Sunday, March 18, 2007

Candidate Response to DTrace Community questions

Hi Bryan et. al.. As an OGB candidate I'd like to answer your questions.
I have been heavily involved "in the field" with promoting and using
Solaris for many years. I am becoming more involved with OpenSolaris and
the OpenSolaris community because I think that I can make a difference
and complement the contributions of others.

Bryan Cantrill wrote:
> OGB Candidates,
> We in the DTrace Community have a couple of specific questions and
> concerns that will affect how our Core Contributors vote in the upcoming
> OGB elections. To see where you stand on the issues that are important
> to us, we would like you to answer the following questions before
> campaigning ends on Sunday night. Please cc:
> on your answers, and thanks in advance for helping us make an informed
> decision!
> - Bryan
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Bryan Cantrill, Solaris Kernel Development.
> Licensing Questions:
> - DTrace is one of only a small handful of OpenSolaris technologies that
> has actually been incorporated into other operating systems. Thus,
> your position on dual-licensing is very important to us; what is your
> position on dual-licensing in general?
I think the key point is to make great technology like DTrace and ZFS
available widely. That means helping and facilitating, legally and
technically, others to implement. The intent is to share and we should
use the licensing mechanism that maximize sharing. I would want to see
DTrace as popular across O/S environments as NFS.

> - Do you agree with the conclusions and decrees of CAB/OGB Position
> Paper # 20070207?
Yes. The community has to do a better jobs of communicating why people
should care one way or another. We want to attract as many people as
possible to OpenSolaris but we don't have to win them all.
> - The OGB is responsible for the representation of OpenSolaris to
> third parties. If a third party were to inquire about incorporating
> DTrace into a GPL'd Program, what would be your response or position?
I'd say "great"! The more people use components of OpenSolaris
elsewhere, the easier it will be for them to adopt OpenSolaris later.

> Constitutional Questions:
> - DTrace is currently a Community Group, but some could argue that it would
> make more sense for DTrace to be a Project in (say) the Observability
> Community Group. In your mind, what is (or should be) the difference
> between a Community Group and a Project -- and where should DTrace fall?
No strong opinion here. If I had to choose, I would say stay as a CG.

> - The Draft Constitution says next-to-nothing about where the authority
> lies to make or accept changes to OpenSolaris -- only that Projects
> operate at the behest of Community Groups, and that Community Groups
> can be "terminated" by the OGB. In your opinion, where does or should
> this authority lie? And do you believe that the Constitution should
> or should not make this explicit? Finally, under what grounds do you
> believe that a Community Group should be "terminated"?
CGs should have a clear scope and be self managed within that scope.

I suspect that inactivity would be the main grounds to terminate a CG.
> - The Draft Constitution says that Community Groups (and in particular,
> the Community Groups' Facilitators) are responsible for "communicating
> the Community Group's status to the OGB"; what does this mean to you?
Maintained project pages and mailing list postings
> - According to the Draft Constitution, "nominations to the office of
> Facilitator shall be made by the Core Contributors of the Community
> Group, but the OGB shall not be limited in their appointment to those
> nominated." Under what conditions do you believe that the selection of
> a Facilitator would or could fall outside of the nominations made by
> a Community Group's Core Contributors?
Only under very unusual conditions. Sounds like the language has been
included to provide flexibility for unimagined cases.
Sounds like there could be ugly situations where a person with the right
political connections could be forced on a CG over their proffered
candidate. I hope that we can elect 7 reasonable people who operate
transparently and fairly.
> - According to the Draft Constitution, "non-public discussion related to
> the Community Group, such as in-person meetings or private communication,
> shall not be considered part of the Community Group activities unless or
> until a record of such discussion is made available via the normal meeting
> mechanism." In your opinion, in the context of a Community Group like
> DTrace -- where a majority of the Core Contributors spend eight to ten
> hours together every work day -- what does this mean? Specifically, what
> does it mean to be (or not to be) "considered part of the Community
> Group activities"? And in your opinion, what role does the OGB have in
> auditing a Community Group's activities?
As long as someone in the CG records the conclusions of those off-line
discussions, then there will be a record and it will be clear that the
CG is alive and well and making progress. The OGB's interest in auditing
should be minimal - along the lines of validating that the CG is still
> Potpourri:
> - Historically, binary compatibility has been very important to Solaris,
> having been viewed as a constraint on the evolution of technology.
> However, some believe that OpenSolaris should not have such constraints,
> and should be free to disregard binary compatibility. What is your
> opinion?
Breaking binary compatibility is a big deal is the commercial
Solaris/SPARC world. I don't see why it would not be just as big a deal
for OpenSolaris. There would have to be a very compelling reason to
break it.

If you introduce a change that broke binary compatibility, you should
also provide a compatibility mode - like the technology that allows old
SunOS 4.x apps to run on Solaris.

On the other hand, I like the idea of challenging scares cows!

> - If a third-party were to use and modify DTrace in a non-CDDL'd system,
> whose responsibility is it to assure that those modifications are
> made public? To put it bluntly: is enforcing the CDDL an OGB issue?
I guess we would need a legal opinion on that ...
> - Do you have an opinion on the patentability of software? In particular,
> what is the role of the OGB -- if any -- if Sun were to initiate legal
> proceedings to protect a part of its software patent portfolio that
> is represented in OpenSolaris?
I'm not a big fan of the patentability of software and I would hope that
the OGB would lobby Sun to not patent software
> - When you give public presentations, do you run OpenSolaris on your laptop?
> Have you ever given a public demonstration of OpenSolaris technology?
dual boot and parallels
I have used OpenOffice for all my presentation for a fews years - on
Solaris, on XP and on Mac OS X.
The PDF versions of "System News" are produced on a Solaris 10 machine
with FrameMaker!
> - And an extra credit question: Have you ever used DTrace? When did you
> most recently use it, and why? The answers "just now" and "to answer
> this question" will be awarded no points. ;)
Only trivially. Enough to appreciate its value and that it's a tool for
specialists. I did read a detail use case - Paul van den Bogaard's paper
"DTrace by Example: Solving a Real-World Problem" - and had it included
in "System News" to help people to position DTrace

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