OpenSolaris R.I.P.: The Day is Finally Here.

13 Aug '10 - 20:26 by benr

This is a real thing. This is not hype or idle rambling. OpenSolaris is, as of Friday the 13th of August, 2010, dead. Read the full skinny in the leaked internal email to Solaris Engineering.

Here is the short version: OpenSolaris is dead. No more real-time/nightly code pushes. OpenSolaris 2010.05 will not happen, nor will any in the future. Solaris 11 Express will be the new "developer" release which will be available through OTN. Solaris will remain open source, but code will only be released after the product ships, not before.

Now, lets go bit by bit.

Today we are announcing a set of decisions regarding the path to Solaris 11, and answering key pending questions on open source, open development, software and binary licenses, and how developers and early adopters will be able to use Solaris 11 technology before its release in 2011.

So, Solaris 11 is the new hotness and the "community" is reduced to "early adopters".

Solaris must stand alone as a best-of-breed technology for Oracle’s enterprise customers. We want all of them to think “If this has to work, then it runs on Solaris.” That’s the Solaris brand. That is where our scalability to more than a few sockets of CPU and gigabytes of DRAM matters.

This goes on for a while, but the message is clear. Solaris needs to not simply be another UNIX OS... it needs to be, as it was in the 90's, the enterprise platform of choice.

We will continue to grow a vibrant developer and system administrator community for Solaris. Delivery of binary releases, delivery of APIs in source or binary form, delivery of open source code, delivery of technical documentation, and engineering of upstream contributions to common industry technologies (such as Apache, Perl, OFED, and many, many others) will be part of that activity. But we will also make specific decisions about why and when we do those things, following two core principles: (1) We can’t do everything. The limiting factor is our engineering bandwidth measured in people and time. So we have to ensure our top priority is driving delivery of the #1 Enterprise Operating System, Solaris 11, to grow our systems business; and (2) We want the adoption of our technology and intellectual property to accelerate our overall goals, yet not permit competitors to derive business advantage (or FUD) from our innovations before we do.

This, really, isn't so bad. But again, no community, just end-users. A return to focus isn't a bad thing.

We will continue to use the CDDL license statement in nearly all Solaris source code files. We will not remove the CDDL from any files in Solaris to which it already applies, and new source code files that are created will follow the current policy regarding applying the CDDL (simply, that usr/src files will have the CDDL, and the very small minority of files in usr/closed might not have it).

Ok, so existing code will not be closed. So, no drastic change.

We will distribute updates to approved CDDL or other open source- licensed code following full releases of our enterprise Solaris operating system. In this manner, new technology innovations will show up in our releases before anywhere else. We will no longer distribute source code for the entirety of the Solaris operating system in real-time while it is developed, on a nightly basis.

So here is the killer... what I've been afraid of. No more nightly code. The upshot is that the code will still be available following releases to assist with DTracing, debugging, etc, but you won't get real-time updates. The biggest downside is that you can't see bug-fixes as they are put-back, and obviously anyone developing on Solaris is always playing catch up. It says "full release", so I can't expect that code will ship with each Express release. Maybe it will, I hope so.

It goes on to say that "technology partners" (such as Intel) will have full source access via OTN.

We will encourage and listen to any and all license requests for Solaris technology, either in part or in whole. All such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but we believe there are many complementary areas where new partnership opportunities exist to expand use of our IP.

This is a sticky place. Code is shipped CDDL post-release, however they want to establish partnership opportunities. Clearly they are trying to ensure any businesses which rely upon Nevada will not escape from the partner programs and thus revenue opportunities for Oracle.

We will deliver technical design information, in the form of documentation, design documents, and source code descriptions, through our OTN presence for Solaris. We will no longer post advance technical descriptions of every single ARC case by default, indicating what technical innovations might be present in future Solaris releases. We can at any time make a specific decision to post advance technical information for any project, when it serves a particular useful need to do so.

Flush... there goes ARC. So the external view into Solaris development is now closing. We now only see what they wish us to see.

We will have a Solaris 11 binary distribution, called Solaris 11 Express, that will have a free developer RTU license, and an optional support plan. Solaris 11 Express will debut by the end of this calendar year, and we will issue updates to it, leading to the full release of Solaris 11 in 2011.

So, back to the old days.

All of Oracle’s efforts on binary distributions of Solaris technology will be focused on Solaris 11. We will not release any other binary distributions, such as nightly or bi-weekly builds of Solaris binaries, or an OpenSolaris 2010.05 or later distribution. We will determine a simple, cost-effective means of getting enterprise users of prior OpenSolaris binary releases to migrate to S11 Express.

There is the axe on OpenSolaris, present and future. The distro isn't coming. No nightly. No BFU's.

