Linux cool, Solaris hot

By now you’ve probably read the stories that Sun are ‘cooling down’ their efforts on JDS/Linux. It’s unclear exactly what that means for future Linux releases yet, at least to us lowly engineers. But what does it mean for our involvement with the GNOME community?

If anything, I actually think it’ll increase our involvement. By focusing so hard on Linux for the past couple of years, we’ve probably spent the majority of our time on things like branding and other Sun-specific features, because on the whole, the Linux versions of GNOME and the other products we ship with JDS just work. On the other hand, our approach with the Solaris version has often just been to pull out those bits that don’t work very well on Solaris– sometimes substituting them with existing Java apps, which don’t necessarily integrate as well as they could with the rest of GNOME; other times just losing the feature altogether.

By concentrating more on the Solaris version, we’ll have everyone focused on making those things work properly, not to mention letting loose our cool Solaris 10 tools (like dtrace) on improving performance. We need to make JDS work well on SunRays after all, and that can only benefit everyone.

The engineering team here really seem to be looking forward to this renewed focus… it’s almost a throwback to the days when we first got involved with GNOME, and (with the help of Ximian and Wipro) were knocking our socks off to release 2.0 on Solaris 8. Personally I think those days represent the most productive our interactions with the GNOME community over the past five years, and it culminated in one of the most stable releases of GNOME that I’ve used. Here’s hoping we can do the same again.