Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jun 2007 10:29 UTC, submitted by binarycrusader
Oracle and SUN Simon Phipps of Sun has responded to the recent criticism of Sun's openness, pointing out that even releasing information that they may already have costs a lot of money. "Jonathan asked me to look into this, to ensure we're pursuing an open path across all of Sun, not simply the software group. We take all input seriously, and we can't solve all problems for all parties, but we're committed to doing our best to faithfully engage with all the communities we serve, in the same spirit as the existing Open Source Ombudsman Scheme. With the support of my team and others in the community I'll try to build a new scheme that is fair and transparent."
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RE: Yeah
by JeffS on Tue 19th Jun 2007 16:18 UTC in reply to "Yeah"
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

"Seems like a fair answer to me.

Now, move on."


I agree 1000%.

Recent criticisms from Theo and Linus of Sun were completely ridiculous. But, both of those individuals are well known to be extremely arrogant, with their heads so far up their rear-ends they need plexi-glass belly buttons to see where they're going.

Really, Sun has become one of the most open source friendly of all major corporations, and has made huge contributions and donations to the open source community.

And it's Sun's right, as well as any company's right, to release what they want to open source, or to publish or not publish documentation. And they have legal obligations with their business partners.

So if Theo wants to have his temper tantrum about getting all docs on all Sun chips, well, too bad. Sun will release what they can, within legal and cost limits.

And Linus can have his tizzy-fit over the fact Sun wants Linux drivers for OpenSolaris (who wouldn't), and he wants ZFS fully open sourced. But, again, Sun will release ZFS for open source when it makes sense for them.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Yeah
by kaiwai on Tue 19th Jun 2007 17:15 in reply to "RE: Yeah"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

And Linus can have his tizzy-fit over the fact Sun wants Linux drivers for OpenSolaris (who wouldn't), and he wants ZFS fully open sourced. But, again, Sun will release ZFS for open source when it makes sense for them.


But it would make no difference; the whole driver would need to be virtually re-written again from scratch due to incompatibilities. I mean, if anything, the best source for drivers is *BSD - and that is where they've been getting them from. Case in point, the 3945 wpi driver for solaris is based on OpenBSD/NetBSD/FreeBSD code.

What OpenSolaris needs is more mindshare, not more 'code' from other operating systems. The issues that related to this dilemma have nothing to do with licences but the relationship that Sun employee's have with the opensource community. Remember folks, there are around 32 thousand Sun employees - the head may say one thing but it would be naive to assume every one of the 32 thousand are lock step with 'the leader'.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Yeah
by patrickf on Tue 19th Jun 2007 17:39 in reply to "RE: Yeah"
patrickf Member since:
2007-06-19

Sun will release ZFS for open source when it makes sense for them.


ZFS was released open source into the OpenSolaris community before it was in Sun's Solaris. http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/

What Linus said was that it isn't available in a way in which it could be ported to Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Yeah
by flanque on Tue 19th Jun 2007 21:19 in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I don't know you could truly call it open if it's tied down by licensing. To me, it'll only be truly open when it's allowed to be freely ported and modified.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Yeah
by Soulbender on Wed 20th Jun 2007 04:21 in reply to "RE: Yeah"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"And it's Sun's right, as well as any company's right, to release what they want to open source, or to publish or not publish documentation"

It's also Theo's (and Linus etc) right as a customer of said company to ask them for documentation of the hardware they have so that they can make use of it.

"So if Theo wants to have his temper tantrum"

Having an opinion and calmly expressing it does not equal throwing a temper tantrum. Seriously, if you thought this was Theo having a tantrum you clearly haven't been around long.

I think it's interesting how some people just can't admit it when Theo's right , no matter what, and instead opt to root for the big companies who really don't give a fsck about OSS.
You think this is all about Theo and his ego but it's really about the usability of hardware for the users.
Open documentation results in better hardware support which in turn makes happier users. In the long run this is better for all OSS operating systems.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Yeah
by JeffS on Wed 20th Jun 2007 17:07 in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah"
JeffS Member since:
2005-07-12

"I think it's interesting how some people just can't admit it when Theo's right , no matter what, and instead opt to root for the big companies who really don't give a fsck about OSS."

