Friday, August 13, 2010

The Future of OpenSolaris

The clouds of uncertainty over OpenSolaris under Oracle have parted, but while what we see behind them was perhaps expected, it is certainly still disappointing. I've included the original sources below, but here are the key sentences (emphasis added) from the internal Oracle memo regarding OpenSolaris:

  • We will distribute updates to approved CDDL or other open source-licensed code following full releases of our enterprise Solaris operating system. In this manner, new technology innovations will show up in our releases before anywhere else. We will no longer distribute source code for the entirety of the Solaris operating system in real-time while it is developed, on a nightly basis.

  • We will have a Solaris 11 binary distribution, called Solaris 11 Express, that will have a free developer RTU license, and an optional support plan. Solaris 11 Express will debut by the end of this calendar year, and we will issue updates to it, leading to the full release of Solaris 11 in 2011.

  • All of Oracle's efforts on binary distributions of Solaris technology will be focused on Solaris 11. We will not release any other binary distributions, such as nightly or bi-weekly builds of Solaris binaries, or an OpenSolaris 2010.05 or later distribution. We will determine a simple, cost-effective means of getting enterprise users of prior OpenSolaris binary releases to migrate to S11 Express.

It remains unclear how OpenSolaris as a community will transform, but it certainly doesn't look that good.

References (from the osol-discuss mailing list):
Leaked internal memo
Confirmation from Oracle employee


  1. Can someone explain the control Oracle has on OpenSolaris? Would the OpenSolaris community not be able to continue updating the source code under the same open source license it was released under? I'm curious about this.

    Although it would sort of be a fork since Oracle would have their own updates that would no longer make it into OpenSolaris.

  2. Yeah, fork and rename sounds like the way to go..

  3. There's Illumos, which is a fork of the OpenSolaris core, but not the distribution.

  4. Hum, looks like it's time for a clean room re-write the Open Solaris Kernel using GPL V3.

  5. It remains the same... Ever. All arround Oracle is turned into "dark side" software development.
    MySQL, Solaris... We lose a Unix.