We will have a Solaris 11 Platinum Customer Program, including direct engineering involvement and feedback, for customers using our Solaris 11 technology. We will be asking all of you to participate in this endeavor, bringing with us the benefit of previous Sun Platinum programs, while utilizing the much larger megaphone that is available to us now as a combined company.

And here we see again, its "back to the future" . Pay to play.

The Verdict

Frankly, I'm not surprised by any of this. Saddened, certainly, but not shocked. The sleigh ride is officially over.

As far as the community and governance is concerned, the OGB played right into Oracle hand. It might as well have been engineered this way. On Monday, the 16th, the OGB will disband and default on the charter. Great work guys! Thanks for truly representing the needs and desires of Ora...I mean, the community.

As a governance, OpenSolaris has been a non-stop, end to end failure. Hands down. At every turn, it failed.

As an open source project, it was luke warm at best.

What I will miss is having full access to Solaris Engineering. What's happening, where we're going. That was amazing. An all access pass. I will truly miss that.

The plus side is, that for all the ups-and-downs, the code is out there. They can't take that back. And we have reasonable assurances that it will stay out there following "full releases". That's not ideal, but its something. Something very valuable.

As for me... Illumos will now carry the torch, and I'll participate in that with all the more gusto. This blog existed prior to OpenSolaris and it will continue to be a Solaris blog after. Solaris is the best platform on earth, it continues to be, in any given form.

- - C O M M E N T S - -

> We will distribute updates to approved CDDL or other open source- licensed code following full releases of our enterprise Solaris operating system.

I’ll believe that when I see it.

Also, “approved” introduces some ambiguity; I have two possible interpretations of that sentence.

marsell - 13 August '10 - 20:35

“Solaris is the best platform on earth, it continues to be, in any given form.”
Amen to that brother. Could not have said better myself.

Andrei Tokarev (Email) - 13 August '10 - 20:44


Sad, sad news. My worst expectation for OpenSolaris was that Oracle would stop the binary distribution but would keep the source code open. But it seems that Oracle has finally turned the tap off completely.

Now, does it mean that Illumos should immediately stop spooning and start forking?

Let’s see, Illumos needs to
1. Get gcc tool chain to replace Sun Studio 12.
2. kcfd is a bitch. Any ideas? Does it mean that someone has to write a kcfd to OpenSSL adapter?
3. NFSd lock manager isn’t bad
4. Drivers aren’t bad, just copy and paste FreeBSD code.

Nexenta needs to do a PR soon, because I think this news would definitely affect their commercial NexentaStor product as well.

Any thoughts?

TS (Email) - 13 August '10 - 21:19

From Larry some time in May: “It’s picking the Sun technologies that are commercializable and focusing on those and ignoring those that are not”

Opensolaris was ignored and somehow we were all made to believe that it is not over yet. Well now it is. If I went with my take on what he said I would have been a few months into migrating. What about all the systems I still have running. No security updates etc. How can we trust another project. Illumos sounds like another science project. I do not think there will be enough buy in. Trust me I prefer Solaris/Opensolaris above all, but I put way too much stock in Opensolaris as a system to use and build services. I cannot trust Illumos and end up in the same state. I guess it is back to CentOS :( no ZFS :( Linux :( Not happy, but to wait to pay for Solaris 11 (what will the price be set at even??) Seems they only target the enterprise. Solaris 10 right now = no COMSTAR! not worth paying for it.
I just hope Oracle relax and allow ZFS to filter into Linux or BTRFS move forward faster. There is a time to give up and now is the time before hearts are broken all over again. Putting any trust in Illumos/Nexenta will be a waste of time.

wasting time - 13 August '10 - 23:13

TS: There IS Zfs for linux:

Alpha stage, but it can be finished.

george - 13 August '10 - 23:26

@ wastingtime, okay, don’t bother then.

Ben, Illumos does indeed shine new light, and now all the more so. Let’s make it happen!

Dave - 14 August '10 - 00:28

I’ll be honest, I’m surprised to see it go down like this. Of course it was always a possibility that Oracle would just pull the plug, bot somehow I didn’t think they’d really do it.

With the code walled off until after release, where are Illumos and Nexenta even going? Is there enough interest in Illumos from the sorts of people who could tackle such a huge engineering task as building a whole new system out of the opensolaris code? Or will it be stuck lagging behind Solaris proper by months or longer, ala Centos/RHEL?

I hope there’s a future for a community driven Solaris variant, I really do, but I worry that this really may be the end of the line.

JeremyT (Email) - 14 August '10 - 03:00

I agree with your various points, Ben, except for your views on the OGB. There have been enough opportunities for all of us to provide ideas and inputs on what we’d like the OGB to do, and they have accepted those inputs. Sure, they could have asked for a status about the distro and exposed the farce and didn’t, but I’m not sure if asking for the status of projects was within the charter. In any case, there were enough members asking about the status.

