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DHCPv6 Client project on OpenSolaris

Dave Miner
Sr. Principal Software Engineer
Just thought I'd note that Jim has opened the DHCPv6 client project on OpenSolaris. From my perspective, this should mark the last significant bit of work needed to make IPv6 deployable for real customers, a process we started in Solaris nearly 10 years ago with the first IPv6 projects.  And this project is being done now because, in fact, there are real live customers who want to deploy IPv6, and soon.

One question that's come up more than once as we've been preparing this project over the past few months is, "Isn't there an open-source client out there we can just grab and use?"  Note that the appearance of this project on OpenSolaris in no way says that we're only interested in writing a client absolutely from scratch.  In fact, I think we'd be quite open to using an existing implementation that met the requirements.  The problem, though, is that we want an implementation that integrates tightly into the Solaris network configuration architecture, which we are working to actively evolve for the long-term with the Network Auto-Magic project, among others.  Our experience in this respect is that the protocol is actually the simpler part of the code; the integration with the rest of the system is the harder part, and each OS has a different architecture that the client needs to fit into.  Usually, that doesn't lend itself well to a cross-platform client.

History is instructive here, as we've in fact been down this road once before, with DHCPv4.  The DHCPv4 client that was introduced in Solaris 2.6 and continued in Solaris 7 was a third-party implementation designed for portability, and it worked fine insofar as it went.  However, as we planned to expand the usage of DHCP in the system, to support network installation, diskless booting, and all the other things that go into the network being the computer, we realized that the client we had just wasn't designed to do that, and making it do so was going to be basically a rewrite.  As a result, we (or, more accurately, meem) wrote a new client for Solaris 8.  It's proven quite stable, though will likely undergo some minor revisions to make Network Auto-Magic work the way users expect.

I see Jim's already started some early design discussion.  Hope to see you over there!

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