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Sun Microsystems Operating Systems Oracle

The Future of OpenSolaris 307

jjrff writes "Phoronix has a little piece about the future (or lack thereof) of OpenSolaris. It appears based on the current support lifecycle, OpenSolaris may be going away. There is a fun thread (read: mild flameage) on a ZFS list about it."
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The Future of OpenSolaris

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  • Fork? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by migla ( 1099771 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @06:33AM (#31257406)

    Even if Oracle ditches Opensolaris all together, shouldn't the community keep going and shouldn't third party companies fill the hole left in the market with regards to support?

    Or is this a question of reality not working out as the theory? Does that mean that, in a similar vein, Monty was right (and Eben was wrong) ranting and going to the EU about the fate of MySQL in the hands of Oracle?

    (I don't know. I don't mean to imply anything. Just asking, sincerely.)

  • Re:Fork? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DennisZeMenace ( 131127 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @06:44AM (#31257466) Homepage
    How big is that community really ? And what percentage of that community is actually made out of Sun employees ?
  • Re:Fork? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @06:55AM (#31257514)

    Even if Oracle ditches Opensolaris all together, shouldn't the community keep going

    I doubt that OpenSolaris has enough of a following. If businesses ditch it due to a lack of support, it's unlikely that there will be enough of a "community" left to prop it up.

    Personally, while I use OpenSolaris myself, I'd be more than happy to ditch it if the BTRFS project lives up to the hype. As far as I can see, ZFS is the only reason to prefer OpenSolaris over Linux for personal use, and I know that a significant percentage of the non-business users feel the same way.

    and shouldn't third party companies fill the hole left in the market with regards to support?

    I believe some already do. NexentaOS is built on OpenSolaris, and they at least provide support for their own products. I'm pretty sure they offer support contracts for OpenSolaris in general.

  • We still use OSF/1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @06:56AM (#31257522) Homepage

    A bloody good version of Unix it is too. 64 bit from the start back in the early 90s when PC manufacturers and Microsoft were still wetting their trousers about moving to proper 32 bit.

    The alpha CPU - what a missed opportunity. Perhaps in some ideal world in an alternate reality people woke up to what a dogs dinner x86 is and the alpha chip had as much development effort put into it. I wonder what apps would be possible on a 2010 alpha chip that is still pie in the sky for x86?

  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @07:18AM (#31257626)
    The article doesn't quite say it, and it doesn't have the smoking gun of "We're canning OpenSolaris", but that end of life page for OpenSolaris looks pretty damn final to me and there is little room for interpretation.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Open Solaris went the journey. The whole point of it was to arrest the slide of Solaris in the face of Linux, in particular, and so that Sun could tell everyone that Solaris was open and just like Linux. Unfortunately, OpenSolaris has contributed little, if anything, to Solaris. There's no community of developers apart from those Sun sanctioned and things like Solaris's driver support is still a long way behind where Linux is. Development still hasn't been opened and there is no public repository development model. Sun, or Oracle now, is bankrolling it with none of the cost savings you would expect from such a project.

    One can only hope that Oracle won't follow the same 'strategy' that Sun have followed for the past ten years, because it got Sun into trouble and it'll cost Oracle rather a lot of money if they get it wrong. However, they look as if they're doing swift about-turns on that and a statement of their future intent is clear when you go to - it redirects straight to
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @07:25AM (#31257662) Homepage

    "but it's just silly to expect it to be compatible with some random laptop"

    I don't think so. Server farms will go with proper supported Solaris and yes they will check the HCL first. The freebie option is for other people who want to try out solaris and who will have all sorts of random desktop and laptop configurations. If opensolaris doesn't support much hardware then who exactly is it aimed at?

  • by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @07:30AM (#31257684)

    Actually most of what was very good in the alpha chip went to AMD and their Athlon64 chip. For a while they were even pin-compatible. Now Intel has the upper hand again, with no up and coming competitor on the horizon, except maybe IBM/POWER one day.

  • by drfireman ( 101623 ) <dan&kimberg,com> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @07:33AM (#31257698) Homepage

    So far as I can tell, zfs is the only piece of opensolaris that's exciting enough to make anyone want to install if if they'd otherwise want to install a linux distribution. With that in mind, could someone post an authoritative update on the supposedly intractable licensing issues that prevent ZFS from being incorporated into the linux kernel? Is it still hopeless?

  • by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @08:12AM (#31257912)

    Anyone know a good place to get access to ZFS in another place? Would BSD or FUSE on Linux be better?

    FreeBSD - ZFS is no longer in experimental status as of version 8.0. I haven't heard anyone recommend FUSE on Linux. As far as other BSDs go, I know that at least OpenBSD has no plans to include it at this stage. [] - But that was over a year ago.

    At the moment I'm learning FreeBSD over OpenSolaris because I want ZFS, FreeBSD is fully free and open source, FreeBSD looks to have a wider array of ports, which should be easy to install, even though with the LiveCD of OpenSolaris it boots up straight to X. On a production server or maybe even workstation, I think the choice would be down to FreeBSD versus Solaris, rather than OpenSolaris. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Solaris does have a lot of nice features though, FMA (fault management architecture - lets you know when something has gone kaput and what to do about it.) And FreeBSD will lag in terms of the version of ZFS it supports. Deduplication looks to be a pretty cool feature - if you copy some data to another part of the HDD, and then you leave it a bit and your hoarding nature kicks in and you don't know whether you can delete it or not - no fear, ZFS will recognize the data as the same, only store it in one place (unless modified of course) and so there is no benefit to deleting the copy other than being a neat freak.

