OpenSolaris is not Vapourware

There was a particularly insulting post to osnews that Fintan also took exception to.

I have to agree with Fintan's sentiments.

My feeling is that the crux of the insult is in the word "vapourware".

Wikipedia defines it thus:

Vaporware (or vapourware) is software or hardware which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge, either with or without a protracted development cycle. The term implies deception, or at least a negligent degree of optimism; that is, it implies that the announcer knows that product development is in too early a stage to support responsible statements about its completion date, feature set, or even feasibility.

There is a similarity between vaporware and a species of hoax; both involve promoting a product or event which cannot later be produced. There have been a number of hoaxes in technological fields, wherein the hoaxter promises that proof of his offering will be forthcoming -- eventually. Examples include Clonaid, the Raelian company which promised proof of human cloning; or any number of perpetual motion machine "inventors". The distinction may be that in vaporware, the proponent truly does intend to produce the advertised product, while in hoax, he knows the product does not exist or cannot be produced.

Now by calling OpenSolaris "vapourware", there are a number things which you are immediately saying (that I suspect you might not be meaning to - I'll give you the benefit of the doubt).

Let's address these points in order.

  1. ... announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge

    OK, we announced it and have been talking about it for a while, but now we are within a few months of release. I'd hardly call that "well in advance" at this point.

  2. The term implies deception

    To my knowledge we have not been involved in any deception and to imply otherwise is simple lieing and terribly insulting.

  3. it implies that the announcer knows that product development is in too early a stage to support responsible statements about its completion date, feature set, or even feasibility

    See above, it will be out this quarter. I have yet to see a statement by anyone involved with opensolaris that could be regarded as not a responsible statement.

  4. There is a similarity between vaporware and a species of hoax; both involve promoting a product or event which cannot later be produced.

    It's certainly not a hoax. I and the engineers involved in this would certainly not lend my reputation (which I live by) to such a thing. Nor would the Sun engineers involved or the more than 110 people who are not Sun employees who are a part of the pilot. I'd also be surprised if Roy Fielding would risk his reputation similarly.

  5. wherein the hoaxter promises that proof of his offering will be forthcoming -- eventually

    I'd hardly call "before the end of this quarter" eventually.

While I can see where the original poster was coming from (opensolaris is not generally available), I think they could have chosen a better word to express their views than "vapourware".

opensolaris certainly exists, you only have to speak to anyone involved in getting it out there. There are a lot of us out there who both do and do not work for Sun.

I have to comment on the last line of the post that started this.

If Sun really is paying attention... STOP TELLING US ABOUT ALL THE GREAT THINGS SUN IS ABOUT AND EFFING SHOW US ALREADY! I've waited about seven years for Sun to make good on its promises.

Ummm what do you think Solaris 10 was? We spoke an awful lot about the great things in that. Hey, guess what? Solaris 10 is out and available.

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* - Solaris and Network Domain, Technical Support Centre


Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him

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