Tuesday Mar 11, 2008

The Open Solaris Governing Board 2.0 - Elections and Interviews

Last week the official starting gun went off for Open Solaris Governing Board (OGB) elections.  Voting opened yesterday and will stay open for the next two weeks, closing on Monday, March 24th.  The day after that the results will be announced and the new board will ascend to power on April 1.

A History Lesson

The precursor to the OGB was the Community Advisory Board (CAB)

The OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board (CAB) was composed of 5 members — 2 from Sun, 2 from the OpenSolaris pilot community, and 1 from the open source community. The CAB was created to develop an OpenSolaris Charter and Governance and to drive consensus within the community.

With the approval of the OpenSolaris Charter, the CAB actually became the first OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) until the March 2007 elections.

Last year at this time the first elected OGB came into existence.

Fast Forward to Today

This year there are 19 individuals who have announced their candidacy:

  • John Beck
  • Michal Bielicki
  • Dennis Clarke
  • Alan Coopersmith
  • Justin Erenkrantz
  • Glynn Foster
  • Jim Grisanzio
  • Brian Gupta
  • Al Hopper
  • Stephen Lau
  • Ken Mays
  • Michelle Olson
  • Simon Phipps
  • John Plocher
  • Ben Rockwood
  • Joerg Schilling
  • John Sonnenschein
  • Rich Teer
  • Peter Tribble

 As part of the process, I have picked up the podcast mantle from Simon.  Last year Simon volunteered to conduct interviews with the candidates and, given that he himself is running this year, he has passed the baton (or mic in this case) to me.

I will be posting the interviews on this blog and they will also officially be linked to from the Candidate Matrix which also includes bios, positioning statements and affiliations where provided.

Best of luck to all!

Pau for now...

Wednesday Nov 14, 2007

Dell to Offer Solaris - Partnering like its 1999

Another competitor has just announced that it will be selling Solaris subscriptions.  Today at Oracle world Michael Dell and Jonathan Schwartz announced a multiyear deal whereby Dell will distribute Solaris OS with Solaris support subscriptions on select Dell PowerEdge servers. 

This is the third big HW vendor this year that has pledged support for Solaris (HP are ya listening? ;-).  More importantly, today's announcement is part of a trend that began four years ago but has really accelerated this past year -- Sun's acceptance that the solid Sun stack (SPARC + Solaris) is no longer the only answer.  

To survive and thrive in today's ecosystem customers need to be able combine components from various vendors to meet their needs and fit their environments, if the vendors don't facilitate this, the customers will go elsewhere.  Sometimes this may mean Dell or IBM gear running Solaris and sometimes this means Sun boxes supporting Windows or Red Hat. 

The List

When you look at the list of deals that Sun and its enemies partners have struck in the past four years, its pretty impressive:

As I mentioned, you'll notice that 2007 has been a particularly busy year. 

Can't wait to see who's next.

Pau for now...

Thursday Aug 16, 2007

Sun & IBM: Frienemies gettin' Friendlier

Two days ago I wrote about the brave new world of frienemies, a world born out of the desire and need for large companies to provide their customers with choice:  

"It is because of this that Sun resells Red Hat and Suse, works very closely with Canonical/Ubuntu and encourages sales of Solaris on systems from 'competitors' such as IBM, Dell and HP."

Well in the case of IBM, as of an hour ago, we now do more than simply encourage Solaris sales on IBM equipment.  The two companies just announced that rather than just providing Solaris for their blade servers, IBM will now provide Solaris 10 subscriptions on IBM x86 based blades and rack servers through IBM's standard routes to market. 

Very cool!

Call me a cock-eyed optimist but I like this new world of cooperation.  It gives Sun access to new markets, IBM access to new markets and most importantly, provides the customer with choice.   Whats not to like? :)

Pau for now...

Tuesday Aug 14, 2007

Linux World SF07 and "Frienemies"

Last week I was out in the Bay Area to attend Linux World SF.   I had been hearing about how the show was dying and/or on its last legs and was therefore pleasantly surprised by what I found. 

A virtualzied Ubuntu running at the VMware booth.

A Change in Tenor

The only other Linux World SF that Ive been to was last year's so I cant say first hand what it was like back in the day but from what I hear, it seems to have changed from being developer focused to being more business focused.  Other shows like OSCON and Ottawa Linux Symposium, its safe to say, are drawing more of the Linux developer crowd these days. 

For me the show was a great place to meet and compare notes with people doing my job at other companies like Dell and IBM as well as getting to chat with smaller companies like SugarCRM and orgs like the Etherboot project [Etherboot's president Marty Connor whom I met for the first time is a total howl and must doing something right since I think he said he had three summer of code interns working on his project]. 

While there were the ultra slick gianormous booths like those hosted by Motorola and Novell, I found a lot of the more interesting stuff back in the .org pavilion.  Back there is where you found folks like Postgres, the FSF, Debian, the Linux Foundation, Eclipse etc.  And speaking of Postgres, I grabbed Josh Berkus for an interview and its now a part of my podcast backlog that I will continue to whittle away at.

