Q&A With Jim Grisanzio

Sun's Jim Grisanzio at OpenSolaris Day/Sun Tech Days Tokyo

In anticipation of OpenSolaris Day at Sun Tech Days Tokyo, I asked Jim Grisanzio, Community Manager, OpenSolaris engineering, who's based in Tokyo, about the exciting developments and opportunities in the OpenSolaris community and caught up with him at the event for some additional followup. He cites community building, Project Indiana, and rising interest in open development itself as the major driving factors behind OpenSolaris. Project Indiana in particular is making it easier for developers to download the "Slim Install" Live CD and get involved.

Carolyn Wong: What's the latest news coming from the OpenSolaris community?

Jim Grisanzio: The release of Project Indiana as OpenSolaris Developer Preview is probably the biggest news in the last few weeks. This is a binary distribution of the OpenSolaris source code with a new installer and a new package management system that enables users to customize their systems from software repositories on the network. It promises to make life easier for anyone who wants to get involved with OpenSolaris. This is great news because the OpenSolaris community now has seven distributions.

CW: How do you see the OpenSolaris community evolving?

JG: Rapidly and globally and at an ever-increasing rate at every level. There are over 80,000 people registered on the site now, whereas this time last year there were about 20,000. And, of course, we started with zero at launch in June 2005. The list conversations continue to grow, too. There are about 10,000 people subscribed to our 225 mailing lists, and the traffic is overwhelming. No one can keep up with it all. How big can we grow? I have no idea.

CW: What are the biggest issues facing developers and how are those issues being addressed?

JG: In terms of OpenSolaris, we need to make it easier for developers to get involved in the community and get working right away. We are improving, but there's still a long way to go. The site source has been opened recently, and the site itself is being totally redesigned to make it more scalable and flexible for open development. Then the main kernel gate has to migrate across the firewall along with all the infrastructure tools to support open development. We have SCM (source code management) on the site right now, and some projects are using those tools in the open, but the goal right now is to open up the main gate.

CW: What are the most important OpenSolaris-related technologies?

JG: Pretty much all of the core technologies in Solaris have communities and/or projects on opensolaris.org. There are too many to mention, but key ones include install, DTrace, ZFS, ARC Process/Tools, Internationalization, etc. In Japan, ZFS probably gets the most attention at events I've attended.

CW: What are you hoping will be achieved at OpenSolaris Day? What do you want to be the main take-aways?

JG: OpenSolaris Days are different around the world, but here in Japan we hope to demonstrate that there is a community here and that we can grow that community in interesting and unusual ways. Much of the attention in Asia is on China and India in terms of development, but mark my words the Japanese have the ability to surprise the world with some things they are working on. Community building here is different, though, and it requires a different way of thinking. It's different from the west, certainly, but it's different even from the rest of Asia. And language barriers are very high here, probably the highest in the industrialized world. The challenges are great, but so are the opportunities.

Keep up with OpenSolaris by visiting Jim's extremely popular blog.

See the Sun Tech Days website to learn more about these events, and attend in a city near you.

Carolyn Wong
Sun Microsystems

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