The flurry of recent Linux PC announcements illustrates renewed hope that the open source desktop has a better shot in this economic climate.
Sun is hoping its own open source Unix desktop has better prospects, too. On Wednesday, Sun announced an upgrade of its OpenSolaris OS as well as a new subscription model and an OEM deal with Toshiba. As part of that deal, Toshiba plans to pre-install OpenSolaris on laptops beginning in early 2009.
This week, Sun announced a significant upgrade of that OS that features a new graphical user interface for its ZFS file system, an updated package manager, new Automated Installer application, a “Distro Constructor” for creating custom images and a storage feature dubbed Comstar Storage Framework that allows partners to create an open storage server with OpenSolaris.
Sun also announced two subscription models – a production model and new Essentials option – that makes support more affordable for the business masses.
The OpenSolaris project was announced in 2005 but the full OpenSolaris OS for server and desktop shipped last May.
Is vendor optimism for Linux and OpenSolaris warranted? According to Net Applications, Sun’s proprietary Solaris and open source OpenSolaris collectively own a miniscule .01 percent share of the operating system market. Linux, for its part, only owns .83 percent market share.