[OpenIndiana-discuss] Our position within the Illumosphere

Alasdair Lumsden alasdairrr at gmail.com
Wed Aug 25 00:19:47 UTC 2010

Hi All,

We're facing one of our first big decisions as a project, and that's where we fit in with Illumos.

I had a 20 minute call with Garrett at the weekend, and he stated that he would like OpenIndiana to consider becoming an Illumos sub-project.

He was proposing one of us join the Illumos Admin council and one of us join their developer council. Garrett had nominated myself for the Admin council should I accept (which I haven't done yet), and was asking for me to nominate one of us to the developer council.

He also was hoping we'd consider renaming to something Illumos-ey, to become the official Illumos reference distribution. He also hopes we'll use the Illumos bug tracker so bugs can be easily swapped from onnv to the distro and vice versa, and probably hopes we'd use their Redmine CMS for our homepage/wiki/etc.

Now, having discussed this with a few on IRC, my thoughts are that:

1. If Illumos has an official distribution, then that's just maintaining the same status-quo that we had with Sun. I believe Illumos should remain distribution neutral, favouring no single distribution. I don't think they should make the same mistake Sun did.

If Illumos has an official distribution it shows favouritism which may dissuade other distributions from forming or created negative feelings.

If Illumos remains distribution-neutral it also avoids confusion.

To quote the leaked memo:

"As you all know, the term “OpenSolaris” has been used colloquially to
refer to any or all of a collection of source code, a development
model, a web site, a logo, a binary release, a source license, a
community, and many other related things. "

We don't want to repeat this. 

OpenIndiana is a distribution.

Illumos is a kernel and core userland tools.

2. Regarding the name, my personal feeling is that I'm fond of OpenIndiana and don't feel a need for change. It is somewhat hard to type, but there's "oi" for shorthand which is half the length of "osol" ;)

I'm not a fan of the name Illumos - I feel OpenIndiana sounds more palatable to pointy haired bosses when you say "I'd like to replace our OpenSolaris server with OpenIndiana" compared to "I'd like to replace our OpenSolaris server with Illumos". Branding is (sadly) important.

One of the things I'm keen to do before we announce is fund a designer to come up with a range of possibilities for designs/logos/identities for the project which we can vote on. I'm happy to sponsor this. Going with Illumos might stifle things like this a bit as Illumos also has its own branding.

I'm open to renaming the project - just say. The pros are that we have the domains for OpenIndiana, it's not trademarked, nor do Oracle/Sun have any trademarks on "Indiana" as a name - it was only ever a project codename. The cons are that Indiana was used by Sun/Oracle and they could bark at us even without any legal grounds for doing so.

Some of Garrett's suggestions for potential name changes include Solumos and Siralos (Solaris backwards).

3. Project infrastructure wise, I like our wiki far more than Redmine (the illumos one). Using their bug tracker could be nice, but it isn't necessary. We can have our own website developed. We already have mailing lists.

4. I do feel Illumos has a considerable talent pool and now that Oracle have closed the onnv gate, Illumos is more important than ever. So collaboration and working together is essential. How we do this effectively is open to discussion.

So what I was thinking of proposing was:

OpenIndiana becomes a sub project of Illumos, but only if any other distribution can do the same. This is to benefit from the Illumos foundation non-profit entity (saves us doing it ourselves). It shows the two projects are collaborating closely and are tied together.

We maintain our independence however in most other regards - separate governance council for ourselves, do not adopt an Illumos-ey name, keep our own infrastructure, own website, own logo, etc. Potentially share a bug tracker.

I would not like to be unilaterally appointed to the Illumos admin council just because I took the initiative to start this distro. That's not community - that's not democracy or openness. I would however like to represent our interests within Illumos as we depend upon them and we should be exerting influence over their decisions.

To that end I think it might be an idea for us to suggest they set up a "Distribution Council". Community distributions could appoint members to this council to represent their interests within Illumos.

Those are my thoughts thus far, and I'm opening the floor to debate. Get stuck in!



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