[OpenIndiana-discuss] "OpenIndiana lead Alasdair Lumsden resigns"

Robin Axelsson gu99roax at student.chalmers.se
Sat Sep 1 12:27:24 UTC 2012

While I don't have a clue about what userbase OpenIndiana has and how 
widespread it is, there are some things I see that don't look good for OI.

First of all I find it to be poorly marketed. The website is updated 
almost never and it looks like nothing is happening, there are no 
roadmaps, the documentation on the site is improving but still has some 
considerable lacks. A website that looks poorly maintained with empty 
menus doesn't look good at all. The website should put a much greater 
effort at marketing itself and show what OI/Illumos can really do. We're 
talking about statements such as "ZFS is leading technology ..." and 
rich illustrations so that even less versed people will understand it. 
The design of a website also communicate the quality of the product. It 
may sound a little vainglorious to some people but that's how it works 
in real life.

Secondly I find it incredibly hard to start developing things on the 
operating system. If I for example want to get started with contributing 
by porting a Linux graphics driver to OI/Illumos, where do I begin? How 
do I get the compilers to work with me without errors and how do I 
troubleshoot them? Or in short ..... where is the *documentation* for 
it? I think there should be an open door that lets new people in and 
makes it easier to get started developing for OI/Illumos. Right now it 
looks like a closed community with a very high barrier of entry for 
those outside that are willing to develop for OI/Illumos. If this 
problem gets fixed then maybe userland applications that are necessary 
for a desktop OS will eventually find their way into the OS for those 
people who want to use it as a desktop OS.

I'm fully aware of the power of the command line and it is the command 
line that really makes me like Unix based OSes (including Linux). But 
making OI look well-polished with a fancy and easy to administer 
web-admin GUI that would encourage the average-Joe to use it as a 
home-NAS / virtual server is not a bad thing. That way OI would reach a 
higher penetration with a larger user-base and most importantly; it will 
get _free advertising_. To some extent the old adage "A good product 
markets itself" has some truth in it. But it must not only be good, it 
has to /look/ good so that even a less versed person will understand how 
good it is.

Another weak point of the OS is hardware support. While I understand 
that it might be a tremendously daunting undertaking to maintain 
hardware support for everything there is out there, on can strategically 
focus on key hardware components. My personal pet peeve with OI is the 
poor support for my AMD/ATI GPU, otherwise I think I think it is a good 
thing that there is a focus on HBA and NIC hardware, i.e. hardware that 
is essential for it to function as a file/webserver as was stated in a 
prior post. But the most important thing is that it is well documented 
so that a user who wants to start using OI will know *beforehand* what 
hardware to use.

On 2012-09-01 12:06, Open Indiana wrote:
> Although Openindiana is opensource it doesn't mean it doesn't need any
> steering or control.
> My main concern is who will take up the flag and carry it?
> The people who think OpenIndiana is a dead end have IMHO no idea what it is.
> They apparently expect an OS with a GUI that lets them control anything and
> they forget that on all OS's one has to leave the GUI at one point as soon
> as there is a need that goes deeper than starting a writer-application.
> Even Windows2008 still has a scripting and commandline facility.
> Someone or some people have to take control on a roadmap and set a course.
> Where do we want to go and what will we build?
> If hosting ever starts to be a problem I will jump in.
> But... with the recession on its way all over the world, people have to work
> harder and have not as much spare time as they used to have. When someone
> needs to choose between his work or an OpenSource hobby the choose is easy.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob Friesenhahn [mailto:bfriesen at simple.dallas.tx.us]
> Sent: vrijdag 31 augustus 2012 21:00
> To: Discussion list for OpenIndiana
> Subject: Re: [OpenIndiana-discuss] "OpenIndiana lead Alasdair Lumsden
> resigns"
>> People come and go, that's just a fact of life. The important thing
>> for OpenIndiana now is to get over it, select a new project lead and
>> rock on. We are all just as saddened as you are to see Alasdair leave,
>> but I would hope OpenIndiana was never just a single-person job.
> The main risk at the moment is that OpenIndiana is hosted on Alasdair's
> servers and openindiana.org is owned by EveryCity Ltd (i.e.
> Alasdair's company).  The servers and domain are still running but there is
> no telling about the future.
> Bob
> --
> Bob Friesenhahn
> bfriesen at simple.dallas.tx.us, http://www.simplesystems.org/users/bfriesen/
> GraphicsMagick Maintainer,    http://www.GraphicsMagick.org/
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