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DTrace != Marketing endeavor

DTrace != Marketing endeavor

Posted Sep 19, 2008 17:19 UTC (Fri) by bcantrill (guest, #31087)
Parent article: KS2008: Tracing

This piece -- as with your several others on the subject -- is generally quite strong, and balanced with respect to DTrace.

There is, however, one issue I would like to lay to rest. DTrace is not, contrary to ongoing assertions here and elsewhere, a marketing endeavor. DTrace has succeeded because we (Team DTrace) worked damned hard for a damned long time solving a damned hard problem -- and we succeeded at a time when the world didn't want to hear anything that wasn't "Linux" (trust me on this). Far from putting "a lot of marketing energy" into telling customers about DTrace, Sun has put virtually no marketing dollars into DTrace, and it (ironically) took a herculean effort on our part to get even the most basic marketing support. (As an example: when we held a DTrace un-conference this past March, it was a Sun partner who stepped up to pay for it.) It's especially grating when we are accused of "hyping" aspects of the technology -- safety in particular -- that are foundational in nature. We are not and have not "hyped" our safety -- but we (and particular, I) have also not hesitated to point out the architectural differences between DTrace and SystemTap in this regard, e.g.:

Providing motivation for architectural decisions is not "marketing", it's technology -- and you mar your otherwise strong work when you dismiss it as being something less...

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DTrace != Marketing endeavor

Posted Sep 19, 2008 22:02 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

I'm surprised by dtrace not getting marketing $$$: I've heard more people
raving about dtrace than every other feature of Solaris put together, even
than things like ZFS and zones. dtrace *should* be a marketing endeavour
in the sense that marketing loves it and pushes it hard, because it rocks
and customers love it. (The license incompatibility is really annoying.
I'd like to see dtrace everywhere but this is impossible until someone
shoots the current copyright system or reimplements all of dtrace, what a
waste of time.)

i.e. this is as opposed to the sort of marketing endeavour where marketing
lies to customers with ridiculously overblown promises ("our program will
make your coffee for you and can replace all your staff with AIs which
don't need paying"), makes up features that don't exist, or outright makes
up features that are only implementable in a parallel universe with
different maths ("[system] analyses your programs and warns about all
those that will halt" as one project I declined to work on was described).

DTrace != Marketing endeavor

Posted Sep 19, 2008 22:21 UTC (Fri) by bcantrill (guest, #31087) [Link]

To be fair, I should point out that the lack of marketing focus on DTrace was somewhat deliberate on our part: we kept any and all marketing folks in the dark until we had satisfied customers. (I've always believed in talking as little as possible about what you're working on until you have cut enough code to back up any claims.) Once we had a bevy of happy customers, our marketing folks gladly talked about it -- but it was never a focus on their part, and the reception of DTrace in the marketplace certainly has nothing to do with their efforts. Anyway. you can imagine the frustration in repeatedly hearing the success of DTrace being attributed to non-existent marketing efforts... ;)

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