Leaked Internal Memo Reveals Oracle' Plans for OpenSolaris

Has Oracle Killed OpenSolaris?

Jessica Thornsby

A leaked internal memo, posted at the OpenSolaris forums, reveals that Oracle will no longer release source code prior to the Solaris release, and will replace OpenSolaris with Solaris 11 Express.

Has Oracle killed OpenSolaris? According to a reportedly
leaked internal memo, this could be the

Alasdair Lumsden has posted the memo at the OpenSolaris forums,
detailing “the path to Solaris 11” and the open source casualty
that’s fallen along the way.

For Solaris customers at least, the news is encouraging.
According to the memo, Oracle will make good on their promise to
increase investment in Solaris, by hiring new operating system
experts and encouraging all Solaris engineers to deliver
innovations that will increase the operating system’s value to

Oracle have a plan for fostering a “vibrant developer” community
around Solaris. This includes delivering open source code,
technical documentation and engineering upstream contributions to
common industry technologies, including Apache and Perl. However,
in the memo Oracle make it clear that Solaris is their number one
priority: source code will only be released, after the Solaris
version goes live. It is plainly stated that Oracle do not want to
risk enabling competitors to derive a business advantage from
Solaris developments, before Oracle itself has the opportunity to
reap the benefits.

But, what does this mean for the open source community in
practical terms? Moving forward, Oracle will continue to use the
CDDL license statement in “nearly all” the Solaris source code
files, and CDDL will not be removed from any Solaris files, to
which it already applies. Updates will only be distributed to CDDL
and other open source licensed code, following full releases of
Oracle’s enterprise Solaris operating system. This means that
source code will no longer be released in real-time during the
development process and that the OpenSolaris-based distros will
only be able to release their own versions of the codebase, after
Oracle’s own Solaris release.

There is one way to get your hands on some pre-release code, but
there’s one catch: you have to be an approved Oracle business
partner. Oracle will permit its partners full access to the
in-development source code, through the Oracle Technology Network.
However, even if you are a business partner, membership will still
be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Oracle do make some concession to the open source community, in
the form of ‘Solaris 11 Express,’which will be a Solaris 11 binary
distribution released under the RTU license. Existing OpenSolaris
enterprise users will be encouraged to migrate to this Solaris 11
Express release, although the memo implies that Oracle do not yet
have a clear strategy when it comes to migration.

With this strategy shake-up, Oracle are hoping to increase
Solaris adoption amongst their enterprise customers. Currently,
around 40% of Oracle’s enterprise customers use Solaris – this
translates to around 130,000 Oracle customers in North America who
don’t use Solaris, and is what the memo refers to as “a huge
opportunity” for Oracle.

This announcement isn’t a complete surprise; John Fowler has
previously stated that Solaris 11 is currently
scheduled for a 2011 release
and that Oracle will be firmly
focusing on this product in the future, which implied OpenSolaris
was in hot water. In related news, the
Illumos project
was launched earlier this month, which is
attempting to create a community maintained derivative of the
OpenSolaris ON source. How this latest development effects Illumos,
remains to be seen.


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