Project Kenai

Sun is a huge company. So it comes as no surprise that I’m finding out about Project Kenai via Tim Bray, instead of some internal mailing list (believe me, there must be thousands).

Tim’s got a Q&A with Nick Sieger, who’s one of the chieftains behind Kenai. I find it amusing that the comparison is made against Google Code and GitHub – has SourceForge hit irrelevancy? I’m surprised Launchpad isn’t mentioned.

Project Kenai -- We're More Than Just a Forge - Coverflow style
Very Cover Flow like UI, with slider, etc. That’s Elliot Murphy, ex-Dolphin, current Ubuntero in the pic above

Nick goes on to say “We need a place to nurture and grow our open source communities that we ourselves can control” – can control. Control is a loaded word, no? Especially in the land of open source.

The architecture is such that they’re on Sun servers (SPARC based), using GlassFish, Apache, Memcache and a single MySQL 5.0.45 database server (I’m guessing there’s a maximum storage of 146GB because they’re using SAS disks – they will implement replication soon). It seems they’re currently on 32-bit MySQL – they’re getting less than 10% CPU usage, and the query cache is working well for them (98% hit ratio). If graphs, et al turn you on, look at the slides from Fernando Castano, Achieving High Throughput and Scalability with JRuby on Rails.

Its interesting to see the mix of software offered – Mercurial and Subversion (for project hosting – there be choice, unlike the other services out there), Sympa (as opposed to common Mailman), and Bugzilla as the bug tracker. Oh, its built on Rails, so it will be an interesting experiment nonetheless, to see how Rails scales.

Why does Kenai interest me? Because for every project, you have a forum, a separate wiki, access to source code, mailing lists, and a bug tracker. Why should Kenai interest the MySQL community? Because maybe down the line, there will be integration with the Forge. Today, the Forge does not offer hosting (we have got the bits built-in, technically, but Launchpad seemed like a better bet for us, in the long run – the Forge is not in the storage business, its more a catalogue of information), mailing lists, forums, or a bug tracker.

After all, the tagline is “We’re More Than Just a Forge”. There look like there are some social networking aspects to Kenai as well – maybe some ohloh like features will make its way in due time? Maybe a Facebook application, created using Zembly will mash things up even. Who’s to say what the future of Kenai can bring.


  1. mehdi says:

    there are quotas for project storage usage but the overall storage for the app (all the projects data) is fairly large.. using zfs on thumpers. (excuse me: x4500s)

  2. mehdi says:

    also, the core framework of the app is rails, yes, but it uses JRuby to run on glassfish. no mongrels here.

  3. Sharat says:

    I agree “Control” is a loaded word. But, I don’t think that’s what Nick’s intention was to convey. I read it more of Sun’s participation and stewardship in open source projects important to its developer initiatives.

  4. Thanks for writing this concise technical overview Colin :]


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