Yesterday, the OpenSolaris team released OpenSolaris 2008.05, the fruit of Project Indiana. The first review we found was published over at Blogbeebe, which is overall fairly positive. At the same time, Practical Technology believes that “OpenSolaris has finally been released just in time to die”.I won’t bore you with the details of the review itself (you can read for yourself), but the conclusion sums it up pretty well:
OpenSolaris shows a lot of intriguing features with this release. It isn’t perfect, and it’s lack of support of many audio subsystems required for full multimedia (such as the M685’s Intel 82801G (ICH7) high definition audio controller) makes this release more suitable for OS geeks and developers than the average Joe Sixpack. But it’s definitely a release worth investigating further, and certainly one worth keeping an eye on for future development.
This words my feelings about this release perfectly. For a first attempt at a proper desktop-oriented distribution for ‘normal’ users, they seem to have done a pretty good job. If I compare my experiences with Solaris 9 on my Sun Ultra 5 with the first bits of information about OpenSolaris 2008.05, it’s like comparing Fiona Apple to chewed and dried up gum; Solars 9 was incredibly difficult to administer for someone without extensive knowledge about the OS. It seems as if the 2008.05 release is light years beyond that – and it’s only the beginning.
The comments at Practical Tech feel a bit like an attempt at ‘fear, uncertainty, and doubt, to me.
What the article fails to mention is that Novell already has a lot of problems with its image in the open-source community. Its deal with Microsoft irked a lot of people in the Free software community, and I’m fairly certain Novell will not want to annoy them even further by blocking the open source release of OpenSolaris. Sure, OpenSolaris is a competitor to their Linux business, but doing something as drastic as the article suggests seems like a very bad idea for Novell.
But we’ve seen companies do weirder things. Like suing Linux users because Linux is an exact copy of UNIX.