ZFS - Building, Testing, and Benchmarkingby Matt Breitbach on October 5, 2010 4:33 PM EST
Demise of OpenSolaris?
You may have heard some troubling news about the fate of OpenSolaris recently. Based on some of the rumors floating around, you might think OpenSolaris is going away, never to be seen again. Admittedly, OpenSolaris has never been an open source project in quite the same way that Linux has. Sun launched the OpenSolaris project to help promote its commercialware Solaris product. Sun seemed to do a decent job of managing the OpenSolaris project, but Sun is no longer in charge. The project is now at the mercy of Oracle.
The OpenSolaris Governing Body (OGB) has struggled to get Oracle to continue to work with the OpenSolaris project. Oracle’s silent treatment has gotten so bad that the OGB threatened to dissolve itself and return control of the OpenSolaris community to Oracle on August 23 if Oracle did not appoint a liaison to the community by August 16, 2010. It is pretty safe to assume that Oracle, clearly a for profit company, would benefit more from allowing the OGB to dissolve. That would give Oracle the option to do what ever they wanted with OpenSolaris, including simply killing the project.
At this point, two possible outcomes seem the most likely. One possible outcome is that Oracle will continue to offer OpenSolaris but will tighten its grip over the direction of the project. Perhaps Oracle would use the opportunity to make some technical changes within OpenSolaris to limit the scope of the product so as not to compete directly with commercialware offerings.
The other outcome is that a fork will occur in the project, possibly resulting in several different projects. Regardless of Oracle, OpenSolaris appears to be living on through the Illumos project located at http://www.illumos.org/ - There hasn't been much activity yet in the Illumos project, but it's only been announced for a few weeks. We will be closely monitoring this to see if it will be a suitable replacement for OpenSolaris. Illumos was initiated by Nexenta employees in collaboration with OpenSolaris community members and volunteers. While Nexenta does sponsor some of the work, Illumos is independent of Nexenta. Illumos aims to be a common base for multiple community distributions. It is run by the community on a system of meritocracy. Distributions like Nexenta, Belenix and Schillix will move to using Illumos as the base for their distributions, and other distributions have shown interest as well.
Personally, I don’t think the situation is as dire as some people suggest. Oracle now owns MySQL as well as OpenSolaris, yet millions of us continue to use these products. If Oracle does over exert control to the point that it chokes off these open source products, then we can always resort to forking the code and getting behind the new open source projects.
As far as using OpenSolaris, I don’t see Oracle’s ownership as a reason to give up on using OpenSolaris. If you are considering deploying a ZFS based
A final note on the possible demise of OpenSolaris is that OpenSolaris may now be officially dead. According to an internal Oracle announcement that was posted into some mailing lists, Oracle is killing off OpenSolaris and replacing it with Solaris 11 Express. Additionally, Oracle claims they will continue to release open source snapshots of Solaris after each major release instead of releasing nightly builds, but that does not sound like a typical open source project.