We’re all optimistic about illumos, so it might be best to stop this repeated infighting.

Sriram Narayanan (Email) (URL) - 14 August '10 - 05:05

Wrote an post – maybe publish it everywhere – hopefully oracle reads it:


Michael Widmann (Email) (URL) - 14 August '10 - 08:57

It is sad to see that happening. Along with the new patent war on Sun’s patents. What will be next? Oracle suing the Illumos and Nexenta projects? That doesn’t seem like a trustworthy development platform for open source engineering anymore…

amano (Email) - 14 August '10 - 12:14

You’ve been riding the OGB’s decision pretty hard. It had no bearing on Oracle’s strategy. I can’t imagine any action or inaction of the OGB in the last 6 months that would have caused a single word of the memo to be different. Personally, I’m fine with the ultimatium.

John (Email) - 14 August '10 - 19:07

Next will be OpenOffice and MySQL.

Qba - 14 August '10 - 22:20

In the past I took a decision to continue and use Linux and now I am happy I did so. This is a sad, OpenSolaris is a great OS.

I did the same choice with PostgreSQL and I encourage people to dump MySQL. First, its way better then MySQL.
Second, its less likely to be taken off the hands of the community.

Michael Ben-Nes (Email) (URL) - 15 August '10 - 14:51

I’m evaluating FreeBSD as an exit strategy. ZFS is a lot more mature there than on Linux, and the performance potential seems better since it’s in the kernel instead of in userspace.

Orv (Email) - 16 August '10 - 20:53

“So, Solaris 11 is the new hotness and the “community” is reduced to “early adopters”.”

Let’s face the harsh reality:

Solaris is too high-tech of an OS to be worked on by a bunch of “me toos” that will switch “distros” for whatever is fashionable these days.

There are very few people like Joerg Schilling, Masayuki Murayama, or Juergen Keil.

Most in the OpenSolaris “community” were really just trendy end-users, they weren’t professional system or kernel engineers; and Solaris kernel really does require that level of understanding and expertise to be worked on.

Next, I am really, truly happy to see that OpenSolaris, the distribution, is being ditched. It was a no-good Linux copycat attempt led by Comay, Miner and Walker who really don’t know what they are doing and did not listen to reason. /usr/gnu first in PATH, attempting to enhance all the SVR4 utilities to be GNU compatible, /bin/bash, IPS (with no preinstall, postinstall, preremove and postremove “actions”, as well as being a salad of Python and C, instead of pure C), they were and are all fiascos. Instead of visiting Snoracle biggest customers and doing case studies, those guys are in thir own little world, second guessing what the correct thing to do would be.

I’m also very happy that Solaris is back, and I applaud Oracle for having the good sense to reverse the “OpenSolaris is the way forward” decision.

Do I agree with all the conclusions which Oracle made? Most certainly not!

They should become a direct distributor, like DELL: it should be possible to buy support and hardware online, like one shops for books on Amazon.

Hardware from Oracle should be cheaper than from anyone else, but it isn’t.

Oracle does not seem to care about small and medium sized businesses, which hold the market majority.

UX-admin (Email) - 17 August '10 - 15:52

“Let’s see, Illumos needs to
1. Get gcc tool chain to replace Sun Studio 12.”


Sun Studio 12 u1 is the best compiler currently available on the market, and it’s free for download.

What technical reason could you possible have to replace something that can be downloaded free of charge, with a vastly inferior GNU compiler collection?

What nonsense!

UX-admin (Email) - 17 August '10 - 15:57

I agree that Sun Studio 12 u1 is the best compiler. Changing it over to gcc tool chain has nothing to do with performance, but rather has to do with the POWER of Control. The question is this: are we willing to sacrifice up to 10% of binary performance by changing from SS12 to GCC v4 to free ourselves from Oracle control completely? The answer is ABSOLUTELY.

“I’m also very happy that Solaris is back, and I applaud Oracle for having the good sense to reverse the “OpenSolaris is the way forward” decision.

I am not sure why you are so happy that OpenSolaris is killed. I am sure you have read my comment at regarding the 1200%+ Solaris support price increase for 8 socket servers and 600%+ price increase for 2S servers from the previous basic support. Hey, if you are willing to pay $1000-$2000 per socket per year, go ahead. Some of us here with a brain already knows that’s $80K dollars over 5 years for 8 socket servers, in other words, your efficiency just got halved by Oracle by using Solaris 10. That’s indeed a great reason to celebrate the “rebirth of Solaris 10” right?

TS (Email) - 19 August '10 - 10:50

@ben thanks for this post and a good perspective.

I think this is another step that Oracle is taking to do some house cleaning for their talent base. In a time like today’s market, when even NASA is fighting to attract talent, it looks like Oracle is channeling their engineering focus in what makes them money.

Am I supporting Oracle’s decision NO! but I can see the business reasons for it!

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