Quick thoughts on the (possible) demise of OpenSolaris

Quick thoughts on the (possible) demise of OpenSolaris

Summary: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that the "writing is on the wall.


Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that the "writing is on the wall. OpenSolaris is on its way out." Is it really? And what does that mean for the FOSS landscape?

It makes more sense for Oracle to fully embrace Linux. A well-organized transition from Solaris/OpenSolaris to Linux -- where Oracle redeploys the Solaris folks to working on Linux and trying to merge some of the better features of Solaris into Linux, would be a fantastic boon for the FOSS community.

That's not what Vaughan-Nichols is predicting, though:

I can't imagine that Oracle will announce that it's actually killing OpenSolaris off. What I'm very much afraid I see happening is that Oracle is going to let OpenSolaris-and other non-core to Oracle Sun projects like MySQL and VirtualBox -- wither and die on the vine without corporate support. Their staffers will be either reassigned or laid-off.

I really, really hope I'm wrong. I know a lot of people in these departments, and while we haven't always seen eye to eye, I think they're some of Sun's best and brightest people. Unfortunately, in this economy, simply being great at your job is often no longer enough to draw a paycheck.

I hope he's wrong too. I don't agree that all of the non-core projects would "die on the vine," -- VirtualBox and MySQL could be carried by the community, even if Oracle decides to leave those projects completely. In general, I have very mixed feelings about OpenSolaris.

But, the project and the people working on it deserve more respect than for it to "die on the vine," without Oracle declaring its intent. The community deserves a roadmap. If the community that Sun has built up is willing to carry the project, Oracle owes them at least the benefit of a smooth transition.

Further, if Oracle won't communicate clearly on its plans regarding FOSS projects under its control, it undermines its efforts in other projects. Surely Oracle is wiser than this, and would (if it decides to withdraw from OpenSolaris) put some effort into addressing the OpenSolaris community and letting them pick up the pieces.

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Oracle, Software

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  • Where's the news?

    All I see here is a blog post from someone who says that people working on OpenSolaris are worried about the future. What else is new?

    Above and beyond that, the post is pure speculation. He's afraid OpenSolaris is going to "die on the vine." So am I, but I don't have any information leading me to believe that it is or isn't.

    If he had reported that Oracle is reassigning Sun developers away from Solaris, then that would be a story, but instead he just posts that Sun developers are worried about being reassigned. So what?

    I'm not crazy about Oracle's strategy of zero disclosure and transparency about their plans for MySQL, OpenSolaris, Netbeans, etc., but a couple months after Sun's not yet completed acquisition is a little soon to start ringing the funeral bells for Sun's properties.

    The blog post to which this article links is sensationalistic and not newsworthy, as far as I can tell.
    • Well personally

      Oracle have a gold mine in its hand.
      here why

      1 they are oracle ( they have the largest database shiity yet)

      2 they have sun software
      a open solaris/solaris/sun os
      b MySQL the bastard evil twin to oracle ( i love it )
      c they have all the rest that belong to sun

      3 they have sun hardware sparc processor
      and all there hardware

      If you add up everything
      you turn oracle from a software company to oracle COMPLETE MOFO total package in a box that they control now

      No more ms no more uncontrolled hardware .....
      they control the chain from a to z .

      and if they very intelligent they give away as much as possible to open source so a vast aarmy of MS hated work there ass of for they new best friend . Oracle because they will provide free / secure /open operating system ........

      Think about it. you ask for oracle. they sell you the complete package software /hardware /os all in there control and with the support at expensive fee ( after all its not everybody who can use solaris at the moment :)

      No open solaris is not going away it will become a nice thing to play with .... a thorn in MS butt and if well played a excellent OS .....

      Only time will tell we live in interesting time
  • RE: Quick thoughts on the (possible) demise of OpenSolaris

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols doesn't know what he is talking about. OpenSolaris die? I don't think so. It offers better security and stability than what linux could ever offer. Not to mention the containers have been a huge asset for anyone who has deployed it.

    I think he fears that Oracle may kill off any linux support and push the OpenSolaris OS instead so he creates a FUD article. That type of thing is typical for people like him. If you think about it OpenSolaris has more going for it than linux, it has the Solaris brand name which has proven to be stable unlike linux, and it has a huge company backing behind it.
    Loverock Davidson
    • i have to be honest its a first we agree on something argggh

      i gonna throw-up i can believe it argggg
      i agree with loverock i will have to wash my brain with fuel and set it on fire just to be sure ......
      • He actually has some valid points

        With the exception of he has never substantiated the instability of Linux. Still, make sure you get the scrub brush all the way to the back folds and crevices. You don't want to risk bacterial festering.
        Viva la crank dodo
        • the hard part was the eardrum menbrane

          once passed it the steal brush did miracle thx you

          i do feel light headed and have a bit of a tendencies to drool a lots but that was a small price to pay for agreeing with loverock

          thx you :)

          next step cutting both hands for having typed the text that agreed with loverock :)
    • OpenSolaris replacing Linux at Oracle?

