Alan Hargreaves' Blog

The ramblings of a former Australian SaND TSC* Principal Field Technologist

Serverwatch on the Dtrace Release

Amy Newman and Michael Hall discuss the release of Dtrace at serverwatch.

First up I would take issue with the implication that the leaks came from within Sun. If you had seen the activity in the light of the information that came out early, it would be difficult to argue that Sun masterminded the leak. I believe that there were early briefings held so that journalists could have articles prepared for the announcement time, but those articles were originally supposed to be held then. Of course once the cat was out of the bag, all bets were off and I believe that the restraint was lifted.

Sun met our lowered expectations on Tuesday, revealing not the source to Solaris, but a new Web site and the source for a single application: The admirable DTrace.

Please note the choice of code to release. This is one of the big components of Solaris 10. We released this in contrast to releasing something trivial.

We downloaded a copy of DTrace’s source before making our way to the brand new Solaris Forums and learning there’s no way to even build the software. It’s simply there because, well, it’s source code and Sun wanted us to have it.

I’ve addressed part of the reasoning already, but it should also be noted that the very first reply in this thread was from Bryan Cantrill offerring to help the questioner get a build running.

But for as much as Sun hopes a community will form around OpenSolaris, and for as much as it hopes OpenSolaris will build buzz, attract the curious, and perhaps even begin to inspire loyalty among a new user base, the company also understands that none of this will happen overnight.

One of the implications being that there currently is not a Solaris Community. Haven’t we been here before here, here and here (and quite a few other places as well). The point is that there currently exists a Solaris community that has been working with Solaris for years and is now closely involved with the Open Sourcing process.

The buzz is certainly there now. For the rest, yes, time will tell.

The real test of the company’s commitment will come over time, as it accretes that developer community (if it does) and interacts with people besides its own employees. And the real test of whether Sun’s open source gambit has paid off will come over years, not months.

Yes, this is true; but also remember we are not starting from scratch here and the process progressing. The day of the opening of Dtrace also saw the folks on the pilot given buildable source. Two articles (1,2) show Ben Rockwood’s builds of Open Solaris from within the pilot. Ben’s also posted a screenshot of his running system.

The number of folks signing up to be notified on the actual release date has been huge, as have the number of downloads of the Dtrace code.

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Written by Alan

January 28, 2005 at 12:59 am

2 Responses

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  1. DTrace source code is certainly non-trivial, but it’s also non-buildable and non-usable. Perhaps a userland component like libumem or SMF would have been a better choice (although less sexy).

    Wes Felter

    January 28, 2005 at 9:25 am

  2. Hmmmm, interesting thought. I’ll ask some folks about the idea.

    Alan Hargreaves

    January 30, 2005 at 4:53 pm

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