The real real CAB
So the cat is finally out of the bag--I am one of the two people (Al Hopper being the other) voted by the OpenSolaris pilot project members to represent the community on Sun's newly formed OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board (CAB). (Unlike last Friday's April Fool, this really is kosher!) I am honoured to be part of the CAB, and I thank those in the community who placed their trust in me. The pilot program was notified of the election results several weeks ago, and the identity of the other CAB members was also revealed as soon as possible. The public announcement was timed to coincide with the OSBC in San Francisoc, and Sun flew the five of us (i.e., me, Al, Casper Dik, Simon Phipps, and Roy Fielding) into town for our inaugral meeting and to do our bit (more on this anon). I am looking forward to working with these talented people, doing our bit to guide Sun's opening of the Solaris source code.
Our first official activities took place on Monday morning, so we all arrived sometime on Sunday. Casper and I were the first to arrive (he was checking in just as I walked in the Crowne Plaza hotel's lobby), and we had planned to meet the rest of the gang for dinner at around 17:00 (5:00pm). After freshening up, I met Casper in the lobby, who was playing with his Ferrari 3400. I commented on this, saying that I'd also brought mine. Then he pointed to the screen and said "ah, but I bet you don't have a WiFi driver on your Ferrari yet". (This was true, and do I really need to point out that we were talking about Solaris drivers? Running Windoze is not an option, or at least, is to be avoided if at all possible.) I replied that I didn't, so he showed me some other cool stuff: the improved mouse pad driver, and the AMD PowerNow driver. Those following the Solaris on Ferrari story will recognise that I'm refering to Casper's almost-mythical "frkit". After some pleading and whining on my part (and an unspoken promise not to redistribute said goodies), he acquiesed the next day and gave me a copy of the elusive tar ball. Actually, I think it was his indignation that I needed to use "some other OS" for these features that finally convinced him! :-) Suffice to say that I am posting this via a WiFi connection from my Ferrari 3400 running Solaris 10 and frkit.
Anyway, back to the story. Al Hopper was the next to arrive; although none of us (with the exception of Casper and I) had ever met before, only exchanging email, Al was a dead give away: he was wearing the T-shirt he got from the Solaris 10 launch! Our fearless leader, Jim Grisanzio, arrived next, with Sara Dornsife from marketing. Finally, my buddy and fellow pilot program member, Ben Rockwood arrived. We talked for an hour so, getting to know each other, waiting for Simon and Roy. Eventually hunger got the better of us, so we went for a meal in the hotel's restaurant. After dinner (chocolate dessert for me of course!), we talked for a few more hours until we had to go to bed through sheer exhaustion.
The next morning we went over the road for breakfast, in a cafe whose interior reminded Jim and I of the one from the scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta's character takes his boss' wife for dinner at a 50's-themed restaurant, where they share a $5 shake, and win a prize in the twist competition. Here, we finally met Simon and Roy. After food, it was off to Sun's downtown office for our inaugral meeting. I was the last of our mob into the elevator and just behind me, a jean-wearing ponytailed man slipped in. "Hey," I thought to myself, "he looks like Jonathan Schwartz. Wait, it is Jonathan!" We exchanged hi's, and that was that (for then). I'll not bore you with the details of the meeting (Al and I brought our Ferraris, and had them "tuned" by Casper) as the important bits have been reported elsewhere, but we were due to have a 30 minute chat with Jonathan. 90 minutes (and several sandwiches) later, he was still there! Meeting him was one of the highs of the day for me; he's a great guy, and you know he is fully commited to this OpenSolaris thing when he says after introductions "so, what can I do?". We told him the main issues we'd identified up to that point, and he pledged to make the problems go away.
After some more discussion, it was time for our 15:00 press conference call. Slated to last only 30 minutes, this too went on longer than planned due to the interest of the journalists and analysts on the call. I think we had about 30 participants on the call (excluding ourselves), quite a high figure the PR people present later told us.
After a bit more work, we walked to a restaurant called Lulu's Place. It was here that we met with yet more press, after which we had dinner with numerous Sun engineers and executives. Pardon the name dropping, but the Sun people included (in no particular order, and no slight intended for those that I miss--I have a terrible memory for names at the best of times!): Andy Tucker and Bryan Cantrill (both of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting before), Mike Shapiro, Dan Price, Glenn Weinberg, Stephen Harpster, Stephen Hahn, and Tom Goguen (there are at least two VPs just in that lot...), not to mention Sara Dornsife, Claire Giordano, and Terri Molini. All in, there was about 25 of us, and a very good time was had by all.
We stayed very late, and finally had to go because we had an early start the next day.
The next day we met in the foyer of the hotel hosting the OSBC, registered, and then listened to Jonathan's keynote speach. Afterwards, we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed off for the Sun room, where several hours of press interviews awaited us.
While we were waiting for the evening reception to start, I had an interesting conversation with one of the vendors. They were selling these cool little servers, about the size of a laptop power supply. I think the spec included 64 MB of RAM and a dual core PPC processor, running Linux 2.6. "What would be really cool," says I in full evangelist swing, "is if that thing was running OpenSolaris". The vendor's techie and I had a respectful and engaging conversation about the pros and cons of our respective OSes of choice, but after I pointed out S10's innovations like DTrace, zones, privilege separation, etc., etc., he was forced to concede that unlike many claims to the contrary, Linux's unstable ABI is not necessary for innovation.
Moving on, the reception was a good chance to meet with lots of people, including one Microsoft ASP.NET Program Manager who was on the receiving end of some of my pent-up frustration of Windoze and Microsoft's illegally gained monopoly. At around 21:00, everyone had had their fill of Solaris brand wine(!), so accompanied by Sara, the five of us and Ben Rockwood went out for a bite to eat. It was Sara who observed that I "really do have a chocolate problem"; not being very hungary, I ordered just a dessert called Chocolate IV. Oh, incidentally, I scored Jonathan's conference name badge from his executive assistant, Noel! :-)
On Wednesday it was time to pack and go back to Edmonton. I had hoped to see a few more sights, like Lombard Street, but I guess that will have to wait until the next time I'm in the City by the Sea...