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26 July 2010, 11:24

A DTrace author leaves Oracle - Update

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Bryan Cantrill, one of the three developers behind Sun's DTrace technology, has left Oracle. He joins the ranks of James Gosling, Tim Bray, Simon Phipps and others who have left Oracle since the company acquired Sun Microsystems.

In an announcement on his blog Cantrill says "Now the time has come for me to venture again into something new - but this time it is to be beyond the company's walls". In what may be an indication of the culture at Oracle, he notes that "One of Sun's greatest strengths was that we technologists were never discouraged from interacting directly and candidly with our customers and users"; Oracle has developed a reputation for being very hard to communicate with, as the recent threat by the OpenSolaris governing board to dissolve itself because of a lack of information from the company demonstrated.

Cantrill does not say where he will be working in future, but has moved his blog to's blog hosting, suggesting his future work will be related to DTrace itself. DTrace is a powerful feature of Solaris and OpenSolaris, which allows developers and administrators to probe the performance and behaviour of the operating system and running applications in real time; a capability which enterprise users find especially useful. DTrace has also been implemented in Mac OS X and FreeBSD. It has not been incorporated into Linux as DTrace is open sourced under the GPL incompatible CDDL.

Update - Cloud computing infrastructure company Joyent has announced that Cantrill is to become Vice President of Engineering. Joyent CEO David Young said “As one of the world’s foremost experts in system software and application monitoring, Bryan will be one of the cornerstones of the team we’ve been building here at Joyent”. Joyent provides the infrastructure which powers services such as LinkedIn and Watercooler.

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