[Lustre-discuss] Patchless server

Brian J. Murrell Brian.Murrell at Sun.COM
Fri Oct 10 11:23:27 PDT 2008

On Fri, 2008-10-10 at 12:51 -0500, Troy Benjegerdes wrote:
> While I think I understand why you say this, it very easily can sound 
> like a monopolistic tactic to sell more Sun hardware. 

Heh.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to say anything that will
convince you otherwise.  But to your points I will say...

> You start with "Well, aren't our binary kernels good enough" .. which 
> next turns to "Well we don't support vendor X's raid controler with our
> binaries"..

Our available binary kernels are those from the two biggest commercial
(as in the distros that our experience tells us our customers use and
want) distributions in our customer base, which are Red Hat's EL and
Suse's ES kernels.  This is driven by customer demand.

We don't remove hardware support from those kernels.  We have in the
past added (i.e. newer) support for hardware such as the Qlogic QLA
drivers because that's what our customers were using and demanding.
That was long before we were even a Sun interest so it's immaterial to
your argument.  Currently we do replace the RHEL supplied OFED stack but
we do that to cleanly provide the OFED 1.3 stack in return.  This again
was driven by customer demand, not "sell more Sun hardware" (which is a
preposterous argument considering the O in OFED is for "open" and as
such OFED supports everyone's hardware). 

>  next on the list is "Well, we QA everything on Sun hardware"

We may or may not test on Sun hardware.  That's pretty irrelevant
though.  We don't, and never have to the best of my knowledge, refused
to support other people's hardware.  On the contrary, I don't think
anyone ever even asks what hardware a particular bug report is related
to unless it's somehow material to the bug.

Indeed there are peculiarities to some given pieces of hardware but we
strive (within reason) to accommodate those, not shun them.  Linux
generally takes care of much of that for us though.

> I think you will have a defensible case for "Use our binaries" when you
> can support patched Debian and Ubuntu kernel packages,

Certainly it would be nice to support everyone's kernels, but we have
limited resources and our customers have told us what kernels they want
support for and that's what we support.  You have to appreciate that
Lustre development costs money to keep going and that money has to come
from somewhere and currently it's coming from customers who want RHEL
and SLES kernels.  If there was a business case in supporting
Debian/Ubuntu kernels, I think we'd be doing it.

That said, we are proud that Lustre has been able to continue as an Open
Source development project and as such are happy to see the community
take up the packaging of Debian/Ubuntu packages in some of the Debian
distributions for the community user base.

In addition, IIRC there was an offer made on this list to include some
amount of Debian/Ubuntu packaging foo in our official source repository
should somebody want to contribute something.  I don't think anyone has
stepped up (yet).  I am still hopeful.


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