Thursday, April 28, 2011

GSoC Candidates Selected

You may be aware that we have selected two candidates for the slots allocated by Google to illumos -- the first is to replace some system utilities from code in perl to native C. The second of which is to bring GRUB2 to illumos.

What you may not know, is that Nexenta will be sponsoring three additional candidates to pursue projects of their own to benefit illumos. These candidates have been selected already, and we will have more to say about them and their work in the future. Stay tuned!

Thanks again, Joyent!

Joyent have continued to demonstrate their commitment to and support of illumos.

In addition to a string of recent source code integrations, they are now hosting some of our infrastructure in their cloud, with more to follow.

After moving the stuff there, we're now enjoying significantly better performance, and enhanced functionality. Try out the new OpenGrok instance yourself to see!

I'd also like to give a special thank you to Circonus, who are providing active monitoring services for our site now, as a gratuity to illumos. Apparently, they're going to be hosting their stuff on illumos based systems as well, so there's additional synergy here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What is this OSUNIX thing anyway?

So there has been some things brewing in a sub-sect of the illumos community about a project to fork illumos, because of alleged problems with my leadership. You can read the thread here if you want.

I want to address this head on.

First the claim is that I've got omnipotent control over illumos. This is absolutely false. While I created the project, and serve as technical lead, I've offered to step down if the developer-council and admin-council would like to me to do so. Notably my employer (Nexenta) has minority representation on both councils, and I've tried to keep the groups as neutral as possible. I said when I created the illumos project, and I still maintain, illumos is a community project, not a Nexenta one.

I'm working on the process to make this more formal through non-profit governance. I should have more to say here before the end of week. (I've got a meeting about this today.)

I've also handed over determination of the Advocate list (the list of people who get to approve and integrate submissions) to developer-council. So far Nexenta has 75% of the advocate slots, but this can change at the request of developer-council. Since about 75% of the contributions to the illumos code have come from my team at Nexenta, this should hardly be surprising. In fact, I've flatly refused to add any more Nexenta advocates, even though there are meritorious candidates, until we get broader representation here. (Becoming an advocate requires making a number of good, well-formed, contributions. And it requires people willing to perform thorough review.)

There is a claim that I've somehow driven companies away from illumos. I hope not. As of now, I'm not aware of any companies that have requested to participate or contribute, who I've turned away. In fact, the only contributions that have been turned down have been Joerg Schilling's star project (he couldn't find people willing to review the code) and the ksh93 update (which has been unable to pass a technical code review -- ultimately we'll probably take in the ksh93 changes in more piecemeal fashion breaking them apart into reasonable and reviewable integrations instead of a 100KLOC+ set of code of varying quality.) As far as I know, everything else is vaporware.

I'd love to know what companies I've driven away, and what I did to do so. Honestly, if there is constructive criticsm here, then I want to hear it because I want to a better job -- and I want illumos to be as inclusive as possible. The fact that nobody has come forward (and nobody has approached me privately either!) makes me wonder how much this is really happening.

In fact, I have done all I can to encourage contribution, and to give credit for such contributions where it is due. And indeed, we have contributions from Joyent, Areca, and others. And a number of things queued up from names like Intel and LSI.

At the end of the day, if the project forks, so be it. Forks aren't necessarily a bad thing, and if a fork means we get more contributors to the ecosystem, then I welcome it. But I hope that the basis for such a fork is not just because one or two people don't like me.

(For the record, I am perfectly happy that I'm not everyone's favorite person... my job is to do the best I can for the future of the project, not to be the most universally well loved person. The open source world is filled with other personalities who people have strong feelings about -- Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Theo De Raadt, Andrew Tridgell, and I don't think that the projects they lead have suffered any for it.)

Anyway, I hope that explains my position. If someone wants to have an open dialog with me about any of this, I'm happy to do so. I don't monitor the OSUNIX lists normally, but I'm reachable via email, IRC (gdamore), this blog, twitter (gedamore), and the developer list on

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thank you Joyent!

Joyent posted an update -- they've released a branch of illumos, on github, containing much of their illumos contributions.

Some of the stuff is probably fairly Joyent specific, but some of it is highly useful to almost everyone using illumos!

From their mail:
  • ZFS I/O fair-share scheduling for zones
  • the Joyent brand, which can be used as a template for other non-SysVR4 or IPS zone brands
  • Reintroduction of sparse zone images
  • Crossbow vnics on demand for zones & non-unique vnic naming (unique per zone, not per system)
  • svcs enhancements ( svcs -Z/-z for interrogating zone services, -L for outputting log files directly (no more ls /var/svc/log | grep... ))
  • vfsstat and iostat tweaks and ziostat, iostat(1M) for ZFS I/O
  • more per-zone IO kstats
  • the zonemon utility for zone kernel state troubleshooting
  • DTrace enhancements such as llquantize
I just want to say again, thank you very much Joyent! Now, how quickly can we merge this stuff into illumos mainline?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

CFV: illumos content authors

I'm looking for people interested in contributing content to the illumos website. Right now we have a test website but it needs help with producing content. First and foremost we need English content, but the new framework will support other localizations as well.

If you're interested in contributing here, drop me an email. I'll be setting up a mailing list for this soon.