There are currently two OpenSolaris distributions: Sun Microsystems' Solaris Express Community Release, and German developer Joerg Schilling's SchilliX. While Sun's version combines the OpenSolaris core with extra proprietary code to build a complete operating system, SchilliX is completely based on open source software.
Schilling made it clear on an OpenSolaris mailing list last week how he felt about differences between the two.
The developer said he had complained to Sun about the fact the OpenSolaris code could not be compiled without first pre-installing Sun proprietary software.
Schilling said technically there was only one OpenSolaris distribution -- his own -- and so it could even be called the reference distribution.
"If you are talking about properties of OpenSolaris," he said, "I encourage you to talk about SchilliX."
The developer further said he thought discussion on the list should not focus on features found only in Sun's version but not in the OpenSolaris code itself.
"Do not confuse OpenSolaris with the Sun Solaris distribution," he wrote. "This is an OpenSolaris mailing list."
"Making conclusions about OpenSolaris from observations done on Sun Solaris is not OK, because Sun Solaris currently differs more from OpenSolaris than SchilliX does."
However Schilling's comments drew immediate fire from Sun developers.
"While I appreciate the work that has gone into SchilliX (and it is quite a feat)," wrote Solaris kernel developer Eric Schrock, "I don't think we should be starting a distribution war on day 11 of OpenSolaris."
Schrock said developers should not equate either of the existing OpenSolaris derivatives with the OpenSolaris code, and that conversation between all versions and about any aspect of OpenSolaris should be encouraged.
"Just because it is not directly applicable to the OpenSolaris code or the advancement of SchilliX does not make it an unproductive conversation for the OpenSolaris community," he said.
A Sun developer, Eric Boutilier, said he strongly felt most people interested in OpenSolaris should be directed to Sun's Solaris Express distribution, as they would want a free and full-featured system with desktop environments like GNOME and KDE. SchilliX is currently unable to provide such functionality.