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OpenSolaris Governing Board Closing Shop? 234

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-it-comes-to-this dept.
echolinux writes "Frustrated by Oracle's refusal to interact with the OpenSolaris community or speak with the OpenSolaris Governing Board, the OGB has issued an ultimatum to Oracle: designate a liaison to the OGB by August 16th or the board will 'take action at the August 23 meeting to trigger the clause in the OGB charter that will return control of the community to Oracle.'"
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OpenSolaris Governing Board Closing Shop?

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  • Sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:35AM (#32901444)
    Oracle seems determined to destroy everything they acquired from Sun. We had 2 OpenSolaris machines since Zones and ZFS are just hot shit and several SunFire servers. We're moving the OpenSolaris installs to FreeBSD and are probably going to be looking at HP or IBM machines in the future.
  • Re:Why the silence? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:54AM (#32901802)

    I was a Sun employee and hoped that Oracle management would have more ideas with what to do with the technologies than Sun. But we were told 'margin is king and nothing else matters'. So where is the margin in Open Solaris, MySQL, or most other Sun products that Oracle can cash in with ASAP?? If there is not a high margin then Oracle will kill it.

    Of my group of about 25 when Sun was taken over, less than a quarter are left. And the others are looking.

  • by yuna49 (905461) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:55AM (#32901810)

    I don't really care about OpenSolaris, but I have been a happy user of VirtualBox since before it was acquired by Sun. Sun developed some nice, but proprietary, tweaks to VirtualBox in areas like graphics drivers. I do see development continuing as I get prompted to upgrade fairly regularly, but I've been nervous that VirtualBox will also eventually be treated as roadkill by Oracle. Obviously there will always be a free implementation since the "open-source edition" is GPL-licensed.

    I can understand Oracle's lack of interest in OpenSolaris since they've supported Linux for a long time now. (Hell, they even compete directly against RedHat with their Oracle Enterprise Linux [wikipedia.org] distribution.) I do wonder, though, whether they'll stay committed to VirtualBox down the road.

  • Ah Oracle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sir lox elroy (735636) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:59AM (#32901902) Homepage
    You have already showed what kind of a BOFH you can be. I was attempting this week to find drivers for some of our Ultra 20s, I can't even download drivers without a stinkin Maint Agreement. This is why I went with MySQL years ago, and not Oracle, hmmm time to change to PostGRES and dump all the Sun equipment.
  • Re:Sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mark Round (211258) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:04AM (#32901998) Homepage

    They’ve completely alienated and scared off the community around OpenSolaris, killed any lines of communication by clamping down on employee blogs and ignored open letters from highly influential and important community members begging for *any* kind of information. They’ve forbidden Sun/Oracle employees from heading up the Solaris user groups and booted the meetings out of their buildings; turned Solaris 10 into a 30-day trial, and pushed back the 2010.x release of OpenSolaris with no word as to it’s planned release date, or even if it is being continued as a product.

    Oracle are doing a superb job of killing Solaris - at least, as we knew it to be.

    Oracle just really doesn't care about Solaris as a general purpose OS (there's no money in it), and it makes sense although I personally find it tragic. It's probably why they're also killing all their OEM deals. I strongly suspect Oracle's overall aim is to have Solaris relegated to the role of running as the bottom layer in an Oracle "database machine" or Java appserver bundle.

    It excels in these tasks, and it would obviously fit into Oracle's stated goal of being a one stop shop, where if you want to run Oracle, they'll sell you the bundle - hardware, storage, OS and software. If they no longer want it to be a dominant general purpose datacenter OS, then their approach makes sense. They don't need a "community" around the product, they don't need open source developers porting applications to it, and they certainly don't need the overhead of running and managing a community portal anymore.

    I think the way they are going about it reprehensible, and it's a tragic end for such a historic and innovative OS but you can see why. Larry is all about the $$$, and Sun's approach just wasn't bringing in the big bucks.

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hitmark (640295) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:18AM (#32902250) Journal

    when the market goes down, the companies goes vertical.

    heck, it may well be that oracle wont sell a stack, but rather lease it; with some kind of yearly support contract.

  • Re:Uhhh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ak3ldama (554026) <james_akeldamaNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:21AM (#32902286) Homepage Journal

    ...so we may as well all just cut to the chase and declare OpenSolaris dead.

