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Sun Renews Its Vows to Open-Source Solaris

Sun Renews Its Vows to Open-Source Solaris

Sun has been repeating itself lately and saying that it really is gonna open source Solaris 10, the next major update of the Unix operating system, by the end of the year, to get other people to contribute to it and hopefully revivify interest in the one-foot-in-the-grave OS.

Sun will continue to control what goes into the thing. The way things are structured the project will supposedly resemble Red Hat's Fedora.

Solaris-as-open-source is a veritable legal minefield because Sun frankly doesn't know where some of the code comes from or who owns it, a realization on the part of its legal department that stopped Sun from open sourcing the operating system years ago when the notion first presented itself.

As a result, Solaris won't exactly be your classic open source project. Sun won't be able to share all the code.

Solaris 10 includes widgetry called Janus appropriately enough that will run Linux application unchanged. Whether Janus will be ready when Solaris 20 pops is another story. Sun may have to play catch-up.

Meanwhile, Sun, which like the little boy who put his finger in the dike, is trying to stop Wall Street from swamping it as it rushes to replace Sun gear with industry standard stuff, has been telling folks that Solaris on Opteron is a heck of a sight better and cheaper than Red Hat, which it's now targeting as Red Hat does Sun.

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Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
Christopher Saul 09/24/04 01:19:21 PM EDT

Can anyone explain why someone might choose Solaris over Linux, other than for the fact that it's vastly more scalable, better supported, better documented and has a huge number of commercial, fully supported applications available, as well as being able to run all the OSS stuff out there, as well as having a massive install base and a tonne of experienced systems admininstrators with a multi-billion dollar company's backing, a company who also support the hardware it runs on and as well as having a tonne of features not fully or decently implemented in Linux?

guacamole 09/24/04 01:17:54 PM EDT

Solaris has some benefits for enterprise use. To begin, you're getting support for the OS and the hardware from the same company. The release schedule is very sane (about once in two years) and each OS release is supported for like 6 to 8 years. RedHat Enterprise Linux has a similar release and support policy but it costs more (as of right now you just need to make a one time payment for the Solaris OS which is still less than the price of one year RHEL subscription in most cases). On the technical side, Solaris scales really well on large hardware and it is very usable under a high load. If I see load avg. go over say 4 or 5 on a single CPU Linux system, it's often extremely unresponsive and nearly unusable while Solaris copes much better under such conditions.

Allen Zadr 09/24/04 01:16:27 PM EDT

Solaris is a strong OS, despite losing some market share in the last 8 years. Open Source projects benefit from being listed on the solarisfreeware web site. As an admin I've always had a tendancy to use and support whatever project has the largest cross-platform capability.
Well, how better to support a Solaris solution for your OSS project than to _run_ Solaris. More importantly, the issues in Solaris that have long dogged OSS projects (can only be compiled with gcc - must use OSS version of malloc, etc) can be found and fixed by debugging and recompiling now-open-sourced system libraries.

calum1 09/24/04 01:15:01 PM EDT

If I had to choose between a Solaris install, or a Linux install, on its own, with a live IP address, I'd choose Linux every time.
If I had to choose a box to give shells out on, I'd choose Linux.
In fact, I can't think of anything that I would choose Solaris for.

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