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Quick thoughts on the (possible) demise of OpenSolaris

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that the "writing is on the wall.
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Written by Joe Brockmeier on

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.

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