[OpenIndiana-discuss] Solaris Express server name broadcast

Bayard Bell buffer.g.overflow at googlemail.com
Sun Mar 6 14:44:51 UTC 2011

With all due respect, I think this starts from a bad premise and arrives at bad conclusions.

The matter originally in question may be understood by a further analogy: it's a bit like jumping onto a list for C++ developers with a question about using an LDAP API in C. Sure, there might be people who know the answer on that list, possibly even a reasonable expectation that you might find that kind of overlap, but it's also asking people to be gracious to answer in that forum. If someone tells you that you'd be better off asking the question in a forum that's more problem-specific, that doesn't amount to there being a sign on the door saying that C developers and all others foreign to the C++ tribe aren't welcome. On the other hand, suggesting that you've got doubts about these people as C++ developers because they won't answer your question in that forum seems needlessly controversial, possibly though not necessarily a bit cheap.

These are reasonable norms of netiquette: people who wear many hats may direct you to ask a question in a different forum and then be the person who answers that question when the redirect is made by the original poster. That's not rude or unhelpful: the person asking the question for the first time may face some latency and be a bit confused by standing on formalities, but the question may already be in the archive of the correct forum or will be more readily found there subsequently. I find Google queries get me a lot further when I not only know the search terms but know where to search via "site:" specification. It may be a little anal to point out these pragmatics, but it's not hostile, kicking someone off or calling them names, as I'd hope you'd concede after suggesting otherwise.

Now, you raise Alan's contributions here, and they shouldn't go unacknowledged or fail to receive due credit. They also shouldn't be taken for something they aren't, which doesn't bear comparison here on the terms you suggest. Alan isn't answering "how do I use OpenIndiana" questions based on his understanding of continuing Solaris development at Oracle, he's giving people an understanding of how certain things came to pass in Solaris and outlining how changes relevant above all to X, packaging, and release management are happening in Solaris 11 post-fork, all of which is important and useful (and more concisely described by him as "color commentary"). I expect that if Alan spent a considerable amount of time on the OpenIndiana list answering end-user questions, his employers might have a problem with that and tell him he either needs to focus on his current job or find a new one more willing to support his evident interest in OpenIndiana. Let me hasten to say that example is valid in a context beyond Alan as a paid employee of a software-producing corporation: there is a general question of focus, commitment, and reliability here that is no less fundamental than the notion of "helping". It may be true that FOSS projects have their roots in helping people, but it has been my experience that these communities work because they rarely stray from their lanes to provide help under more abstract imperatives rather than weighing them as pragmatic considerations and communicating them as such.

I might put this another way: would it be considered sustainable for OpenIndiana to tell prospective users to go ahead and adopt Solaris 11 Express while the kinks in OpenIndiana are worked out, with the expectation that they will be supported by the OpenIndiana community and given a cross-grade path across the fork? I think that's a bad premise leading to unsustainable commitments (for that matter, I wouldn't encourage anyone to deploy Solaris 11 Express without buying a support package to get patches), so I would argue it's better to be clear about not offering such support than to try to satisfy the expectations from making even an implicit commitment to that effect. What we're arguing isn't to help or not to help, it's what level of help is reasonable to expect and communicate as reasonable.

I'm not saying that mine are the only possible or valid conclusions, but it seems to me deeply misconceived to take conclusions based on these pragmatics for hostile or unhelpful without giving them due consideration or even acknowledgement. We can disagree about what conclusions to draw, but it seems that the remarks you've offered don't engage these essentials.

On 6 Mar 2011, at 09:10, Dmitry G. Kozhinov wrote:

> Helping people != supporting competing product.
> I will *not* wonder getting support from FreeBSD or OpenBSD community.
> You *are* not wonder getting support from e.g. Alan Coopersmith - Sol 11 Express developer (AFAIK).
> Any FOSS initiative has it's roots in helping people.

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