14 Aug 2007 thom   » (Master)

Ian Murdock and Sun

This is what I just wrote on Mark’s blog about Ian’s move to Sun:

“To some extent I’m quite excited by what this might mean for OpenSolaris going forward, but Nexenta have been pushing the OS/Debian (or Ubuntu, more accurately) integration kick for some while without actually seeming to get any (public) traction within Sun…
I’ve also been disappointed by how little Ian seems to be in touch with how linux development works these days, but that’s mostly from what he’s been writing in public, rather than any particularly interaction with him, so hopefully that’s not a fair summary.
I really hope that Sun can actually make this work.”

I thought I’d expand on this a bit, especially in light of my past moaning about Solaris and the installer and package management in the installer specifically.
What I really, really want, is a modern OS, which has an easily extensible and controllable installer, with good visibility and debugging infrastructure, which is very easy to manage on a grand scale - by which I mean hundreds or thousands of machines up to date, secure and consistent. At present, Ubuntu comes closest:

  • d-i is a superb installer that is very easy to drive in an automated fashion – far easier than either kickstart or jumpstart in my opinion, even though both have been around far longer!
  • People say apt-get, but that rather misses the point – or rather, it’s the icing on the cake. As most Debian or Ubuntu developers will tell you, the real strength of packages on the platform is in the underlying metadata, and the well maintained and enforced packaging Policy.
  • Every packager is a specialist – more or less, if you’re packaging something in Ubuntu or Debian it’s because you use it, either professionally or personally, and have an interest in, and knowledge of, making it work as well as possible.
  • The FHS – until my $PATH on Solaris is shorter than the next Harry Potter tome, Ubuntu has this won hands down.

However, there are some definite areas where Ubuntu or Debian (or Linux in general) struggle compared to Solaris – the sheer engineering resources that Sun can throw at a problem, and the talent they have available to them do result in fantastic results when they correctly identify a problem space. They also “own” Solaris – there’s no need for them to try and build awareness of a problem, and the correct solution, over a number of disparate communities.
ZFS and DTrace are the hackneyed and obvious projects here, but from a sysadmin perspective I think FMA, while far less sexy, is one of the best things Solaris10 has. And this is what I mean when I say operating system visibility.
The integration of Zones is also far better than Zen on Linux can offer currently, although both Red Hat and skx are working hard to fix this.
I’m really looking forward to the day when I get an OS that solves all these problems…

Syndicated 2007-03-19 18:53:00 (Updated 2007-03-19 20:04:17) from Haecceity

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