Watching OpenSolaris: What's the Story?

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 29, 2010

Oracle needs to start coming clean about its plans for OpenSolaris. Even after the close of the Sun deal, very little is being said about OpenSolaris and with Oracle tightening restrictions on Solaris 10, the company needs to come clean with the community.

As of last week, Oracle put the kibosh on unrestricted use of Solaris 10. According to InfoWorld's Savio Rodrigues, Oracle has added a clause to the Solaris Entitlement Document to restrict use of Solaris 10 to a 90-day trial. Previously, Sun had specified no restriction.

There's not much information on the OpenSolaris Web site concerning upcoming releases. The OpenSolaris folks still at Oracle that I've pinged directly have not said that the plug is being pulled, but it's clear that there's no word from above that the project is safe. When it comes to corporate communications, no news is very rarely good news. It usually means that no decision has been made, or the company is hoping that it can just say nothing and receive less criticism as long as nothing is definitive.

One of the concerns I've always had about OpenSolaris is the fact that it's been stewarded by a single entity. First Sun, now Oracle. Individual Linux distros can come and go, but the overall community can continue even if one of the major vendors decides to stop producing a distro. OpenSolaris, however, is largely dependent on one vendor and that's not a good thing. The OpenSolaris community folks have done a decent job of building community around OpenSolaris, but I'm not convinced that it would stand alone if Oracle pulls the plug.

But it has to be extremely difficult to be on the community side of OpenSolaris these days, with few clear answers to give the community. The community and former Sun employees deserve better. Oracle should stop the speculation and give an outright answer about its intentions regarding OpenSolaris.