Monday, April 19, 2010

Could OpenSolaris survive on its own?

Recently there have been some discussion about creating a community maintained fork of OpenSolaris, this is of course caused by the frustration of Oracles failure both to release 2010.03 or even provide any information on the release.

I think this is a very bad idea for several reasons, first of all the OpenSolaris community lacks the people and knowledge to keep OpenSolaris competitive in the future. There are several good contributors that have made huge difference, but the majority of the developers are paid by Oracle and they stand for most of the innovation and code contribution in ON.

Secondly, making yet another distribution based on the fork could make it harder for software vendors and companies to embrace OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris is not big enough to get fragmented and needs all the resources focused.

I think it's high time for Oracle to both release the next version and publish what the intend to do with OpenSolaris. They are only losing community members and potential customers. OpenSolaris in itself might not make so much money in it's current state, but it does introduce people to Solaris. The people who are discovering OpenSolaris today might someday want a enterprise operating system at their company. That was something that Sun did quite well before the bubble, putting Solaris in the universities. And besides, OpenSolaris provides a huge amount of beta testers for Solaris and Oracles current and upcoming appliances.


Giovanni said...


The OpenSolaris ecosystem is not big enough to afford fragmentation. However the organization, rules and restrictions imposed seem to do just that. See how many messages you get saying "want it this way? you can create your own distro" or "the code base is open source, you can work on your own changes and publish them somewhere".

It doesn't happen often but shows a different attitude. I think we all (oracle and community) should work together to aggregate efforts, not fragment them. Part of it is Oracle allowing more real community participation and the community itself offering more contributions to things that look like closed efforts, like Indiana. I agree with jimgriz, work speaks louder than words.

Þór said...

I applaud your ideas. But what it really takes is just the tiniest amount of communication on Oracles behalf.

Unfortunately, that's not happening, which is the main cause of uproar.