      What a shill! [i]"I think he fears that Oracle may kill off any linux support and push the OpenSolaris OS instead so he creates a FUD article. That type of thing is typical for people like him. If you think about it OpenSolaris has more going for it than linux, it has the Solaris brand name which has proven to be stable unlike linux, and it has a huge company backing behind it."[/i]

      I hope your masters pay you enough to justify your suspension of logic, Lovey!

      From SJVN's article:

      [i]"This can't come as much of a surprise. Edward Screven, Oracle's Chief Corporate Architect, said last year, ""Oracle definitely runs on Linux. We have very few servers in our infrastructure that are not Linux; that support, you know, internal IT systems, very few. And even the ones that continue to exist are on a plan to be phased out. So we definitely run our business on Linux. In fact, I mean, our entire IT infrastructure is Linux, our entire development infrastructure as well. So, you know, our development platform is Oracle Enterprise Linux. Our test platform is Oracle Enterprise Linux."[/i]

      Sure - Oracle's going to rip out their entire infrastructure - internal servers and development platforms - and replace it with OpenSolaris? Is this your attempt at reading between the lines?

      If anything, Oracle is probably going to take the best parts of OpenSolaris - say ZFS (once it's cleared its patent spiff) - and and re-license it from CDDL to GPL for inclusion in the Linux kernel.
      • well nice but not enough

        well you see now they own sun which is by far more professional base than any linux out there ....

        If they wanna wanna keep linux server at Oracle there choice ..... but to provide too client well solaris is the way ...

        Stable , well used, 10+ years of usage not to mention that they also have sun hardware ....

        now Oracle own the complete package to sell to database user here you have everything os/hardware/software all in a nice bottle enjoy .

        now that you mention it zfs that rock
        so solaris /open solaris is there to stay .... my only consern is about if opensolaris will keep on been free or not
      • On a whole other tangent...

        Maybe the oracle buyout of Sun explains why Apple dropped ZFS from Snow Leopard. I guess Sun told Apple or something that that was going to happen.
  • RE: Quick thoughts on the (possible) demise of OpenSolaris

    People keep forgetting the Solaris technologies (e.g. DTrace, ZFS, etc.) that Linux and others clone once Sun releases them as open source. Solaris/SunOS has been "battle"-tested in the commercial environment since late 1980's while Linux (while having no warranty and no guaranteed quality of service) was growing from some-ones bedroom and only getting into a company through the back-door (pre-IBM days). How mature is Linux' multhithreading/SMP/big-iron technology ? Solaris' kernel design is multi-threaded based so that this kernel could satisy real-world production needs.

    Also, people say that Oracle is a "Linux" company but that is more at the sales front. Does Oracle actually have their own kernel engineers doing significant work on Linux kernel land ?
    With Oracle's recent purchase of Sun's assets, it has the kernel engineers, etc. for (Open)Solaris in addition to interfacing with the OpenSolaris community. I would argue, form the point of view of operating system IP (intellectual property) that Oracle is more of a Solaris company.

    If Linuw were the be-all/end-all then why is it that Linux supporters HP-UX and IBM still push their proprietary UNIX operating systems in addition to the UNIX-clone called Linux ?

    Obviously Linux does not cater for everybody's needs and that
    these UNIX operating systems (including (Open)Solaris) offer benefit.

    People should realise the positive effect of Linux on Sun.
    i.e. It made Sun go back to it's root and open-source a wonderful code-base/OS called OpenSolaris.

    FYI, I am talking from the point of view as an OpenSolaris user and OpenSolaris C++ (SunStdio) application developer.

    Cade Foster
  • Here we go again

    Fortunately, Ben Rockwood hits the nail on the head, as usual:

  • RE: Quick thoughts on the (possible) demise of OpenSolaris

    Given Oracles VERY long history of wanting control and own EVERYTHING it would make more sense that the rumor is probably Linux guys trying to save their bacon at Oracle central.

    Which do you think is more likely given Oracle's past:

    1: Give up (Open)Solaris that it will 100% own and control and makes gazillions of $$$$ off of yearly in massive enterprise environments.

    2: Give up an OS that it can't control and has to bow to others wishes?

    Given Oracle's track record I would vote #2 over #1...