    This is absolutely what is happening. [cuddletech.com] From that post I linked to:

    I once advocated this kind of self-implosion tactic back in the Sun days. The reason was to re-organize the OpenSolaris leadership to be more engaged and industry focused. That was a good idea back in the days when I had faith that Sun would "do the right thing". However, those times have past. Oracle has made it clear that it either controls things or it doesn't... there is no give and take. I don't think we can demolish the structure and believe that Oracle will re-organize in such a way as to give the community more power. It was a long shot with Sun anyway.

    However, the most important tidbit he reveals lower in his post:

    We're in no worse a position right now than we were during the Sun days. They didn't communicate, we had no visibility or impact on the OpenSolaris distribution, etc. Don't fall into the lie that things are now "worse" than they were... they aren't. Its status quo. The difference is that the OGB is no longer composed of Sun insiders who can get a sense of control from hallway conversations and are now as blind and weak as those of us in the community always have been.

    My apologies to Ben Rockwood for raping his blog post of content, but this is /. and no one reads anything linked to apparently.

  • Re:It is obvious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DesScorp (410532) <<DesScorp> <at> <Gmail.com>> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:21AM (#32902304) Homepage Journal

    Look it is obvious, Oracle is putting a nail in anything having to do with Solaris. Get over it, move on and start migrating.

    No, Oracle is putting a nail in OpenSolaris. They're quite interested in developing commercial Solaris. They just want to be paid for it. You don't make money by not making money. You'd have thought everyone would get that now after the Internet bubble 10 years ago.

  • Re:Sad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Timex (11710) <smithadmin@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:23AM (#32902340) Journal

    Support a community well and it will pay you back. Alienate a community and you are suddenly competing against better entrenched products.

    If you'll pardon the dated reference, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. One case that comes to mind is Apple's ending the life of the Apple II line. Sure, it would have been a virtual nightmare to keep backward compatibility as they moved forward with the series, but because of the way they went about it, many of their big fans jumped ship to the PC-compatible camp, rather than shifting to the Mac. Apple could have had a larger following with their Mac line, had they tried to make the change a little more gently, but they didn't, and they are only recently beginning to recover from it.

    If Oracle is careful, they won't make any waves in doing what they think is the best action to take, but somehow I get the feeling that they're past caring what anyone else thinks.

  • Re:Sad (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:41AM (#32902674)

    Yeah, god forbid that a company actually make money and stay afloat, that's just a fucking sacrilege.

    How is it "tragic" exactly? How is it "tragic" that they're cutting off a part of their business that is entirely unprofitable? Sun had plenty of those, it's why they're not around any more. The source for your beloved OS is still out there -- if you care about it so much why don't you do what every elitist OSS asshole says and compile it yourself? You said it yourself, "there's no money in it." That doesn't mean you can't use it.

    No, what you really find tragic (but can't actually say due to your affinity for OpenSolaris) is that nobody CARES about OpenSolaris enough to support it or the community around it any longer. I suppose I could understand that, if I had a personal "attachment" to the OS, but I don't. Neither do they, and there's no reason why they should either.

    Maybe instead of stamping their feet and declaring an "ultimatum" against Oracle they should offer up some practical reasons why ANYONE should give a shit about OpenSolaris? Go ahead and say "ZFS," the last bastion of a former Sun worshipper.

  • Re:Sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jackspenn (682188) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:47AM (#32902760)

    I guess that Sun were just too nice a company to prosper

    Well that and they were way over priced ...

    Well that and the Open Source Community caught up with them ...

    Well that and they didn't have a long-term solution/strategy to ensure new entries into the tech field could gain experience/skills on their products so they would be comfortable recommending them. Sun relied on the old guard to recommend Sun, while newer entries onto the computer field were more comfortable recommending solutions they had experience with.

    As a result apache replaced Sun's web server as the standard.

    Red Hat (and others) took away Solaris server market share.

    New startups began by running Oracle and other databases on Linux (or even Windows) servers in the initial low funding development stages and then when it came time to go into production, some of them didn't bother with moving to Sun hardware and Solaris, and instead remained with what worked and building it out to be "good-enough" for less money and less headaches.

