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Posts Tagged ‘kernel’

OpenSolaris: abandoned software?

July 21, 2010 Leave a comment

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OpenSolarisSome months ago I wrote about the uncertain future of opensolaris. OpenSolaris is the open-source distribution of the Unix-based Solaris operating system Oracle acquired through its purchase of Sun Microsystems. We all have been waiting a long time for a new version of OpenSolaris. The latest release was due to arrive back in February and in June we also saw an update from Oracle, stating that:

  • Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the OpenSolaris community
  • Oracle is investing more in Solaris than Sun did prior to the acquisition, and will continue to contribute innovative technologies to OpenSolaris, as Oracle already does for many other open source projects
  • On the “Solaris Near Term Roadmap”, they say Solaris 10 Update 9 will come some time in 2010 focusing on platform support and Oracle product integrations.

But despite all communications, we don’t seem to be any closer to an official release. The OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) is tired of waiting. The OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) is an independent body that was created on February 2006 to direct the community-based OpenSolaris software. Board members have been upset with the lack of communication from Oracle over the timing of future releases, among other matters.

This time, the OGB is giving Oracle one more chance to step up to the plate. If Oracle does not respond, the OGB will hand over control of the OpenSolaris project to Oracle, effectively washing their hands of the situation. Check the OGB meeting minutes here. The members of the OpenSolaris Governing Board are essentially delivering an ultimatum to the vendor, asking that it appoint a liaison to the group by no later than Aug. 16, or else the board will be disbanded. That executive should have the authority to talk about the future of OpenSolaris and its interaction with the OpenSolaris community. Otherwise the OGB will take action at the August 23 meeting to trigger the clause in the OGB charter that will return control of the community to Oracle.

Peter Tribble posts in his blog about this decision. A lot of frustration is expressed here, but I can fully understand his way of communication, especially about a company that has not handled their mergers in a clear manner, in particular  those portions that involved open sourced/community based products.

I have the impression, Oracle is not interested in OpenSolaris at all, and that they prefer to do nothing, so that the project turns absolutely boring and no one has any interest on it anymore. Just let it die…

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Linux 2.6.33, better graphics, dropped Android

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

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A new kernel release is out this week, with Nvidia and without Android. These changes aim to benefit both end-users and Linux developers.

The Linux 2.6.33 kernel is the first new kernel release of 2010, about three months after the previous one. Key to the new update are enhancements in graphics and storage capabilities.

“The most noticeable features in 2.6.33 are likely the Nouveau and DRBD integration (and a lot more people will notice the Nouveau part of that),” Linux creator Linus Torvalds wrote in a mailing list posting.

More people will notice Nouveau because it is a user-facing technology that is meant to improve Linux graphics. Nouveau is an open source graphics driver for Nvidia graphics cards built by open source developers — that is, Nvidia didn’t contribute the driver code, but rather, it was reverse engineered by the open source community.

The Nouveau drivers are not complete yet. For instance, 2D is supported while many 3D capabilities are not yet officially supported. The inclusion of Nouveau means that even more devices are now supported by the kernel.org releases.

While new graphics hardware is being supported in 2.6.33, the release is actually dropping support for Google’s Android: the drivers are no longer being maintained, and they are no longer in the mainline kernel tree. Without additional help from Google developers, Android code that’s heavily dependent on development in Google’s kernel tree can’t be merged with the mainline Linux kernel.

New storage, virtualization enhancements in this kernel release

The other new feature noted by Torvalds in 2.6.33 is Distributed Replicated Block Device (DRDB), which is intended to help serve as the basis for high-availability clusters and a network-based RAID approach. The release also includes improvements to the “perf” system for performance monitoring.

Such new in-kernel tracing tools make life much easier for kernel developers,
allowing for bugs to be fixed faster, and the kernel is tuned better for real workloads.

KVM virtualization also gets some attention in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. The majority of upstream KVM development is done by Red Hat for use in its enterprise products, but this kernel release has not been of too much interest to them.

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