Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Jul 2010 16:48 UTC, submitted by diegocg
Sun Solaris, OpenSolaris This morning, at the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) meeting, the following was proposed and unanimously resolved: "The OGB is keen to promote the uptake and open development of OpenSolaris and to work on behalf of the community with Oracle, as such the OGB needs Oracle to appoint a liaison by August 16, 2010, who has the the authority to talk about the future of OpenSolaris and its interaction with the OpenSolaris community otherwise the OGB will take action at the August 23 meeting to trigger the clause in the OGB charter that will return control of the community to Oracle."
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RE[4]: Shame for great technology
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Jul 2010 12:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Shame for great technology"
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I can see OpenSolaris as still a bit useful, even if it didn't develop a community of developers outside Oracle. Assuming OpenSolaris is still the basis for Solaris 11, it's sort of like a big open beta test. The changes of CDE to Gnome, adption of a modern package system with online repositories, and switching to X.org for graphics are major changes that update Solaris. Solaris is the most approachable and easiest to use proprietary Unix available. There's no crazy hardware to find and getting discs of the OS is easy. I'd imagine more non-enterprise programs work on Solaris than HP/UX or AIX. It's pretty approachable.

It's unfortunate OpenSolaris never got a vibrant developer community outside Oracle, and is still dependent. On the other hand, I can't think that Sun/Oracle lost much making Solaris open source without one. Oracle can still say, "here, see the latest work we're doing, play with all the technology we offer, and if you're interested, ask us about our hardware and services that take full advantage . . . blah blah . . synergy . . . whatever." Seems like it could pay off, and it wouldn't be expensive or difficult. Then again, Oracle might not work that way, and Oracle might not care.


The two biggest flaws of OpenSolaris for me were always the following:

1) The use of HAL in lieu of simply biting the bullet and adding native Solaris support to GNOME. This is a symptom of a larger problem, when ever they add something it is always half baked - BlueTooth support is a half baked port of the NetBSD stack for example. Half finished half baked features being added and once added nothing be done to further enhance them. So they sell servers - great, but what about all those developers, admins and so forth who could be potential customers and advocates of OpenSolaris if they could only run it and provided with a reasonable experience?

2) Crappy hardware support and quite frankly there is no excuse for that. In the case of Linux adding hardware support is a little more complex when you're dealing with a kernel with licence issues that need to be taken into consideration and no stable driver API. On the other hand OpenSolaris has a large corporate backing it, that corporation also sells hardware *AND* that corporation has links with other hardware suppliers! it should be relatively easy to add hardware support, even if it is providing closed source binary driver downloads.

I truly believe if they got those two issues sorted out there would be nothing stopping OpenSolaris from being widely adopted from laptop to desktop to workstation. What is holding OpenSolaris back isn't major fundamental flaws in the operating system but very basic things like hardware support that can be addressed relatively easy if the parent company is willing to allocate the resources to do so.

If it were me and I was grand poobah Oracle, I would hire another 2,000 programmers, put them all on a 3 year contract and get them doing nothing but sleeping, eating and breathing drivers - every waking moment of their existence either writing drivers or getting the specifications to write those drivers. Drivers, drivers and more drivers - just when they though they've covered all the bases, get them writing more drivers. Once you lay that crucial foundation then it is easy to top up additional drivers without needing to have a large staff - but you need to get OpenSolaris up to the point where you can pick up a OpenSolaris iso, throw it on a cd, dump it into a random computer and find that all the hardware in the computer itself works.

Edited 2010-07-15 12:07 UTC

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