Thursday, March 12, 2009

Platform importance for rsyslog

If you follow my blog or the rsyslog mailing list, you probably already know that rsyslog is available on a number of platforms. Thanks to contributors, rsyslog runs on BSD and is seen on Solaris and HP-UX too. The later two are not real ports yet and each of them has their restrictions. Also, I'd like to see support for AIX, but was not even able yet to obtain a compile platform.

HOWEVER... as much as I desire multi-platform support, it is the truth that rsyslog stems from and is fueled by the Linux community. This is where the major contributions come from and this is also where the major interest originates. Plus, this is the only truly free platform, so it lives up to the same spirit that rsyslog has.

When it comes to putting effort into the project, I have limited resources. Naturally, I put those resources to where they create the most effect. For that reason, most of the development is focused towards Linux (followed by BSD, where there is also an active community). Solaris and friends live mostly in the corporate world and so questions asking for rsyslog on these platforms mostly come from for-profit organizations. And there are very few of these requests. So I can not give them priority, because they do not benefit the project sufficiently large. HOWEVER, if the corporations put some money up and sponsor development, that is definitely in the interest of the project, because it allows us to grow and the sponsorship will probably allow us to do other things as well. Everyone benefits.

Once a platform is implemented, it must be maintained. Obviously, there is little point in orphaning a platform that we already run on. But for platforms with little interest, it is probably not justified to test each and every new release (just think of the testing time required). I'd call those platforms "tier 2" platforms and think I can look at them only in response to a problem report. Of course, we offer rsyslog support contracts and if a sufficiently large number of users decide to purchase these contracts (extremely low numbers today, to phrase it politely) and these purchasers are interested in e.g. Solaris, we will most probably change priorities and all out of sudden Solaris will become "tier 1". Of course, this may push away some community-requested work, but again I think this is in the overall interest of the project: if we can secure continuous funding, not only from one source (Adiscon), but many, we can be much more sure we can implement more and more cool things in the future.

I hope this clarifies my position on the importance of the various platforms for rsyslog and how I will handle them.

Oh, and one final note: if a platform requires me to even purchase hardware (Solaris/Sparc for example), I will not do that unless someone donates a machine (NOT LEND it, but donate, so that at least for the next three years I can ensure maintaining rsyslog on it - a virtual machine, of course, is sufficient if you happen to have some inside a cloud ;)). It would be just plainly silly to put real money at supporting a community that does not contribute back ;)

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