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16 August 2010, 10:15

Oracle turns its back on OpenSolaris

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OpenSolaris Logo Worries about the future of OpenSolaris appear to be confirmed according to a leaked email – Oracle is turning its back on OpenSolaris. According to the email to the Solaris developers, Oracle intends to position Solaris as mainly an enterprise operating system for its own database customers and OpenSolaris doesn't seem to fit into this picture.

"Solaris must stand alone as a best-of-breed technology for Oracle’s enterprise customers" says the memo, emphasising the vendor's new line of approach.

Oracle is currently hiring new developers for Solaris. The open source developers, on the other hand, will now only receive the Solaris source code some time after major releases and will no longer have access to the source code while in development. Previously, the code was released on a nightly basis allowing the OpenSolaris community to track development. However, updates for the parts of Solaris under CDDL are to be continued. Developers who want to access Solaris code which is still in development must join a "Technology Partner Program" and Oracle will decide whether to admit a developer to this program on a case-by-case basis.

The CDDL open source licence is to remain in place for most of the Solaris source code, and the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) is to continue to provide access to documentation and design files, although ARC (Architectural Review Committee) cases will no longer be included by default.

By the end of 2011, Oracle plans to release a first binary distribution, called Solaris 11 Express, which will be intended for developers. "Nightly builds" and other binaries will no longer be released by the company. When John Fowler, Oracle's Executive Vice President of Systems, announced Solaris 11 a few days ago, the future of OpenSolaris still remained open. However, Solaris 11 is to incorporate components of OpenSolaris development.

The controversy around OpenSolaris has existed for a while. In July, the OpenSolaris Governing Board gave Oracle an ultimatum requesting that the new owner nominate an executive responsible for OpenSolaris by the 16th of August. That was followed by the creation of the Illumos project, which plans to use the foundation of OpenSolaris, OS/Net, to create a free operating system that is fully binary compatible with OpenSolaris and Solaris.

Reacting to the news, Garret D'Amore, leader of the Illumos project, said "How unfortunate. For Oracle that is" adding that "By their actions, Oracle may be forcing Illumos to 'fork'". He later announced that, over the weekend, Illumos had received its first external commit; a modification which removed dependency on Oracle's "extra" repository.


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