Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Learning from Linux - an Open Solaris view

Interesting post here by Sun's Adam Leventhal, on the flaws in Linux kernel development, and how those lessons could be applied to a future open Solaris. The problem in terms of quality/test control with Linux is the sheer amount of hardware platforms it supports versus the limited set that Solaris runs on. Opening up Solaris means opening up Solaris to this huge range of hardware platforms - with the resultant knock on effects on quality control. Interesting , and probably a valid point.

"In Solaris, testing can be arduous. Some changes are obvious and can be tested just on architecture, but others require extensive tests on a variety of SPARC and x86 platforms. And linux supports so many more platforms! I have no idea how a developer working on his x86 box can ever be sure that some seemingly innocuous change hasn't broken 64-bit PPC (or whatever). Clearly this is something we have to solve for OpenSolaris"

On the Open Solaris question , Eric Schlock (of the Solaris kernel team), says that "we're not just throwing source over the wall as a PR stunt or to get free labor".

What's interesting about these posts, and indeed the blogs , are that we on the outside are getting some good insights into how Sun are thinking. The blogs ARE a very very good idea. They work. And I'm interested. I'm sure many other OSS fans are as well. By the way, a certain Tim Bray introduced the blog ethos to Sun.