Project Illumos Details

Fully Open Source Version of the Solaris Operating System

Jessica Thornsby

Project Illumos offer to contribute all of its reworkings to Oracle – IcedTea style!

After much speculation, the purpose of project Illumos has been revealed!

Illumos will attempt to create a fully open source version of
the Solaris operating system. The Illumos team plan to track the
source code changes to Oracle’s ON, and integrate these changes
into the Illumos code, whilst giving the community the opportunity
to contribute their own patches and bug fixes, for inclusion in
Illumos. The project will replace the closed Solaris binaries and
open the internationalisation libraries. The team also promise
binary compatibility with Solaris and OpenSolaris.

The project was initiated by employees of Nexenta in
collaboration with OpenSolaris community members and volunteers.
Nextentra does sponsor the project, but the Illumos website points out that Illumos is independent
of Nexenta. Nexenta, Belenix and Schillix plan to use Illumos as
the base for their distributions in the future.

Simon Phipps has praised Illumos’ stance as a ‘downstream open
source project,’ which will contribute upstream while remaining
independent. To him, this project has come at just the right time
for the community, and he does have a point. From the claims that

OpenSolaris is dead
and the only option is to fork it, to the
recent news that the OpenSolaris Governing Board came very close to

dissolving itself
, the mood within the community has become
increasingly despondent. And, by keeping the project quiet until
Illumos was ready to release a bootable version of ON, Illumos has
had the maximum impact on an increasingly disillusioned

Phipps draws paralles with Illumos and the IcedTea project’s
free, downstream of OpenJDK. Like Illumos, IcedTea contributed
everything upstream which, in Phipps’ opinion, is the reason why
OpenJDK eventually became a fully open source project. Illumos has
offered to contribute everything to Oracle, although only time will
tell whether this situation will play out like OpenJDK and

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