OpenIndiana is a distribution developed and maintained exclusively by a small community of volunteers passionate about UNIX-like systems.
There is no company running the project nor funding it, unlike most major Linux distributions. The development of OpenIndiana Hipster results from individual contributions coordinated in a fairly informal way: most people here (system administrators, developers, researchers, engineers, …) contribute in their spare time and like to do it in a friendly environment, with all the serious that goes into a “hobby” that you like very much! 😉
Contributing to OpenIndiana can be a way to explore new ideas, develop new skills or simply enjoy sharing one’s experience with others.
Communication occurs mainly on the mailing-lists and on the IRC channel #openindiana on Freenode (see Finding help). Be aware that most OpenIndiana developers are based in Europe so the IRC channels may be quiet for some hours during night (although there are a few night-owls around) 😉
Since the reboot of OpenIndiana with the Hipster project we have been trying hard to modernize the distribution and improve the documentation resources.
Most of the effort is focused on modernizing software specific to OpenIndiana, providing up-to-date packages with latest security fixes, and improving end-user documentation.
If you want to join us and contribute there are roughly three main tracks:
- User documentation: the oi-docs project is an attempt at providing a streamline process for end-user documentation. The documentation is deployed automatically at http://docs.openindiana.org/ on pull-request merge. There is a lot of work to be done to provide a consistent Handbook like the exemplary FreeBSD Handbook. Documentation topics cover installation, configuration and administration. The integration process was made as easy as possible since anyone can submit modifications with a simple pull-request.
- Developer documentation: the OpenIndiana Wiki is the medium used for tracking task progress and documenting development practices or software porting tips. It is also used for providing ephemeral information for specific software versions like workaround for bugs or transition stages. As the Hipster project moved forward some of the existing Wiki content has become either deprecated or integrated into the oi-docs project. We still need all the help possible to improve the coverage of developer resources on the Wiki and update existing content. If you find that content could be improved or added, you can contact us to get a user account on the Wiki. Get in touch with the developers and submit your ideas, we are here to help!
- Packaging software: package repositories are available for OpenIndiana and built from a unique framework called oi-userland, which is denoted as a unified build system in a similar fashion as ports systems. The build system takes the form of a hierarchy of components which can be built using a simple Makefile. The integration was made easy since changes are merged through pull-requests, which trigger builds on our Jenkins instance and publication of new binary packages to the repositories. Contributions to oi-userland can be of different nature: improving the build system, updating a component, or adding new software. A good starting point is to follow instructions for Building with oi-userland to get an overview of the possibilities offered, and not hesitate to contact developers on the mailing-list for specific issues.
Working on the package manager, rewriting the OS installer, writing user documentation, designing new artwork, packaging software you need or like, etc …
There are always tracks for new ideas, new developments, and no formal limitations.