On OpenSolaris

In a recent article, Ted T’so makes some interesting points on Sun’s motives behind OpenSolaris, and how it fares today in the FOSS ecosystem as a result.

“Fundamentally, Open Solaris has been released under a Open Source license, but it is not an Open Source development community.”

It’s quite sad that this is the case simply considering the enormous potential that OpenSolaris had back in 2005, and the opportunities for cross pollination with Linux had the licenses been compatible. Given some of killer features of the operating system, it’s quite a shame that it has not been able to rally the developer community that it deserves.

At this point, I think the only hope for OpenSolaris is GPLv3 and a truly open development process. Then for once, Linus’ kernel will have a strong contender and a raised bar on licensing grounds.

Nexenta (a project unaffiliated with Sun), and essentially a Debian distribution with an OpenSolaris kernel, has been a strong attempt at attracting developers. Debian is by far is the most developer friendly GNU/Linux distribution out there, with a mature and proven development model, and to build an OpenSolaris distribution with user land tools of Debian makes the most sense.

I’ve been a Solaris user since version 6, which I attempted to run (quite foolishly) on a 333MHz Pentium. The user experience was anything but smooth, but still ended up gaining a lot of respect for the platform. Only time can say whether the tide changes for OpenSolaris or whether it ends up relegating to the Minix boat.

Updated: 03 May – Corrections on Nexenta

Sahana receives FSF award

I attended the 2007 FSF members meeting today – codenamed “Year of the upgrade”.

–snip–

09:15-10:00 Breakfast, registration, and pgp key signing
10:00-10:25 Peter Brown, Executive Director – “Libre Planet”
10:25-10:50 John Sullivan, Program Administrator -“BadVista and the Campaign for Free Software Adoption”
10:50-11:05 Justin Baugh, Senior System Administrator – “Hardware Free from Restrictions”
11:05-11:20 Joshua Ginsberg, Senior System Administrator – “FSF Systems Administration”
11:20-11:35 Break
11:35-12:10 Brett Smith, Licensing Engineer – “Compliance and GPLv3”
12:10-12:50 Richard Stallman, President – “Software Patents”
12:50-13:50 Lunch and mini-rockbox installfast
13:50-14:40 Gerald Sussman, Director – “Robust Design”
14:40-15:20 Eben Moglen, General Counsel – “After GPLv3”
15:20-16:00 Board members panel and Q&A – “Year of the Upgrade”
16:00-16:15 Break
16:15-17:30 Members Forum – including a presentation by Mako Hill on “Defining Free Culture”
17:30-17:50 Free Software Awards Ceremony

–snip–

Four members from the Sahana team (Chamindra, Pradeeper, Mifan and Ravindra) were present at the meeting to receive the Free Software award for Project of Social Benefit!! This is a truly great achievement, kudos to you all!

Just as I expected, I bumped into Niibe this year as well, and we caught up on some of the Debian work that I’ve been doing with him. Niibe is my mentor at Debian and has been helping me immensely to get my packages into Debian.

Other notable attendees were Bruce Perens and Ted Ts’o.

I noticed Ted when he entered the room, towards the latter part of the event. It was only later that I found out that he was to receive the FSF Award for the Advancement of Free software. I didn’t expect to see any high profile kernel hackers as himself at FSF events although there was one attendee who was the splitting image of Alan Cox, but a little poking round revealed that to be a false lead.

The presentation by Mako Hill on “Defining Free Culture” was quite informative on some of the good work he’s been upto lately. Eben Moglen‘s oratory was impressive as always and Gerald Sussman confounded the audience with some deep mathematics. RMS spoke on software patents.

Some photos from the event are available on my flickr.

Past events: FSF Members Meeting, 2006

The Magic Word

Once in every three years or so, I fire up an editor that I can’t exit.

First it was vi, many many moons ago.

Then came emacs. Ctrl-x, Ctrl-v was the LAST thing on my mind.

I’ve been working with z/OS for a while now and never had the opportunity to play around much. Being mostly restricted to USS (UNIX System Services) that offers a friendly UNIX shell, hiding the arcane operating system beneath, I haven’t really had the opportunity to mess things up much. As anyone who likes to play around with new operating systems would tell you: that’s no way to learn.

The last couple of days have been spent dipping my feet in TSO, taking notes feverishly, and throwing commands at it, sometimes with no real idea of what it does. Somewhere down the line I happened to type EDIT.

Before long, it was evident that I had stumbled upon an editor that I didn’t know how to exit.

And so the usual panic ensued. After many failed attempts, broken-spirited, I resorted to google. Several queries later, hidden deep in google groups, I stumbled upon exactly what I needed. The magic word was END! not :wq. not Ctrl-X Ctrl-C. END!!!

EDIT car
 ENTER DATA SET TYPE-
TEXT
 DATA SET OR MEMBER NOT FOUND, ASSUMED TO BE NEW
 INPUT
 00010 Dude, where's my car?
 00020
 EDIT
SAVE
 EDIT
END
 READY