    I was in college from 1995-1999. The guys who loved going to the lab became Solaris die-hards, because that was what the school at that time ran (it is now LINUX, LINUX and more LINUX). But I preferred working in my apartment, so when I had took C, LISP, and JAVA classes that were focused on the fundamentals of code, things like recursion or objects, my teachers didn't demand I used the Solaris workstation, just that I solved the problem and got a strong foundation. So I installed Red hat on a backup PC and worked by using the same languages, with the same libraries, with the same text editors only on LINUX as the labs used on Solaris. At the time, I was the minority, but with each new class the LINUX users increased and those willing to invest in learning Solaris decreased, not to mention a larger and larger percentage of Solaris guys knew both.

    When I went to work for a startup in California, they couldn't afford the quotes for Sun, so I purchased three DELL servers and installed Linux on them to accomplish the same task. Now nobody asks for Solaris admins, they ask for Linux admins.

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:47AM (#32902772) Journal
    > They're trying to become the Mercedes-Benz of IT. They're going mostly to the high end of the enterprise.

    Climbing up the ladder may work, but don't be surprised by how high and fast Intel, AMD and their partners can climb ;).

    DEC and SGI also went for the high end of IT.

    HP's HP/UX is good as dead, and they've done a good job killing off Tandem and VMS.

    So far IBM is still holding out with their POWER stuff.
  • by Doc Hopper (59070) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:50AM (#32902820) Homepage Journal

    I do wonder, though, whether they'll stay committed to VirtualBox down the road

    I hate to engage in speculation, but Oracle now has two virtualization solutions:

    1. Server-side "OVS" or "OVMS": Oracle Virtual Server. This is a Xen-based implementation used widely within Oracle under the framework of their Grid and Elastic Grid products. It's portable, scalable, and is a huge revenue-generator in areas like Oracle Education.

    2. VirtualBox, which is more of a client-side, "run it on the desktop" app.

    They both have their niches, so I don't see either going away any time soon. OVS is a beast to manage on more than a handful of servers, and paravirtualization (required for good virtualization of Windows) is just now getting rolling onto the "good" side of the usability & performance hump. While Vbox has worked great in that environment.

    Speculation: I think we may see some sort of interoperability merge in the future between Vbox & OVS. I am fairly certain there is no development along those lines right now -- Oracle's really busy working on integrating all the web-services & database stuff acquired from Sun, PeopleSoft, and other acquisitions -- but I bet it's on a roadmap somewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:25PM (#32903400)

    I was a Sun employee, I'm now an Oracle employee. I've posted in the past about internal, but non-secret Sun stuff using my registered nickname because I didn't think it mattered all that much. These days, however, the corporate secrecy is verging on paranoia, and so I don't dare use my regular nickname.

    Anyhow, I'll keep this short. First of all, Oracle does not say anything to anyone outside of Oracle about future plans. Period. It's repeated over and over in the brainwashing (er, onboarding) presentations. The rationale for this is that if customers think they know what new products are in the pipeline and when they'll come out, they'll plan their purchases accordingly. There's also the potential loss of competitive advantage.

    Second, Oracle doesn't give a rat's ass about building communities and generating interest with Open Source. They'll re-brand Red Hat because they know people want Linux servers, but they don't care about trying to make Open Solaris a gateway to "real" Solaris. They'll make Solaris the premier platform for high-end Oracle DBs, and they'll use it for storage solutions which take on NetApp. Beyond that, they don't care about whether or not Solaris "wins" against Linux. They don't need it to. The goal is to leverage Solaris (on Sparc for Oracle DB, x86 for storage) into closed solutions which have huge profit margins. If it's not going to create large margins, it won't live long at Oracle.

    Profit is king here. Anything else is overhead, and overhead eats into Larry's yacht fund.

    Yes, I'm looking elsewhere. The best and brightest have been leaving in droves. I am neither, but I'm still pretty good; just somewhat less mobile. Working on that.

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poet (8021) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @01:20PM (#32904234) Homepage

    Although I agree, kinda. We are wrong.

    The market cap of Red Hat is 6.06B
    The market cap of Oracle is 119.57B

    Oracle doesn't need "a community" in any way. Communities are great if the bottom line isn't the priority. RHAT makes the bottom like "a" priority but they are certainly not making it "the" priority. They can't because they are an Open Source company and without the community they are hosed. Oracle needs a community like Bill Gates needs a loan.

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @01:23PM (#32904258)

    nice? pumping millions into sco during their lawsuit against Linux?

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <(bert) (at) (slashdot.firenzee.com)> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @02:27PM (#32905128) Homepage

    Also look at the Itanium processor line, it was too expensive so hobbyists couldn't afford them, and too new so they couldn't buy old ones...
    Availability of a platform to the masses increases user experience of it, and users like to run what they're familiar with and have used before.

