Thoughts for a Weekend

I had lunch with Jim Grisanzio on Friday, and he mentioned I should start a blog. It's something I'd already been thinking about doing. In my previous job at Sun, working on NFS, it seemed like there was always something more pressing to do. But now that I'm working on OpenSolaris, community participation is an important part of my job. So here I am. :-)

At the moment I'm primarily involved with resolving copyright issues. Solaris has acquired code from a lot of sources over the years, and we need to make sure that when we make code publicly available, we aren't releasing something we're not allowed to.

Some of the initial analysis looks like it will be pretty tedious. But I'm looking forward to getting exposed to more of the code than I have in the past. A lot of bugs get filed against NFS even if the problem is elsewhere, so after 12 years of hacking NFS I've been exposed to many things besides just NFS. But there's still a lot more of the code that will be new to me.

I'm writing this at the Stanford/USC football game. I'll upload the text Sunday or Monday. I belong to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (a local bicycle advocacy group), and we provide guarded bicycle parking at the Stanford home games. Stanford just scored, but USC's still on top, 10-7. I hear USC is rated number 1 in the country, so Stanford's got its work cut out for it. We've got 99 bikes in our corral.

At the moment, I'm one of the few engineers who's dedicated to OpenSolaris. There will eventually be more folks working on this, particularly to help with the copyright analysis. But right now there's still a lot of work needed to fix bugs in Solaris 10 before it ships.

There's also some meta-engineering work that will need to be done. The Solaris organization has a set of processes that are designed to quickly detect and repair breakage, keep changes in one area of the code from breaking something else, etc. We'll need to figure out what changes to make so that non-Sun employees can participate, without losing the benefits of our current system. I'm not sure how much I'll be involved with that. It'll be done in multiple phases, I'm sure.

Halftime. Stanford's on top, 28-17. The USC fans are in shock.

The other thing I'm working on is updating the version of XEmacs (and the Lisp libraries) that ships on the Solaris Companion CD. Once that's done, I've got a couple other XEmacs things I can work on (when I'm not busy with OpenSolaris stuff). One thing is that we don't currently ship the MULE (multilingual) build of XEmacs on the Companion CD. I should fix that. The other thing is that the Solaris audio support in XEmacs uses the old OpenWindows audio demo library. We stopped shipping that library in Solaris 9. Someone has given me a patch that uses the newer audio ioctl's that replaced the old library, but the patch doesn't work on Solaris x86. It's probably just byte order issues and I just have to find the time to make it work.

It's sunset now. The clouds are gorgeous, but it's getting cold. I brought a sweatshirt, but I should have brought something heavier. If it were later in the season, I'd have brought a thermos of tea. Fortunately, Roger, who is the other person staffing this bike corral, has brought a thermos of coffee and an extra cup.

The game's over. USC won: 31-28. Most of the bicyclists don't have lights. I hope they get home safely.


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