Debian and FreeBSD in the .org Pavilion.

Keynotes and Bad-itudes

Because of meetings and other events like the T2 launch, I unfortunately missed the keynotes/talks.   It was during one of the Dell sessions that they announced that they would be offering Ubuntu pre-loaded in the UK, Germany and France.  And it was during Andrew Morton's  Conference Kickoff  where he talked about getting involved with the Linux kernel and made the comment:

"I think it's a great shame that OpenSolaris still exists," he continued. "I wish they had killed it. They've fragmented the non-windows OS world and for no reason. There is no reason why they couldn't have gone to Linux."

Now the this-town-ain't-big-enough-for the-two-of-us stance is what I call a "bad-itude." 

Switch "Linux" with "Open Solaris" and you have the view held by most folks at Sun not so long ago (and Im sure still a few today).  Although the change began before he took the helm, since Jonathan became CEO a little over a year ago I have seen a real change at Sun towards providing our customers with choice and the realization that one size doesnt fit all.  This is why we resell Red Hat and Suse, work very closely with Canonical/Ubuntu and encourage sales of Solaris on systems from "competitors" such as IBM, Dell and HP.

The hi-tech world is no longer binary and you cant simply point to the "bad guys."  As I discussed with my peers at IBM and Dell, these days we're all "frienemies." We compete aggressively in some areas and partner closely in others. 

Oh, brave new world.

Pau for now....

Monday Aug 06, 2007

Ian Murdock Talks Project Indiana

Larry Bird, David Letterman, Ian Murdock -- all proud son's of the great state of Indiana.  It is the last in this list that I caught up with during OSCON.  

Ian Murdock, Chief OS Strategist, Sun    Listen to the Interview (8:24)

Reservoir Dogs, Project Indiana style -- L to R: Mr. Pink (Patrick Finch), Mr. Brown (Jesse Silver), Ms. Purple (Sara Dornsife), Mr. Green (Ian Murdock,), Mr. Black (Glynn Foster)\*

What we chatted about

During our conversation, Ian took me through what exactly project Indiana is.  In a nutshell he describes it as a community project to build an Open Solaris binary distribution with the main goal being to make Solaris technology more accessible to a broader audience -- thereby  growing the market for Solaris. 

Ian positioned the project in evolutionary rather than revolutionary terms and talked about the packaging effort that is a large part of Indiana.   We also discussed "Wads vs. Distros," Ian's background in the FOSS world and what the Open Solaris community thinks of all this.

I hope to check in with Ian from time to time and get him to give us update as the project marches on. 

Pau for now...


\*Full disclosure: the glasses were added after the fact, these guys are really not this cool ;)

Wednesday Feb 07, 2007

OpenSolaris: To 3 or not to 3, that is the Question

Well we're at an exciting point here on the "eve" of the release of GPLv3.   In light of the impending release the question has been raised, does it make sense to dual license OpenSolaris under both CDDL and GPLv3?  As OpenSolaris is already licensed under CDDL this means that the question on the proverbial table is whether to add GPLv3.  Obviously, since GPLv3 has not been released, its difficult at this point to definitively pledge support for the license or to rule it out.  That being said, however, it is an appropriate time to start soliciting opinions from the community(ies).  Whatever the final decision is, it cant be one that Sun makes in a vacuum or that is dictated to the community.

Stephen Harpster, engineering director for OpenSolaris, kicked off the dialog a week ago by soliciting feedback from the community on the idea of dual licensing Open Solaris under GPLv3  .  The funny thing is no one responded...just kidding, it has produced a maelstrom of impassioned responses.  Rather than trying to sum up the nature of the comments im going to take the easy way out and point you to Stephen O'Gradys blog from Saturday since he has done a great job of  capturing the issues. 

So thats the topic of the current community and its members...what about new members we want to attract?  One of the biggest reasons that Sun would look to add GPLv3 is to win over new converts to  "Free" Solaris and to grow the community by bringing in folks from the GNU/Linux world.   What I personally would love to see is for the GNU crew to take the Solaris kernel, wrap it in a GNUserland and create a distro that would be as easy to install as Ubuntu (which I, a marketing guy, installed recently in six easy steps that caused no feelings of  inadequacy or anxiety).   We could keep a rocket-scientist Solaris distro but why shouldnt there be multiple distros based on the Solaris kernel for various user types?

So this leads to the question, what does the FSF, the champion of GPLv3, think of all this?  Rather than pondering via inference and guesswork, we asked them.  At the end of last week, Stephen, Simon, Sara and I held a call with Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF, and a team from the FSF to get their thoughts on the possibility of dual licensing OpenSolaris.  Peter and crew were very receptive to the idea and gave us some thoughts to ponder.  It was a very good call and we ended with Peter and team agreeing to put their heads together and think through the most effective way they could help us with our decision.   The FSF'ers recognize the sensitivities around the topic and were going to give a think about how to weigh in and in which forums would be most appropriate to share their views with the OpenSolaris community as well as  Free Software advocates.

Im very interested to hear what they come back with.  Stay tuned...


Pau for now... 


I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


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