  • Re:Sad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @02:32PM (#32905208)

    Well developed open projects however allow for greater mindshare leading to more people using their commercial offerings. Look at Red Hat, because RHL was well used on people's personal desktops, it made sense for them to push a company towards Red Hat's commercial products.

    Red Hat is still a magnitude of order smaller than Sun's software business was. However, there also are Mandriva, SUSE, and so on, most of which at best break even, have been taken over, etc. pp.
    No, Red Hat is not successful because they are open, have a community, or whatever. All those commercially unsuccessful Linux distributions have that, too.
    Red Hat is successful because they are by far the biggest player in the Linux market. Self-concentration of the market on the biggest player, regardless of quality. See also under Microsoft.

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Hopper (59070) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @02:36PM (#32905268) Homepage Journal

    It's not that it wasn't up to the job, it's that the features weren't/aren't backported to Solaris (10) yet.

    Right you are. I stand corrected. My main experience with the 7000-series storage devices comes from some training classes, followed by hands-on recently as we've received a few of the devices with many, many more back-ordered due to the global solid-state disk shortage.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Root file systems on ZFS were originally OpenSolaris-only, but are now possible in recent updates of Solaris 10.

    Yep. Happy day! I'm running Solaris that way right now (though typing this from my Ubuntu Linux box).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @02:46PM (#32905412)

    The best and brightest have been leaving in droves.

    Does that include Solaris Kernel Engineering folks? If so that is a very interesting situation. My reading was that the kernel folks never wanted to Open Source Solaris - at least not GPL it and so may be they are happy with the axe falling on OpenSolaris and they might just be staying. But it is hard to believe hard core Sun talent adjusting with the realities at Oracle. (Sun was Engineering dominated - as you pointed out, Oracle is all about $$$.)

    If the kernel folks are leaving it's huge loss for Oracle if they intend to keep Solaris alive and kicking - it could be Linux's gain if those people made the next logical career choice. Any rate worth keeping an eye on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @03:16PM (#32905794)

    Dear Colleague,

    It all boils down to two words [wikipedia.org].

    Regards,

    ex-MySQL/ex-Sun/now-Oracle.

  • Re:Great! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @03:44PM (#32906146)

    Another Sun/Oracle internal person here....

    Yea, but will they listen and accept the seasoned incoming ex-Sun folks? I have a great libthreads mutex bug, I can get two or more threads in a protected block of code pretty consistently, and have sprinkled assert()'s all over to assure it's the library and not our code. Nope... Linux maintainer doesn't care. I'm not in the "inner circle" and can't make much trouble for him.

    If the Linux people want the ex-Sun devs, they need to embrace them as peers, not vanquished competitors.

  • by belthize (990217) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @08:35PM (#32908824)

    I was at the LUG 2010 (Lustre Users group) and there was a very similar sense of disquiet where Lustre is concerned. The corporate line seemed to be: You'll be able to download Lustre for free but if you want any kind of support you'll have to install Lustre on a box from one of our preferred vendors running our Linux variant.

    Granted it's not clear exactly what 'any kind of support' means. As it stands now the mailing list is very active and it doesn't really matter what your support status is. If that stays the same then wonderful. If the Lustre devs at Oracle are instructed to stop interacting with all but paying customers it's a real problem.

  • Re:Sad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:20AM (#32911748)

    Actually, the software on the Storage 7000 platform is a horrible mess in my experience. We were persuaded by Sun reps about 1,5 years ago to buy 7410's and since we're historically a heavy Sun shop and the price difference between similar platforms was downright huge, we bought it, about 8 of them. Since then we've had nothing but trouble with them in all areas of the platform, from memory leaks in firmware that kills the service processor and takes the entire OS with it (still no fix) to critical NFS, CIFS, ACL, replication and backup bugs. We had to abandon the platform for virtualization use and it's barely making production as a simple file storage. Sun's support on the platform is non-existant, as we are constantly bug-testing their new releases. For each new bug we find, we're promised a fix in the next release, which might be months away. With no exception, all new major releases has introduced new critical bugs to us. Needless to say, had we gone with the much more expensive competitor to begin with, we would have spent less money than we have now. We should have backed out early, but we really wanted to believe that they could stand up to the competition, and now it's too late.

    I truly hope your experience will be better.

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