Contributed by deanna on from the whole lotta talk dept.
The romance was briefly interrupted by a message from Theo pointing out the doublespeak (reproduced below).
Jonathan, I wish the above was true. 15 years ago I was the biggest Sun fan. Today I speak as the project leader for another set of open source projects -- OpenBSD and OpenSSH. OpenSSH will be better known to your audience, as it is what they use daily to connect securely to and from their Solaris (or Linux) machines. OpenSSH killed telnet and rlogin, for those who still remember those mechanisms. We give our software completely freely to the world, without even the standard encumberances people see in the GPL or CDDL. Yet when we turn around and ask Sun to give us documentation for the chips on their machines -- chips Sun themselves designed, not via contractors -- Sun drags their feet.
Recently we tried to reopen these 10-year-old repeated requests, and once again nothing positive happened. You may remember, because you and David Yen were in an email conversation with us. Lots of nice open words were exchanged, but no action. However, let me give an example of the duplicity of Sun. (I wish I could use a lighter word). Two operating systems run on Sun's latest PCI-e based (smallish) Ultrasparc-III machines, the v215/v245 -- Solaris and OpenBSD. The latter system runs on those machines because the code to support the non-processor chips on the board had to be written after painstaking reverse engineering, because Sun refuses to make available documentation for how these chips are programmed. Now we will readily admit that not every programmer in the world needs to know how to program these chips. But does every programmer in the world need to know how to program every little detail on Sun's processors, in system mode?
Sun gets great press out of UltraSPARC being all "open", but what use is supervisor-mode documentation when the rest of the chips that the supervisor-mode code has to communicate with are entirely undocumented??? The press does not spot this problem, but Jonathan, you should clearly understand this is a fallacy. There are two operating systems which surprisingly do not run on the Sun v215/v245 -- Linux and OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris?? Yes -- Sun isn't even open enough to give the OpenSolaris community enough documentation to support their new machines. So I think that Linus is right, and Sun has a long road ahead.
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