    I'm presently wrestling with setting up FreeBSD on wireless. After that I have to get X set up. It would be nice if FreeBSD had version specific handbooks ala PostgreSQL, but they don't. So it's a combination of man pages, handbook, googling, etc to get me where I want to go. It's a bit of a contrast to Ubuntu which I set up on another box in the space of about an hour, including updates. Unmetered FOSS mirrors on ISPs kick ass!

    Anyway, I suspect that the user base of FreeBSD will grow by leaps and bounds when people realize the advantages of ZFS and don't want to wait for BTRFS or whatever the results of this meeting might be: []

  • Re:Bugger. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @08:21AM (#31257970)

    Well, Oracle offered about 3x the prevailing Sun stock price, so the Sun shareholders have done well. At least, well in relative terms--- some probably still lost money, but there was really not much else on the horizon that was looking likely to triple Sun's stock price. Before Oracle came along, the just-over-$3.00 stock was almost mocking its owners with its stock ticker of JAVA, an anachronism from the days that Sun management thought Java would somehow make them rich.

    Coincidentally, for public companies, if you make a really good offer to stockholders (something >2x the current stock price usually qualifies), it's usually an offer the buyout target will find hard to refuse. That's the tradeoff you make when you IPO a company and put its ownership in the hands of the stockowning public.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @08:26AM (#31257996)

    ZFS has been ported to FreeBSD 2 years ago. It's quite stable there by now and there are people using FreeBSD with ZFS on mission critical servers. Big ones too.

    Just, a few features are missing, since FreeBSD does not have bits for it in kernel(sharesmb and shareiscsi properties do nothing in FreeBSD since the kernel does not have native suport for serving those protocols, you'll have to installa samba and create widnows shares the old way).

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @08:28AM (#31258006) Homepage

    Well, soundblaster used to be a de-factor standard for sound boards but that seems to have gone by the wayside and now there are a load of different varieties again. Same with VGA graphics - but then the 3D revolution brought along a slew of different boards that all required different drivers. Its also a mystery to me why at least a common base standard can't be thrashed out for common components but I guess it would be like herding cats with all the vested interests out there.

  • by smash ( 1351 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @09:54AM (#31258578) Homepage Journal
    Opensolaris works *just fine* in a vmware virtual machine. Which includes workstation (testing, playtime), ESX clusters, etc.

    And virtualisation is a big deal. Who cares what hardware the OS supports, so long as it can run under a hypervisor, which supports your actual hardware?

  • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:29AM (#31258988) Homepage

    One of the major problems is that ZFS was designed as a huge blob of interdependent code, or in other words the complete opposite of the layered Linux VFS design. Even if they hadn't intentionally gone with an incompatible license it would still be a nightmare to port into the kernel, and that's effort that could be spent doing far more productive things (Btrfs, Tux3, Reiser4 etc.)

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:54AM (#31259258) Homepage Journal

    There is ARM on the low end. The new ARM chips are getting faster and faster and compete well with the Atom right now for speed and blow them away for power consumption.
    I would love to see an OMAP4 or Tegra 2 ITX board with enough sims slots for a few gigs of ram and a few SATA connectors.
    Would make a great little NAS, SAN, or even small database server.

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:39PM (#31260686) Homepage

    And some other Solaris tech. Heck, they should GPL the whole thing and get a group of engineers to port the juiciest morsels of it to Linux. That way, Solaris going away would be much less of a loss, and Linus would be a happy man (he said, half-jokingly, he wants Solaris to die :-).

  • Re:FUD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:16PM (#31262198)

    Extended support is not standard support, and not available under the same terms as the original support agreement. You can always attempt to negotiate with a software vendor to provide you support for an EOL product, if you're willing to pay enough extra they will do it.

    Microsoft releases SOME security fixes for wormable/remote code-execution issues for free, but not other bugfixes. And they are releasing these as a good internet citizen, not to provide general support XP users.

    Examples of security bugs they won't patch are remote DoS MS doesn't think will run arbitrary code: Evidence MS09-048, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to this update []:

    If Windows XP is listed as an affected product, why is Microsoft not issuing an update for it? By default, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3, and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2 do not have a listening service configured in the client firewall and are therefore not affected by this vulnerability.

    Another good example of what they won't do is release an update to fix 'daylight savings time' [] again if the US government changes the rules again this year or next year.

    Customers who prefer to have a hotfix may be able to purchase DST updates for affected Microsoft products in Extended Support via an Extended Hotfix Support (EHS) contract. A single fee of $4,000 covers all available DST hotfixes for the current calendar year.

    In other words, you have to sign up with the extended support and pay the additional fees per system for the extended support, AND in addition to that pay $4000 to get the DST fix.

    At this point you are not getting standard, general, or common support for your product. You are paying/contracting Microsoft to do something for you on an individual basis.

    If you pay them a big enough amount of $$ as in millions, or billions, they'd probably be willing to make DOS 5.0 or Windows 3.1 patches for you.

    But that's not what we're talking about... Sun's web pages indicate the general support is ending, and Windows XP general support is over and done with.

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:30AM (#31282068) Homepage

    Oracle is the primary driving force behind btrfs, which is a ZFS-like next generation FS for Linux. Now that they own ZFS, continuing development of btrfs makes far less sense.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen