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The Fate of OpenSolaris

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The Fate of OpenSolaris

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For more than a month after the acquisition, there wasn't much news on the future of OpenSolaris.  When the Oracle website posted the "End of Service Life Status for OpenSolaris Operating System" document last week, some news outlets found an opportunity to cry 'murder'.  Oracle dispelled these rumors at the OpenSolaris Annual Meeting and laid out the details of the OpenSolaris roadmap.

Oracle executive Dan Roberts explained at the meeting that OpenSolaris community members have nothing to fear.  Peter Tribble, a contributor to both Solaris 10 beta and OpenSolaris, has said based on the meeting that the OpenSolaris death rumors were greatly exaggerated.  Roberts was quoted in his official capacity saying "Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source, and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the community."

Oracle representatives have stated that the page that started the rumors was simply a document to describe how the service life works.  It was not an End of Life announcement.  However, the Oracle spokesperson did see how someone could be confused by the language of the posting.  Oracle certainly doesn't need OpenSolaris since they already do plenty of business with Red Hat Linux, Windows, AIX, Ubuntu, and proprietary Solaris.

The meeting answered many other questions about Oracle's roadmap for OpenSolaris.  The company said it will continue to make OpenSolaris available in open source and it will actively support and participate in the OpenSolaris community.  Oracle also said that new releases of OpenSolaris will continue, including the OpenSolaris 2010.03 version, which is expected in the next few months.

Although Oracle said it would continue developing OpenSolaris in the open, they did mention that there may be certain things in the future that they don't want to open source, "similar to how MySQL manages certain value add at the top of the stack," said Roberts.  This isn't much of a change from Sun's historical position.  The closed source Fishworks add-ons are an example of this.  OpenSolaris delivery and developer contribution steps will remain mostly unchanged, said Roberts.  However, Oracle was vague language in one area of their explanations: Support.  "Oracle will ensure customers running OpenSolaris have an option for support on Oracle Sun Systems where it's required, though given the very little sales here this will not be something we expect many customers to deploy going forward. Solaris is our focus, on both SPARC and x86," said Roberts.  This leaves some concern for customers who need OpenSolaris support on 3rd-party systems.

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