Thursday, June 16, 2005

OpenSolaris 1.0 - why it matters

Only a few days ago (June 14th, in fact), OpenSolaris was released by Sun Microsystems to the public. Totaling approximately 10 million line of code, this is Sun's foray into open source with a major project release. Some said they could never do it, some even said they would never actually go through with it. Yet, here I am downloading the source code for Open Solaris 1 (based on Solaris 10) as I write this entry. What I am going to do with the source code, I haven't decided yet. I may explore the secret life of the OpenSolaris source code, as covered by Renai LeMay for ZDNet Australia.

Unfortunately, it seems that OpenSolaris has been receiving a "so what?!" attitude by many since this initiative was first announced. I think this move is not only an important step by Sun to adapt to change, but I think it's good for the entire open source environment, especially Linux. There is a lot that Sun has learned from Linux, and there is still much that Linux can learn from Solaris.

Instead of an apathetic or cynical response to Sun's move, why not look for the benefit this will bring to our entire community? We have one of the largest technology companies willing to participate through the release of one of its most valuable intellectual property assets - its operating system. Choice is a good thing. OpenSolaris is an open source operating system, joining the ranks of the various Linux and BSD derivatives. This will promote continued innovation in open source operating systems.

Jonatthan Schwartz, the President of Sun, posted a blog entry himself on the launch of OpenSolaris, reflecting upon how proud he is to have been involved in this project. Sun has been a supporter of open source in the past, but not in such a direct way.

Jonathan, thank you for participating.

PS: I don't think open source is free, like a puppy is free - bad analogy. This is what Jonathan's boss, Scott McNealy, was quoted as saying recently.

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