Getting Help


This sections covers where to get additional help on issues related to illumos and what to do if you find issues with this document.

Additional Help with illumos

If you have difficulty with building, are not sure what to do, or just have additional questsions, illumos has a friendly community that is happy to help you out. There are a few different places that you can direct questions:

  • Mailing Lists
  • Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

illumos Mailing Lists

illumos has several different mailing lists. When it comes to development, it has one catchall list and several special interest lists. The general developer list is called 'developer'. There are currently three special interest lists that cover ZFS, DTrace, and Networking. If your question is related to development or use of one of those three technologies, then you should consider subscribing and sending mail to one of those lists.

If you have a general question about how to debug something, hit a build failure that you're not certain about, or some other general question that is about the development of illumos itself, then you should send mail to

Generally speaking, you should avoid private mail asking for help. While a given individual may indeed know the most about your situation, they may not have as much time to address it as rapidly as you would like. Sending to the mailing list gives you access to as many people as possible who may be familiar with your specific problem. That said, if you are someone who is on that mailing list and you are not as familiar with a given topic, then do not feel compelled to reply. This helps us keep the signal to noise ratio healthy on the mailing lists.

If you want to raise some general discussion about the use of illumos that is not related to development activities, please send mail to the 'illumos-discuss' or a special interest list instead. The developer list is intended solely for development of illumos itself.

If you have questions about how to do something in the context of a specific distribution, you should e-mail their mailing list instead. If you forget or accidentally send something to the wrong place, don't worry. At the end of the day the members of the illumos community want to make sure that your problem gets addressed and will help redirect you to the appropriate place.

For the full set of illumos lists, as well as, various distribution-specific lists, please see The illumos wiki Mailing list page.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

The illumos community maintains an active IRC channel in #illumos on This room is used for general discussion, answering technical questions about illumos, and providing assistance with debugging and illumos problem-solving. Please leave yourself logged in for some time -- Questions are not always immediately answered, but folks do commonly look for unanswered questions and try to help.

If you are having issues using a specific distribution (for example, "how do I install a specific piece of software?"), you can get the most help by using a distribution specific IRC channel which are generally also found on

Help Us Help You

In any case, please remember that people can only help you if you provide them enough information. If you have a program dumping core or the operating system is panicking, then please find some way to make that available. If you have questions about code that you have written consider making a webrev of your changes available.

If you are hitting a bug that you do not understand in the compiler, then please include the full compilation line. In some build systems you may be required to set V=1. If we cannot see all the flags passed to the compiler, then we cannot help you. Similarly, if you are encountering an error with the linker, not only do we want all of the linker flags, but also all of the objects which are referenced on the command line. Having those in hand will allow us to be able to reproduce and fix issues much faster.

Errors and Suggestions with this Document

This document maintains an issue tracker on its github repository located here. Whether you encounter a typo, have a suggestion for this document, a question about it, or anything else, please feel create a ticket. Various members of the community who have helped create and shape this document are available on IRC. If you have questions or constructive complaints, please let them know. If you report typos, broken links, or other similar issues and can provide a patch to fix this, that would be greatly appreciated. This document is for the community and maintained by it. If you find that there is a major section of content that is missing, please check in with the authors about how best to integrate this before writing.