Tuesday, 06 May 2008 05:55

OpenSolaris opens for business

The first supported release of the OpenSolaris operating system has arrived.

OpenSolaris is the open-source version of Sun's Solaris.

"It combines the strong foundation of Solaris technologies and tools with modern desktop features and applications developed by open source communities such as GNOME, Mozilla and the Free Software Foundation," said Stephen Lau, OpenSolaris governing board member.

Key features of OpenSolaris include the use of ZFS (Zettabyte File System), DTrace (Dynamic Tracing) and OpenSolaris Image Packaging System.

According to Sun officials, OpenSolaris is the first operating system with ZFS as its default file system. Its advantages include built-in rollback, the use of checksums and redundancy to transparently restore corrupted data, support for extremely large amounts of data (up to 16 exabytes), and the ability to expand a storage pool while the system is running.

DTrace provides a safe window into running systems that can be used to help with application development and system optimisation.

OpenSolaris Image Packaging System is an analogue of package managers found in Linux distributions.


OpenSolaris is broadly aimed at desktop, server and high performance computing. It is being distributed as a live CD image for ease of trial and installation.

Early adopters include Amazon (which is making OpenSolaris available on its Elastic Compute Cloud), and Reliant Security (for its Managed PCI System for merchants accepting payment cards).

Sun will announce support options for OpenSolaris on May 13.

The company has chosen to release OpenSolaris under the Common Development and Distribution License rather than the GPL or another licence that is widely used in the open source world.

"From a software perspective, it's clear that open source is the right approach and that OpenSolaris provides the platform to participate, innovate and ultimately succeed," said Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president, software. "I'm tremendously proud of the work the OpenSolaris community has put forth and believe the new OpenSolaris OS sets the innovation benchmark for what's possible in an open source world."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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