Shock headlines and unsubstantiated assertions. That's what you'll find in this InfoWorld piece on OpenSolaris -- Is Sun Solaris on its deathbed? It's an unfortunate article because it's so obviously unbalanced, and it's sad to see the New York Times undermine its credibility by just reprinting the darn thing. But that's ok. The community can talk back now. There are many comments challenging the conclusions in the article right in the comments section, as well as some pointing to some legitimate issues on the project. I appreciate that. That's all welcome conversation. And I see other conversations about the article taking place on, OSNews,, and Slashdot. There is bound to be more of this back and forth in the media, but I think one of the better summary posts on the Linux vs OpenSolaris issue was written earlier in the year by Stephen O'Grady at Redmonk.

In general, there are certainly many things to criticize about the OpenSolaris project -- as there are about any project -- but this "death" bit that comes up from time to time seems way over the top, don't you think? I've commented about these issues so many times before I can't even remember, as have many others too. The only thing I'd say about the article is that I'm happy the Linux community is doing well, I think we can still learn a great deal from Linux about how they build community, and I think the real market battle is between all the Unix's and Windows. I hang out with the Linux guys in Tokyo, and I'm now trying to get to know the Linux guys in Beijing. It's great to be part of international groups like these two and others that openly welcome me and anyone who wants to participate. I see BSD guys in these communities. I see Ruby guys. MySQL and PosgresSQL. Java. OpenOffice. NetBeans. Eclipse. Web 2.0. Perl. Creative Commons. Etc. It seems to me that should be the model here -- communities getting together to share ideas about engineering, community development, and open source software.

Meanwhile, on the OpenSolaris project I think things have been looking up for a while now after some rough patches last year. We keep releasing source and binaries and building community around the world. We are also making progress on fixing some of our mistakes as well. See Simon on getting open, Bonnie on contributions, David on build 98, Tim on the future, the SCM project on infrastructure, Chris on the new wiki, Alan on the webapp, the OGB on the reorg, and Sun on Solaris. And there's much more, of course. Some really good stuff going on. It's hardly perfect, sure, but it's certainly far from death. And to all of those people out there doing all this hard work with passion and dedication for the technology and community they love, I'd say some of us are pretty jazzed about the future we are building.

Wouldn't you agree?

Linux progress, benefits OpenSolaris and vice versa, most code that works on Linux can be compiled on Solaris.

Posted by Peter on September 28, 2008 at 12:58 PM JST #

As one comment on Ben Rockwood's blog pointed out, looks like NetApp might have their sticky fingers in that Infoworld pie...

I mean,


Posted by Dave on September 28, 2008 at 01:37 PM JST #

[Trackback] Bookmarked your post over at Blog!

Posted by blogs on September 28, 2008 at 11:01 PM JST #

Nice level-headed response as always. :)

Posted by Barton George on September 29, 2008 at 05:49 PM JST #

When did the NYT get any credibility?

Should we wonder about your seeing as how you gave them some? Just kidding but really . I have not read anything the NYT has put out in years, they are journalistic hacks.

Posted by David Vasta on September 30, 2008 at 03:29 AM JST #

thanks, guys. I think this article was a tad over the top. I also think it backfired. Who knows, perhaps it was all a misunderstanding. That's possible when dealing with the press. It does fit a pattern, though, so that's why I think we need to respond each time and point it out. Hopefully, this sort of thing will not occur too much more in the future. Companies compete, but I think at the community level there should be much more cooperation and civility.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on October 01, 2008 at 06:44 AM JST #

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