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illumos is the fully open community fork of the OpenSolaris operating system.

Our goal is to foster open development of technologies for the 21st century while building on a twenty-year heritage, but free from the oversight of a single corporate entity and the resulting challenges thereof.

The source code developed by the project forms the foundation of distributions including Nexenta Core Platform, and OpenIndiana, which is also participating under the illumos umbrella.

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Main Organization License:


Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2011? What do you hope to gain by participating?

We are hoping to excite more
up-and-coming developers in operating
systems development and related fields,
many of which may have never heard of us
before. We have a number of projects
we'd love to see happen, and we believe
that Google's Summer of Code is one way
to grow our active developer base and
expose new folks to the Solaris heritage.

While our code base has a long history
and many engineering traditions attached
to it, our development processes are
being reinvented in an attempt to remove
barriers while maintaining consistently
high code quality. We'd like to find out
where we can make life easier for new

We also believe in the overarching goal
of educating through mentoring younger
developers. The best learning happens
outside the classroom, and we would like
to see more young engineers get a good
foundation, regardless of where they end up.

Garrett D'Amore says:
(Of course, I'm also personally
interested in finding bright young
people that I can employ to work on this
code base for Nexenta -- and yes, all our
work on this code at Nexenta is fully
open under the CDDL. It's likely that a
successful candidate will receive a job
offer from one or more of the companies
involved in the illumos ecosystem --
including others like Delphix, Joyent,
and Reliant Security.

My past experience with GSoC in the
NetBSD project as a mentor was a
positive experience, and I'd like to see
our project succeed here as well.)

If accepted, would this be your first year participating in GSoC?


Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

No. Our project began as a fork of the
now-defunct OpenSolaris less than a year

Garrett says:
(I personally have participated in past
GSoCs as a mentor for NetBSD. Of two
students (in two different years), I had
mixed results. One student delivered
good results back to the project and
went on to become a member of the NetBSD
Foundation and regular committer. The
other student was a non-performer
(claiming medical problems) and failed
to deliver even enough to justify the
payment. (He was paid anyway, although
Google was fully aware of our concerns
as well as the claim.) Note that the
application was strong, so this was a

One challenge we saw was selecting from
several potentially good applicants, and
balancing amongst the differing goals of
a large project. Iexpect that to be
less of an issue for illumos this year
since the most likely mentors are much
more in-sync with respect to our project

If your organization participated in past GSoCs, please let us know the ratio of students passing to students allocated, e.g. 2006: 3/6 for 3 out of 6 students passed in 2006.

not applicable

What is the URL for your ideas page?

What is the main development mailing list for your organization? This question will be shown to students who would like to get more information about applying to your organization for GSoC 2011. If your organization uses more than one list, please make sure to include a description of the list so students know which to use.

To subscribe to our development mailing
list, visit:
To post, send mail to:

For other lists, including our general
discussions, see:

To subscribe to the OpenIndiana
distribution developer list:
To post, send mail to:

For other OpenIndiana lists you may be
interested in, see:

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

#illumos on

Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now. Please note that it is a very good idea to ask students to provide you with their contact information as part of your template. Their contact details will not be shared with you automatically via the GSoC 2011 site.


What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible.

The criteria have mainly been based on
volunteers -- the most active committers
have also stepped up to volunteer, which
gives us a great deal of confidence that
the candidates will receive excellent 
mentoring. In general, these have been
our "advocates", who are the gatekeepers
that personally push patches and guide
new contributors through the development

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

We will have:

  • Regular group meetings on IRC so that
    mentors and students can get their
    questions answered, stay informed on
    projects, and build stronger bonds with
    the developer community and with each other.
  • One-on-one meetings between mentors
    and students to address individual
    concerns and make sure the students are
    happy with the projects they chose and
    feel satisfied with their progress.
  • Weekly status updates from students on
    their blogs or our wiki, prior to the meetings

If a student drops out of meetings
without giving us notice, his mentor
will first try to contact him or her directly.
If that fails we will step in to look
for alternative methods to reach the

If able, we will try to find out if
there are extenuating circumstances
which prevent the student from
continuing and inform Google. If a
student is struggling with a project we
may try to change the scope or find a
project that better suits his or her abilities.

Garrett says:
(In the past, when this happened with
me, I found that I worked hard to try to
reestablish contact with the student,
but that I also kept Google apprised of
the situation. Ultimately, we may not
be able to bring the student back, but
one thing I think we can do is make it
less likely to occur (or more obvious
when it does, earlier in the process) by
having a more continuous feedback cycle
than we did with NetBSD in my previous
mentoring relationships.)

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

That's incredibly unlikely given the
mentors that have stepped forward have
very active roles in the project. If the
a student is unable to contact his
assigned mentor we encourage him/her to
talk to any of the project advocates
immediately, by email or by dropping
into #illumos. In the event of such a
crisis, one of the other advocates for
the project will probably step forward
(and Garrett will keep himself
available, unless he disappears!).

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

We will certainly encourage them to
participate in discussions on our IRC
channel and mailing lists, and not be
afraid to ask questions, no matter how
small. We want their questions to by
heard by the broader developer base,
because the community there is
nurturing and supportive of new developers.

Because our organization is fairly
global, it is easy to catch many of us
on IRC. If a student is physically close
to one of our concentrations of
developers (e.g. near a engineering
office of a sponsor), then we will
invite him/her to have face-to-face
interactions as well.

By being immersed in our community,
becoming familiar with our software, and
watching us make progress as a whole we
hope they'll see things that they'd like
to continue to work with us on long
after their own projects have completed.

If you are a small or new organization applying to GSoC, please list a larger, established GSoC organization or a Googler that can vouch for you here.


Garrett says:
(Well, we're known to Eben Moglen. :-)
And of course most of our leaders are
OpenSolaris diaspora, I am personally
known through my past involvement with
GSoC for NetBSD. Simon Phipps can vouch
for our project as well, and is probably
known to you.)

If you are a large organization who is vouching for a small organization applying to GSoC for their first time this year, please list their name and why you think they'd be good candidates for GSoC here:

not applicable

Anything else you'd like to tell us?

We're incredibly excited by GSoC and the
reach of the program to get students
interested in working with open source
projects. In fact, what's really
incredible for us is getting Google behind
this project to help spread the word to
potential new developers, which is worth
more than any financial sponsorship.
Garrett says: (My company would probably
sponsor some interns to do this stuff
through bounties and such, but we don't
have the same ability to reach out to
potential candidates that GSoC does.)

The other thing is that illumos, while
in its relative infancy, really does
represent the open future of the code
base after Sun, and we have been seeing
increasing momentum. For folks that want
to work on a cool scalable open source
kernel with brilliant engineers, I can
think of few other opportunities like
our project.