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Solaris 10 in the news: week 1

November 25, 2004

It’s been just over a week since we officially launched Solaris 10 and the reactions from the press have been all over the map. Consider these two declarations:

Not many open source aficionados will realize the impact, but by making Solaris 10 free and capable of operating on any kind of hardware, Sun is making a coup in the server market.

As a result Linux will probably not grow much beyond its current market share of about 10% leaving Red Hat and especially Novell with a big problem.


Sun’s announcement of the launch of free open source Solaris 10 has garnered a mild positive response from the investment community. However it also has raised a lot of skepticism from the technical community. The current plans are not good enough.


In case you didn’t notice the URLs: those are the same guy posted about 20ns apart. Why the sudden reversal? slashdot! Yes, the Linus-loyal quickly rose to Linux’s defence citing the multitude of reasons Open Solaris will fail.

It will be a while before anyone knows the relative success or failure of Open Solaris — we’re not even sure of the terms of the license — so this is last challenge I’m going to rise to. But look: the Linux that exists today is a direct result literally and philosophically of its community. And while Solaris has so far been developed by a closed community, it also reflects the timbre of that community. For example: Linux adheres to a spartan philosophy of debugging help — ergo no crash dumps; Solaris takes a different tack — we require projects to come with debugger commands to examine crash dumps. It’s the community that defines the project and, as is evident, it’s the community that defends it, but don’t discount the very real Solaris community.

The dumbest slight is against Solaris’s hardware compatabiIity: do you think Linux always ran on as much stuff as it does now? Of course not. A month ago, did Solaris run on the (sick) new laptop I’m typing this on? Nope. The hardware these two operating systems support doesn’t define their communities, bur rather the reverse. When people can hack up Solaris to work on their gear, they will just as they’ve been doing on Linux for years.

I can’t wait for the license to be announced, for to open for bidness, and to have people start contributing code from outside of Sun. Does anyone really doubt that these things will happen? The only question is if Open Solaris will take off — wait and see.

4 Responses

  1. Adam, Other than licenses please get some C/C++ compilers available out-of-the box with Solaris. It seems paradoxical that whilst Jonathan/Scott are targetting developers with OpenSolaris/Solaris 10 with free RTU’s. They aren’t providing compilers out of the box. Sun has eliminated price as a comparision issue with Redhat. Don’t let the compiler be the stumbling box. Also, make the compiler available on both Solaris 10 as well as OpenSolaris.
    On the GCC list, I see a lot of Solaris 10 patches coming out from Code Sourcery (Joseph Myers/Mark Mitchell). I don’t know if they are doing it on their own or they are contracted by Sun and whether GCC 3.4.x is going to be the system compiler or would it be Sun’s own compiler (just the command line).

  2. Right. We really want to give the compilers away with Open Solaris. At the very least, you’ll be able to use our compilers free to build Solaris itself. It sucks — we’re trying to fix it. And yes, we’re sponsoring Code Sourcery for their AMD64 stuff. That might not be public… so don’t tell anyone.

  3. As a systems researcher, I am very excited about the possibility of being able to take advantage of the very advanced and professional suite of OS level advances put forth by the Solaris developer base. Linux is great, but is geared toward catching up with Windows rather than making real OS level advances. It also suffers from a developer base that is too fractured and dispersed to put together anything coherent. Solaris does not have that disadvantage. If efforts can be organized in the way they have for Mozilla and other large but focused OSS projects, Solaris will still look professional after having hundreds hack on it.
    Linux grew to what it is today after starting from much less. It did so mainly becuase people wanted a free alternative, but Solaris is perfectly poised to become so much more than Linux. Add some special native Java tools and you have the ability to actually make money from it as well.

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