I had a very pleasant chat today with Laura Ramsey, who calls herself "vice president of fun" over at Sun (the official title is OpenSolaris Community Marketing Manager). The picture at right comes from another Sun executive-blogger.
It's time to call Sun's "open source experiment" a success, she said. "The revival of the Solaris development community is tremendous and it’s all because of the open source project," she said.
Some numbers? How about 11,000 registered users of OpenSolaris, 27 user groups worldwide, and 30 active projects?
More important, how about some exciting new stuff?
Things like Polaris, a port of Solaris to the PowerPC. "This port really is appealing for embedded developers," Ramsey said. "Open Solaris being free and unemcumbered really does give embedded developers a lot of market opportunity."
Or what about Nexenta, a GNU license OS built on the OpenSolaris kernel and runtime. Nexenta represents unprecedented cooperation with Debian folks. "Who would have thought 13 months ago we’d ever coordinate with the Debian community to get out a distribution based on our kernel?" Ramsey asked.
Then there was something that started with a chance meeting at last year's Oscom, a port of OpenSolaris' Dynamic Tracing Tool (DTrace) to FreeBSD. "Now there’s a lot of FreeBSD systems and installations out there who see our features. Some might switch. And more developers have an open mind to look at Solaris 10, where before it was considered a closed development model. Now they’ll look. And we’re seeing that happening.
"A lot of things change when you open source stuff," Ramsey added. "The thing about open sourcing software is it causes a huge change internally. Not just for the top managers, but all the way down. We no longer have a hostile faction of disbelievers. We have a lot of people who are committed and doing things like sitting down with folks like Debian and Ubuntu and even FreeBSD."
Ramsey calls this success. It may not yet be showing up on Wall Street's radar, but making Sun a full participant in the open source community has already paid dividends. And for Ramsey, the fun has just begun.