Blastwave: Unofficial Update

Posted on August 9, 2008

I am in no way qualified to speak with regard to whats going on around Blastwave, but given that there are no official statements and lots of rumors and speculation I’ll share some info. Please note that I consider both Phil Brown and Dennis Clark as friends and am completely impartial, at least for this post.

If you’ve visited recently you’ll notice that parts of the site are “missing”, you may also have noticed that Genunix was down for a bit. Threads regarding this issue have appeared both on OpenSolaris Discuss and comp.unix.solaris. A nice lengthy discussion was had with Dennis Clark today in #opensolaris, however I shall not quote that conversation directly, over 250 people were in the room at the time.

In the simplest possible terms, Dennis Clark and Phil Brown are in the process of parting ways. Phil Brown is the creator of the CSW (Community SoftWare) effort including the popular apt-get like pkg-get which has been the center of what people think of Blastwave. Dennis Clark is the man behind Blastwave which has provided the large infrastructure and pool of resources around CSW. These two have been intertwined for a very long time and, due to difference over future direction has escalated into separation. Because of this intemate relationship between CSW and Blastwave over so many years this disconnect does, in many ways, resemble a messy divorce.

As seen in Dennis Clarks email to OpenSolaris Discuss lawyers are involved and action is reportedly being taken against Phil Brown. Furthermore, Blastwave Inc is in progress of incorporating in Canada. CSW now has a new home in Germany.

Blastwave is still in operation for now, and thanks to the various Blastwave/CSW package mirrors users should have been minimally impacted, if at all.

For more information please read through the 3 message threads linked above so you can read from the participants themselves. Phil and Dennis are both active members of the community, if you have questions or concerns I encourage you to respectfully and courteously contact them directly via email, lists, or IRC.

In closing, I will remind everyone that both Dennis and Phil have done amazing things for the Solaris community for many years, and they both have intentions (it would appear) to continue doing so; albeit separately. For years and years they provided the Solaris community, unrecognized by Sun at the time, with high quality software on both SPARC and X86. Regardless of which side you take or which story you read never forget that both Dennis Clark and Phil Brown, together with countless maintainers and volunteers, deserve our lasting respect and appreciation. I’m personally saddened to see the division, but thankful for what they accomplished together.