On Friday, the Zones team met with an important ISV, one which is already supporting
Solaris Zones. This ISV does a significant amount of what I’d call “deep” integration
with the system: kernel code, user code, etc.
They (engineers, directors, managers were all present) seemed surprised to learn that we had started an
OpenSolaris Zones Community
at which we were regularly posting design proposals for our newest Zones features.
We talked them through the following work:
- Zones Rename
- Zone Migration
- Configurable Privileges for Zones.
- Zones/ZFS Integration (which might be better termed More Zones/ZFS integration).
While the meeting was in its way productive, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why don’t they just hang out
(or point their feedreader at) zones-discuss AT opensolaris DOT org? Why isn’t this an ongoing discussion? At some point during
the meeting, the ISV requested that we add them to the
mailing list (progress!). We told them that they could subscribe themselves
just as easily. I wonder if they’ll dare to have a conversation with us in the open?
Anyway, I think this ISV was really surprised when we invited them to participate
in the conversation around new features, and help to define them. Honestly, I
don’t think they believed us.
So there you go– tens of millions (I guesstimate) of dollars spent to bring Solaris
into Open Source, and to create and maintain opensolaris.org, and some of our biggest ISVs aren’t
present. If you were a customer of said ISV, wouldn’t that upset you?.
Please demand that your ISVs join the OpenSolaris community!
I think the surprise we were met with just further highlights that most
traditional software vendors just “don’t get” what they can gain from
participation in open communities. Here’s a chance to closely track emerging
OS features and to influence them. Here’s a place to rapidly raise
and resolve issues with the people who can most efficiently address them.
Here’s a place where they can even contribute their own design proposals
and code. That is to say, this is a way to save money and deliver
features, performance and integration to the customer.
This also points up a failing in Sun’s strategy– as a company we need to be more
engaged in bringing our partners to these communities. All too often, ISVs
relay to us “things Sun told them” that sound like something you’d get from
playing the telephone game.
And as an engineering team, we need to constantly work to make it easy for folks
to participate. To whit, we’ve added a new page to our opensolaris.org site:
Zones Project Documents,
which points to the design docs themselves, as well as providing status about each.
Like I said: We’ve invited you to our house. Please come on over!