Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Solaris 11, illumos and the source

Over a year ago Oracle closed the source for OpenSolaris, leaving contributors outside of Oracle left in the cold. That was a huge problem for the adoption of Solaris which had finally begun to rise again. Recently Solaris 11 was released, but without the source, this was likewise a huge problem, but now also for enterprise customers who are using and paying for Solaris. DTrace have lost part of it's value for Solaris 11 compared to the now dead OpenSolaris.

A perhaps even large problem is that when Oracle closed Solaris, many, many of the core developers left Oracle. Several of them now works outside of Oracle contributing to illumos, but these changes can not be ported back into Solaris 11 as long as Oracle keeps the source closed.

Solaris 11 has features not available in illlumos, but I chose to use illumos instead of Solaris 11 since I have access to the source and I am not locked to one OS-distribution. Also the licensing for Solaris 11 does not allow me to use it for small deployments without buying a whole support contract. If I "upgrade" a zpool to use new features available only in Solaris 11 I will be unable to import the pool using the free ZFS implementation that in illumos based distributions such as OpenIndiana or Nexenta or other operating systems such as FreeBSD.

I think this is a terrible move by Oracle, not only are the alienating new customers, they are also locking out great engineers who have implemented revolutionary features into Solaris. As Bryan Cantrill pointed out in his LISA '11 speech, Oracle has not made any official announcement about what they have done to OpenSolaris or what their future plans for the source are, this is very troubling and ignorant.

Solaris 11 is a great OS but it being treated terribly by Oracle, Oracle seems to think that the best way to make a profit out of Solaris is to keep it closed for everyone else, I don't agree.


Martin Englund said...

I'm sure you are aware that the Solaris 11 source somehow ended up on TPB ;)


Henkis said...

Yes, I am not entirely sure that it was an official release by Oracle ;) It's sadly not of much use to illumos before Oracle makes a public statement about it or release it in some other more conventional way.

Ade said...

I'm sure there are copies on the Net Somewhere.

Henkis said...

Ade: So I'we heard, but you can hardly port things into illumos from that unless Oracle states that the release is intentional and the code is still under CDDL?

gebi said...

Does it matter if oracle released the sourcecode on purpose if it is still cddl?

Anyway, the real damage has already been done...
If illumos implements features also found in solaris11 and eg. oracle accuses illumos of sourcecode theft.

Tom said...

It's really sad what has happened to Solaris since Oracle came.

I work in a Solaris shop as a Solaris sysadmin. We have Sparc IV servers and just added x86. We have a few x86 workstations, but we mostly have Sparc workstations. We get parts on eBay.

We use Zones heavily on the servers. We're looking at Solaris on the desktop, but frankly, I can't see the advantage over Windows. I'm a Unix bigot, having used SunOS 4.1.3, Irix, Ultrix, etc.

We don't buy support from Oracle. The powers that be thought it wasn't worth it before. When we have done warranty work on new systems, it's been painful dealing with Oracle. Why do we want to pay more for lousy service when we wouldn't pay less for good service?

If we didn't use Zones, I don't see us continuing with Solaris. I see Linux.

As for illumos, I think it will sadly become like FreeBSD. I hope I'm wrong.

grepped said...

@Tom: could you please clarify what you mean by becoming like FreeBSD?