But Theo is completely wrong. He's assuming that all the documentation is already there, and that Sun has complete legal clearance to release it to the public. As Simon Phipps clearly explained (and you might want to actually read his blog linked in the subject of this thread), there are other considerations. But since you evidently have not read what he had to say, here it is in summation:

1. The product in question may be past it's end-of-life date and there's actually no team anywhere in Sun that can answer the question.
2. The documentation may not exist. Writing it would require costly reverse engineering (even if people with the skills to do so are still at Sun).
3. It may exist for internal use, but releasing it outside Sun would need legal review to check for 'trade secrets' belonging to others. That legal review is time consuming and costs real money. And the answer may turn out to be "can't release, can't name the company that's obstructing us".
4. It may exist and it may be possible to release it. Doing that, though, is actually a non-zero cost since usually the documentation is in an old format of some kind.
5. It may actually exist in an online-ready form.

So, clearly, simply releasing requested documentation is more complicated than you or Theo obviously assume. Now, if Theo said he would pay for Sun's costs (whether that's legal, or reverse engineering, if need be), then he'd have more of a point.

Otherwise, I strongly believe Sun's intentions are reasonable. And, as I've said, Sun has increasingly become a major contributor and friend of open source, especially under Jonathan Schwartz's leadership.

So it seems ridiculous to me for open source leaders or advocates to turn around and slap Sun in the face for giving absolutely everything they want, right away. They just comes off as being obstinate little children. Meanwhile, in their responses in their blogs, both Jonathan Schwartz and Simon Phipps have come off as mature, professional, pleasant adults doing what they can to appease the ever fickle open source community.

And I'm not rooting for "the big corporations". On the contrary, I'm always extremely distrustful of all major corporations, and always favor the the little guy. That's why I never shop at WalMart and favor small Mom & Pop shops instead. That's one of the reasons I have a strong dislike for Microsoft. And I hate PG&E. And I think Larry Ellison is a snake. Need I go on? Clearly I'm not a corporate fanboy.

And Sun does "give a fsck about OSS". Under Schwartz, it has staked it's present and future on open source, systematically releasing most of it's software portfolio to open source, not the least of which was GPLing Java. What the hell else do you want from them?

I just believe in giving credit where credit is due. And Sun is earning major kudos from me. Just because they don't have all documentation immediately available for all of their chips doesn't mean they're not trying. Accusing them of "duplicity" is a low blow and uncalled for.

Just give them a friggin' break, for goodness sake. And grow up while you're at it.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Yeah
by Arun on Thu 21st Jun 2007 02:19 in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah"
Arun Member since:
2005-07-07

It's also Theo's (and Linus etc) right as a customer of said company to ask them for documentation of the hardware they have so that they can make use of it.

I seriously doubt they are Sun customers. Most customers would make an informed purchase and know what OS the hardware supports. Theo and Linus are makers of OS that compete with the OS that comes on said hardware. I seriously doubt Theo or Linus "use" the hardware in question.

"I think it's interesting how some people just can't admit it when Theo's right , no matter what, and instead opt to root for the big companies who really don't give a fsck about OSS. "

This is nonsense. Instead of getting the facts straight, some people just support whatever rubbish their OSS leaders spout.

Theo is wrong about OpenSolaris not supporting the PCI-E bridge.

Here is the email regarding OpenBSD and the V215/V245:

http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20070407155547

"I just committed the final bits that make the Sun Fire V215 and V245
fully supported in 4.1-current. These machines have a PCIe host
bridge, supported by the new pyro(4) driver. Writing this driver was
the biggest challange, since Sun doesn't provide any documentation for
it. So it took some extensive digging through the OpenSolaris code to
figure out how the hardware was supposed to work.
"

So Sun has open sourced the driver that makes the PCI-E host bridge work and the code is in OpenSolaris.

Infact here are the files.
http://cvs.opensolaris.org/source/search?n=25&start=50&path=px

OpenSolaris doesn't contain source for some of the other drivers for the system most probably because the manufacturers of those devices don't want Sun to open the code. As others have pointed out those are available as binary drivers.

http://www.sun.com/servers/entry/v445/arch-wp.pdf

According to this whitepaper all the other I/O devices are non Sun made, industry standard devices. So all of Sun's IP in that system has been opensourced and is in OpenSolaris. Fire is the host bridge in question and the OpenBSD Pyro driver now works with it.

Theo's entire rant seems to be a huge publicity stunt. Simon Phipps response seems more truthful than Theo's meaning less rant in the end.

Edited 2007-06-21 02:21

Reply Parent Score: 5