Though this has been brewing and in the light for some time, a solid base of source code and the first release of the now free operating system from Sun opened its doors today.
The company has been stating this is part of its strategy to build its business hoping to see an increase in sales of hardware and services (translated – IBM Business Model – not an unsuccessful one at that). What is perhaps more unspoken is its hope to compete with already established Linux distributors like RedHat.
Sun has chosen a fairly open method by starting with a group of independent developers from around the world who have worked quietly with Sun for much of the past year leading up to this release. The company hopes open source developers and Solaris aficionados will immediately begin contributing through testing, bug reporting and other quality assurance contributions. A majority of the board overseeing OpenSolaris is also non-Sun, including an original Apache author (Roy Fielding).
I have seen Solaris in action within the financial services sector and many know it has a robust and authoritative reputation. I am planning to build the new OS and start exploring how it will match up to the Linux distros I currently utilize. Not too mention I need to clear out some Solaris cobwebs and get back up to speed on some of the subtle differences so easily forgotten (anyone had to ‘plumb’ an IP address?)
For the uninitiated, of course all of the web professional’s favorite tools run on Solaris – Apache, Tomcat, MySQL, Perl, so on and so forth ad infinitum.