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A month after Oracle announced that it would be no longer supporting the OpenSolaris project and concentrating its energies on Solaris 11, a group is set to announce a fork of the canned project.


Project OpenIndiana says it was conceived during the period after Oracle took over Sun Microsystems and uncertainty prevailed about the future of OpenSolaris, a community project that was begun by Sun in 2005 as a means to encourage developers outside the company to contribute to development.

The formal announcement of the launch of Project OpenIndiana will be made tomorrow (September 14, UK time), nicely timed to take place about a week ahead of Oracle's OpenWorld conference in the US.

OpenIndiana distribution manager Alasdair Lumsden, makes this plain, writing on one of the project's mailing lists: "Oracle OpenWorld is on September 19th and it's likely they'll announce Solaris 11 Express at this. In order to capture as much market attention and have people start using the distribution, we absolutely must get our distro out the door before hand.

"I've set 15th September 2010 as the very last date we can do this by - ideally by this point we should have:  Our 147 build completed and in a public IPS repo; a functional website up at http://openindiana.org; all the showstopper bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/openindiana fixed."

The OpenIndiana project's other mailing list has been active since July.

On August 13, a leaked memo from Oracle said it would only provide releases of package updates for OpenSolaris under the same licence (the CDDL or Common Development and Distribution Licence) for future releases of Solaris 11 Express. No new development would take place.

Project OpenIndiana derives its name from the original set-up, which was known as Project Indiana. It will be based on Illumos, the kernel and foundation from OpenSolaris.

"OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation, and provides a true open source community alternative to Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express, with an open development model and full community participation," its website says.

Despite the fact that Sun adopted a restrictive policy towards OpenSolaris, the project managed to produce a number of good releases. Oracle's focus was the money-generating parts of what it bought and hence the project was given the heave-ho a little less than seven months after the purchase of Sun was completed.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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