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Sun Announces Open Solaris

OS Source Code Released

Sun has taken what it considers a third step in the evolution of its Unix-based Solaris OS. Its first step, in the 90s, was to develop the OS from its Sun OS roots, moving to the forefront of the advanced OS industry. Its second step was to offer a right-to-use license, which it says has "(driven the) adoption of over 1.6 million licenses of the operating system."

Now Sun has released the Solaris OS source code as an open source project, known as the OpenSolaris Operating System (OpenSolaris OS). The OpenSolaris OS is available for both the SPARC platform and x86 and x64 platforms.

The OpenSolaris OS project "will enable new and innovative ways to use the operating system," Sun says. It also lists three major goals related to this announcement:

  • Distribute the OpenSolaris OS more widely
  • Stimulate innovation
  • Create new business opportunities for Solaris OS users and Sun partners



Sun is consistently criticized for its attempts to tightly control its Java programming language, for not adapting to the Linux OS movement, and in general for being a proprietary solutions company. Sun CEO has also had a seeming fixation on Microsoft and its "closed" Windows environment, despite the recent year-long rapprochement between the two companies.

Yet, the company maintains that it has "a strong heritage of supporting open standards and open source." In its Open Solaris announcement, the company says "Sun strengthens its commitment to open source software--opening up millions of lines of source code and providing a platform for developers to collaborate and share ideas."

The OpenSolaris source code includes the core operating system, networking, system libraries, and commands--and all of what Sun calls " the key innovations delivered in the Solaris 10 OS." A few links provided by the company include:

Sun says it plans to open source other components of the Solaris OS--such as the installation tools--and will continue to work to open up code that remains encumbered by third parties. At the same time, Sun maintains its commitment to the Solaris 10 Operating System and continues to use the same proven life cycle development process and quality testing.

Sun is also saying that  "community involvement and input is crucial to success of the OpenSolaris OS program," and is directing developers to visit OpenSolaris.org to learn more. 

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