September 8, 2003
Voice to the Developer
Art Gould explained what his department does for developers. They produce content for the developer website, and they have previously focused on Linux, but have now extended that activity to Solaris x86. Alan suggested that we might be able to engage Art's area with our future workgroups.
Briefly discussed there would be a lot more coverage of Solaris x86. Chris mentioned that he is doing several BOFs and/or panels. Chris suggested not to be disappointed if Solaris x86 doesn't take the spotlight, since the focus is to bring Solaris SPARC and x86 in parity and that many other new products would be announced at the event. Alan also mentioned he was doing a porting BOF.
Question on how Solaris and Linux are sold with x86 servers. Chris explained the scenarios, and mentioned that Oct. 1st, things are going to change. Chris didn't have details on how the product offer would change. The current introductory offer of a bundled Solaris x86 license for V60/V65s ends on Sept. 30th. It is hard to measure the ratio of Solaris/Linux deployments in the field as customers can easily reprovision rackmount systems with a new OS+application load. New sales are a mix of naked systems, Solaris x86 configurations and Linux, either RedHat from Sun, or the customers choice of distro.
Bruce had some questions and/or comments about patch levels with systems. Alan pointed out that Sun typically likes to have the systems certified with an official release, one without patches applied to it. Chris pointed out that Sun decides what gets put on the Tier 1 and that we need to make certain that we can support it globally when we do. Dennis mentioned he's trying to get some machines certified. Alan offered to help Dennis if he runs into problems. Eric mentioned a big company in Chicago was also interested in certifying systems. In general there seems to be quite a bit of interest in the HCL/HCTS.
Question from John Groenveld on why GNOME libs moved frorm /usr/gnome to /usr/bin, but the real root of his question was unknown. Eric is going to find out which community GNOME forums the Sun GNOME engineers participate in.
Porting to Solaris x86
John Groenveld submitted a question as to direction of helping folks port to Solaris x86. Sun is doing that, so it's not clear just exactly what he would like to see. Eric suggested that the lincat tools are going to be coming back, to help people with porting efforts from Linux. John Weekley asked about how a small shop would redistribute a Solaris x86 system to it's customers, to help them port to Solaris. Chris stated that the redistribution mechanism for small resellers needs attention so that it can be properly managed under existing channel programs.
The existing web content describing licensing requirements and the provisions of the Free Binary License Program cause confusion; Solaris marketing is committed to overhauling this to ensure that the commercial worth of the Solaris OS is recognised, but also that those entitled to free licenses e.g. educational users find it easy to navigate the websites.
LISA BOF is currently scheduled and Eric will try and get those funds secured so he has a definite answer. Nobody is clear on why Sascha hasn't updated the community on his BOF at USENIX in Texas. Eric said the slides he did looked good and wasn't sure why they weren't shared with the community. Alan said, since Sun did fund it, it would have been nice for the community to get an update.
Restructuring & Workgroups
Rich Teer suggested a lower-end consumer/advocate. Eric reccomended to seperate into 2 different categories, one for Solaris generic (SPARC and x86) and one for Solaris x86 (device drivers as an example). It was agreed that we might need to restructure things and get some new life to interface and work on issues for the community. Alan suggested that we consider the folks on the conference call to be a part of the reps, although it was previously claimed the original (gasp) "Secret Six" had laid down a foundation, it was not only them in the effort anymore. It's been difficult to move forward and engage the community, and finding folks that want to help in that will be key.
Solaris x86 Ports
It was mentioned that the issue of StarOffice availability is receiving attention and ISV recruitment for browser plugins is achieving some success, e.g.in targeting Acrobat. The folks from 4Front Technology have certified their sound with the current Solaris 9 x86. Alan offered to supply Firebird and Thunderbird builds, and that OpenOffice should have our build on it soon.
Community Bug Reporting
Not ready just yet, but in the works. Eric is moving forward and will have something working soon. Everything will be handled with email and will be submitted into the Sun system. There will be a limited number of people that can submit the bug and the reps will be the first ones to be allowed for that, so bugs will funnel through them. This should be ready next month from the sounds of how Eric described it.
High Performance Technical Computing
Eric mentioned that after the initial push into the market with Linux compute clusters, things are moving forward in this area for potential Solaris x86 solutions.
We're on target to meet Graham Lovell's commitment last year for simultaneous release of the Orion stack on both SPARC and x86 by the end of the year.
Linux Binary Compatibility
Eric mentioned that binary compatibility is important to Sun and that work is under way to enhance Linux compatibility for the future.
Alan encouraged everyone on the call to join the Solaris Express program. For those unfamiliar with the program, Alan explained that Solaris Express would provide early access to new OS features in advance of the next release.