[OmniOS-discuss] The Future of OmniOS

Paul B. Henson henson at acm.org
Fri Apr 21 19:19:44 UTC 2017

As both a home hobbyist user of OmniOS and a paid support user of OmniOS at
my day job, I'd first like to thank you guys for putting together a great
operating system that has served me well over the years and I hope will
continue to do so.

However, I would like to clarify your stance when you say you are
"suspending active development" and that r151022 will be the "final
release". Per your historical release cycle:


r151022 was to be an LTS release with security/bug fix support through H1
2020. While there will be no further releases of OmniOS from OmniTI, will
you continue to back port fixes and fix issues in r151022 through that
timeline, or will it be released as is and then be up to the as yet
undeveloped community to do so? We currently have critical production
systems deployed, systems whose deployment was only approved by management
due to the availability of commercial support (the wisdom of such a
perspective we will not discuss), and this sudden development is potentially
going to leave us in quite a pickle. While I certainly can't dictate to you
how to run your business, it would have been much easier on your customers
had you made this announcement with the release of r151022, and coincided
the end of your support offering with the end of life of this last release.
Which also ideally would have provided time for an omnios community to have
developed and started producing their own releases before the last
officially supported omniti version reached sunset.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: OmniOS-discuss [mailto:omnios-discuss-bounces at lists.omniti.com]
> On Behalf Of Robert Treat
> Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 7:07 AM
> To: omnios-discuss <omnios-discuss at lists.omniti.com>
> Subject: [OmniOS-discuss] The Future of OmniOS
> Five years ago, when we first launched OmniOS, we did it out of a
> direct need to push forward the OpenSolaris ecosystem that we had
> built into the core of several parts of our business. At the time, the
> illumos community was still rather new and taking direct control of
> our path forward was a solid next step; we had already built many of
> the pieces in-house that we needed to produce a complete operating
> system distribution, and our experiences with open sourcing software
> we worked on had been generally very good.
> While we didn't know quite what the reaction would be, there were two
> things internally that guided us as long term factors in our decision.
> First, as we have done for other open source software, we thought it
> made sense to offer commercial support for OmniOS, but there was no
> desire to "pivot" OmniTI to be an operating system vendor. We like the
> world of building and running high-scale software and infrastructure
> and that's where we wanted to stay. Hand in hand with that was the
> second idea, that while we felt it was important for us to take the
> first initial steps, in the long term we really would prefer that
> OmniOS become an open source project maintained by its community
> rather than remain as the open source product of a single commercial
> entity (think Debian vs Red Hat, if that helps).
> Five years later, we are proud to see that this software has been
> accepted by a wide group of companies and end users, and we think this
> has been a boon for the illumos community, who are the shoulders we
> build upon. When you see companies from all sectors and industry, both
> small and some orders of magnitude larger, using the technology you
> put forward to build even further; well, it's great to have an impact.
> However, even with the success we have had, there is one area we have
> failed to make progress on, which is the goal of making OmniOS
> community operated. There are many factors why this hasn't happened,
> but ultimately in five years of both ups and downs within OmniTI, I am
> left to conclude that if we are ever to change the nature of OmniOS,
> we need to take a radical approach.
> Therefore, going forward, while some of our staff may continue
> contributing, OmniTI will be suspending active development of OmniOS.
> Our next release, currently in beta, will become the final release
> from OmniTI. We are currently going through steps to remove any build
> dependencies on OmniTI or its infrastructure, and we've made some
> steps towards determining what potential resources we currently
> control which could be turned over to an open source community should
> one emerge; for example, we can continue running OmniOS mailing lists
> from OmniTI, but would eventually like to see those transitioned to
> something operated by the community itself.
> To be clear, our goal is not to abandon OmniOS, but to divest OmniTI
> from the open source project in order to spur others to participate
> more. We still run quite a bit of infrastructure on OmniOS and expect
> to continue contributing, but the current model does not work for
> OmniTI nor do we believe it is healthy for the OmniOS community as a
> whole. Could this mean the end of OmniOS? We can't guarantee it won't.
> For that matter, recent user data shows that a majority of the
> community still uses OmniOS primarily as a storage solution, not a
> platform for high-scale web computing (which was our original intent),
> so even if a community does form, it could move the project in a
> direction that doesn't align with our needs. If that happens, we feel
> comfortable knowing there are several other strong illumos based
> options available. In the end, while this rip-the-band-aid-off
> approach is not without risk, it is one we feel is necessary.
> We hope that most folks will respond to this not with fear but with
> the understanding that there is now an opportunity to build a broader,
> stronger community, and we look forward to working with others to make
> that a reality.
> Robert Treat
> https://omniti.com
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> OmniOS-discuss at lists.omniti.com
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