Making Solaris a better Solaris than Solaris

Ian Murdock was the speaker at this month's Silicon Valley OpenSolaris User Group meeting. I had heard from Alan last week that Ian would be speaking about the recently announced Project Indiana, and I wanted to go hear more. The first I had heard about it, was from this Slashdot post, and from the flurry of ensuing discussion on the opensolaris-discuss mailing list. A collegue of mine distilled it particularly well when he said (paraphrasing) that the initial spectrum of reaction was such that some folks were realizing their greatest hopes...while others were realizing their greatest fears. :)

The "Making Solaris a better Linux than Linux" quote referenced in the Slashdot post seems to have elicited a wide range of responses from folks in the community. Some folks have expressed that they don't want to see Solaris "become a better Linux", out of concern that Solaris would lose some of it's differentiating strengths (backward compatibility / stability being a frequently raised example). Others on the thread have pointed out examples of things in the Solaris environment that they feel represent barriers for adoption...which in turn has elicited more debate as to whether those barriers are really barriers, and then more debate still as to how best to deal with them. :)

At the SVOSUG meeting, Ian gave some background describing where he's coming from, why he decided to join Sun to advocate for OpenSolaris, and his vision for Project Indiana. The devil is in the details, and it's pretty clear there are many of them, but the modivation and idea behind Project Indiana (or at least my take on it) seems fairly simple. Provide OpenSolaris with the features it needs to appeal to, and be welcoming of Linux enthusiasts and/or folks who would otherwise reach for a Linux solution.

At the meeting, I said I felt that the goal shouldn't necessarily be to make Solaris a better Linux than Linux..but to make Solaris a better Solaris, such that it appeals to Linux enthusiasts more than Linux itself does. The difference is where you set your sights. I don't believe there's any shortage of opportunity. While OpenSolaris is superior in many ways, I believe it's deficient in others. I note myself carrying around a short mental list of things that (for me) are missing, or deficient in OpenSolaris that I suspect could represent an adoption "show stopper" for someone else. My short list represents the feature gap that exists between where OpenSolaris is, and where (as a developer) I wish it would be.

I suspect that such a list would vary depending on who you ask. For Project Indiana, I would imagine that characterizing what this list would look like from the perspective of a Linux enthusiast, as well as someone who tried (and gave up on) OpenSolaris would be a useful start.


Technorati Tags: OpenSolaris
Comments:

Another risk of the "Making Solaris a better Linux than Linux" trend is making Solaris into what made a lot of the current Solaris users drop linux. I don't want Linux, I want Solaris as _the_ unix platform, staying years ahead of everyone else as the most solid and innovative server os there is. I have no need for Linux's testing in production attitude that has been prevalent within the 2.6 series.

Posted by Mads on May 28, 2007 at 02:44 AM PDT #

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