Friday, August 20, 2010

A new light

While the world of OpenSolaris has been pretty dark and dismal over the last 6 months, a new light has appeared.

The Illumos project, led by Garrett D'Amore, is bringing the OpenSolaris codebase truly into the open. Initially just the base system (ON - kernel and basic utilities), it will be free of encumbered code and capable of self-hosting.

Illumos itself is just a foundation, not a fully-fledged system. It can be taken by others as a basis for distributions and, indeed, there are already efforts to do so. While it's still early days, it's already about as close to being capable of being used to create an independent distribution as the original OpenSolaris source was.

The initial aim was for Illumos to be fully synchronized with the primary source from Oracle. It seems that Oracle have decided to remove themselves from the community by ceasing to make their code available. Such an ill-considered move hurts only Oracle: it frees the community from doubt, allowing it to move ahead freely, and removes any control that Oracle might have. (And it's clear that one thing that Oracle do want is control, so taking a step that eliminates their ability to control is somewhat strange.)

Elsewhere, Oracle's policy of radio silence towards the OpenSolaris community continues. Again, Oracle are harming themselves here - turning supporters into enemies, contributors into competitors. By working with the community rather than antagonizing it, they could have turned it into an asset. Now the outside energy and support that Oracle could have tapped into is being focused into Illumos and its related projects.

No comments: