[oi-dev] [developer] Remnants... (was:Re: Resignation as OI Lead)

Garrett D'Amore garrett at damore.org
Wed Aug 29 20:08:00 UTC 2012

Very briefly, I think there has been significant innovation occurring in the stack -- the biggest and most obvious we all know about:

* ZFS - lots and lots of goodness here, and the set of contributors is quickly expanding.
* DTrace - again, lots of enhancements here.
* KVM - while not integrated into -gate yet, Joyent's work here is outstanding, and became a core part of the base for quite a few of the distros

Additionally, other development projects that have delivered or working on delivering value:

* Martin is working on a full X bring up on SPARC.  No mean feat.

* Joyent has ported like ~gazillion packages to illumos kernel (via pkgin)

* mdb (our excellent kernel debugging stack) got a recent set of significant improvements  (through the illumos hackathon.)

* Nexenta continues to plug away at porting and updating software for illumian, which in theory should be shareable with OI and OmniOS.  (The idea behind illumian was to facilitate collaboration between Nexenta and OI engineers -- to eliminate the debates/barrier caused by different package manages.  Sorry that in retrospect it hasn't worked out so well.)

* As far as I know, illumos has the *only* open source functional localedef.  (Ok, there is a crappy Perl wrapper that implements a minimalist version of the POSIX spec on top of Darwin, but its so unusable for real work that it hardly warrants mention.)

* As far as I know, illumos has one of the most performant strcoll() implementations *anywhere* (much faster than either Solaris' or *BSDs; I've not compared Linux, but admittedly its GPL and not usable in our CDDL libc.)

* We continue to collaborate with BSDs.  The work to integrate mdocml, for example, is an effort intended to modernize our documentation tools and increase opportunities for sharing with the BSD community.

* EMULEX has contributed a reasonably complete set of their drivers to illumos.

* Areca contributed their source code for some of their HBAs to illumos.

* LSI contributes indirectly through commercial partners @ Nexenta and Joyent

* Intel collaborates pretty extensively -- albeit indirectly through commercial concerns such as Joyent.

* There is an ongoing effort to modernize our WiFi stack and add full WPA. 

* There is an ongoing effort to update our boot loader to support EFI BIOS and other features.  (Largely through adoption of GRUBv2.)

These are just some of the areas of innovation and contribution that I'm aware of and can publicly discuss.  (There are some that can't be discussed yet, but will become public later.)

Of course, some areas of our code base are still under-maintained.  And some areas devolve into bike shedding.  (Anything with userland -- grep -r being a good example -- seems to invite constant and often fruitless debate.)  This is part of being a *community* run OS.

But, when I think back to where we were just over 2 years ago when I founded the project, I am *amazed* at the *huge* growth of this project, and the amount of investment and energy going into it.  I'd even go so far as to say that the whole thing has been nothing short of a wild success.

Can we do more?  Of course!  But let's not forget where we came from.  Only 2 years ago, the future of Solaris technology in the community (OpenSolaris) was effectively *dead*, with no viable follow-on platforms and zero commercial partners.  Today we have a thriving ecosystem filled with people doing interesting things.  Many of which even I don't know about.  (It seems almost every day that I hear about someone else using illumos or illumos-derived tech in a way or application that I didn't know about.)

If you can't see the bright future ahead, then I venture to say that either your eyes are closed, or you're looking somewhere else (behind or to the side) instead of forward.

So, to all of you who've helped make this all possible, *thank you*.  And to those of you who continue to do so, *kudos*.  I look forward to working with you in the future to continue innovating and improving upon this amazing and wonderful technology base.

	- Garrett

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