Openly Excited

Openly Excited The past few weeks have been some of the most exciting (and hectic!) of my professional career, as I acclimate to the power and responsibility of an increasingly open software development model.

To rewind for a second: Clearview is a project that Sebastien and I are spearheading to rationalize, unify, and enhance the way network interfaces are handled in Solaris. "What?,", you say? Well, by defining and implementing a set of core unifying attributes (or unalienable rights)[1] for all interfaces, a wide variety of administrative, programmatic, and diagnostic problems are addressed. For example, after this work, one will be able to:

  • Observe all IP layer network traffic, including loopback, IPMP group and IP tunnel traffic.
  • Observe all IP layer network traffic flowing to and from a zone.
  • Administrate all network interfaces using dladm(1M).
  • Use VLANs and form link aggregations on all Ethernet devices.
  • Use IPMP with technologies such as DHCP and routing protocols.

... though that list is far from comprehensive (nor does the above list constitute a commitment -- this is work-in-progress, mind you!)

Before I start hearing cries of "vaporware!", let's get back to the part that has me stoked: Clearview is one of the first Solaris projects to directly involve the OpenSolaris community in its design. To wit, our team is in the process of releasing design materials for each component of the Clearview project, and is actively soliciting input from the community at large.

In fact, the first document -- covering our massive overhaul of IPMP -- was sent out a week ago, and has already received some great feedback (keep it coming!) Further, just this morning, Sebastien unveiled our proposed Tunnelling Device Driver -- if you've spent much time with tunnels in Solaris, this will be a sight for sore eyes. Of course, that's not all: in the coming weeks, Phil Kirk will provide our design for IP-Level Observability Devices, and Cathy Zhou will detail our sinister plan to bring the power of dladm to all Solaris network interfaces (and more!)

When we say directly involve, we mean it. That is, this review is instead of, rather than in addition to our traditional Sun-internal design review. As such, other project teams inside Sun are seeing these materials for the first time as well -- and we have encouraged all of them to provide their feedback to the community forum. We hope that this underscores not only our commitment to open up our development process, but our desire to actively involve the community in each step, from design through integration, and beyond.

Speaking of design: we hope these hefty documents make it clear that we do not believe in leaving the design or architecture of Solaris to the whims of late-night hackery. Moreover, although technical documents are rarely known for their humanity, we hope that our materials provide a glimpse into the deep pride we each have in both Solaris and our craft.

Needless to say, your participation is most welcome -- and rest assured that we will continue to seek your involvement as the components proceed through various stages of our software development process.

Footnotes

[1] The rights themselves and their implications are too important to serve as a sidebar to this blog entry, and will surely get one of their own in the future.

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