpenSolaris community since close to the beginning and I was fortunate recently to get a six month contract to work for Sun. So I have the unique experience of seeing things from a community stand point and now from within Sun as a contractor. I am now a little over a month into my contract now. I am now seeing things through an entire different perspective and decided to share my observations with other community members with the hope that you'll get a better appreciate for what is going on here at OpenSolaris.
Almost from the beginning it seems that there have been complaints that OpenSolaris is not open enough. I actually sort of thought that way before too. When I started with Sun working on OpenSolaris.org I was expecting to learn about all kinds of secrets of the inner sanctum of inside Sun when I started. It's been a bit of a surprise. From an Engineering standpoint things here are much more open than anyone from the outside could ever really appreciate. Recently slashdot pointed out a Linux blog post that complained about among other things that developers still can't directly check in their changes into OpenSolaris. First of all that is true of the ON (the kernel so to speak) but there are plenty of projects within OpenSolaris that do have public repositories. Two projects I work on, the Website and Chime both have public repositories. One of the things I am working on during my contract is documentation for the SCM migration project. Here's the surprising part, ALL of the discussions and documentation is out in the open either at OpenSolaris.org or genunix.org. So you can see for yourself what is going on and more surprisingly jump right in and contribute just like if you worked for Sun. For people that wonder what's taking so long take a look at all of the work that has already been done and understand the complexity of the task.
I still have more observations. Over time I'll post more thoughts. Next week I'll be visiting Menlo Park. I very exited about meeting many people I have been corresponding with via the web over the past few years.