OpenSolaris versus Solaris

January 19, 2010

Discussions about Solaris often wind up bringing up OpenSolaris (and sometimes it crops up in other contexts). However, I do not find OpenSolaris particularly interesting.

My view is that right now, OpenSolaris is essentially a technology demonstrator. You can't use OpenSolaris by itself, because it lacks sufficient support to use it directly and sufficient genuine openness for sensible people to base stable things on it. You can't use it as the future of Solaris, because I'm not aware of any commitment from Sun that OpenSolaris (at some point) will be Solaris 11; instead I expect them to pick and choose elements of OpenSolaris, whenever they decide that it's time to create Solaris 11. So if you like something in OpenSolaris, it's possible that it will show up in Solaris but quite possible that it won't.

(The Oracle acquisition throws a great deal of uncertainty in all of this, too.)

As a technology demonstrator, OpenSolaris is interesting to people who care enough about where Sun is going to peer at the the tea leaves in an attempt to learn something, anything, about what's coming. I do not fall in this category; we are not that invested in Sun, despite appearances.

Now, this is in some ways a very pessimistic views, as there are specific pieces of OpenSolaris that regularly migrate to Solaris proper. For example, ZFS changes move over on a reasonably regular schedule, so OpenSolaris is a decent way to get a preview of what you will be able to do in Solaris within a year or two. However, for larger scale changes (such as fixing Solaris's packaging system) I feel that this definitely applies.

The shorter version: OpenSolaris is to Solaris as Fedora is to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, except that OpenSolaris is not as useful or as interesting as Fedora.

Thus, 'fixed in OpenSolaris' is for me not very much of a positive development with things that are wrong in Solaris. Things in OpenSolaris may or may not go anywhere that's actually interesting to me, and they'll only be real solutions when they're in Solaris itself.

Written on 19 January 2010.
« More on mismatched sectors on Linux software RAID mirrors
One of the things that killed network computers (aka thin clients) »

Page tools: View Source, Add Comment.
Login: Password:
Atom Syndication: Recent Comments.

Last modified: Tue Jan 19 01:49:01 2010
This dinky wiki is brought to you by the Insane Hackers Guild, Python sub-branch.