Feeds

Next year critical for Sun's 'Project Copy Linux'

Packages, packages, packages

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The next year will be a critical time for OpenSolaris, according to Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian brought in by Sun Microsystems last year to lead its OS operation.

Success will be measured by the creation of complementary software packages that extend the usefulness of OpenSolaris, and the ability to tempt developers into not only using OpenSolaris but also building packages. OpenSolaris was delivered as a Sun-supported product at May's JavaOne with 1,000 packages spanning Apache, MySQL, Gnome desktop and Firefox.

(You can scope our review of OpenSolaris here. It covers Sun's package woes in detail.)

"The next big step is building out the packaged ecosystem around it," Sun's vice president of developer and community marketing told The Register during a recent interview.

Murdock believes Sun's support for OpenSolaris at an engineering level will help make room for "community" code. That's in contrast to his earlier Debian project. Today it boasts 20,000 packages but when it debuted 15 years ago it had just "a few hundred". Packages emerged over the years, without too much central planning.

"Debian was grassroots but it was the by-product of users solving their own problems and then sharing," Murdock said. "We'll [Sun] be able to boostrap OpenSolaris more than we could Debian."

According to Murdock, Sun can nail down the core with open source developers coalescing on the outside adding extra code. That's a bit different to Debian, where all and sundry contributed and there was no single core provider. Areas for Sun's work include binary compatibility and device driver interfaces, Murdock believes.

"The core OpenSolaris platform is largely a Sun project... look at the names of contributors - it's Sun-badged employees. The right place to build community is at the edge," he said.

Sun's patronage is clearly a double-edged sword. It denies OpenSolaris any claim to being a genuine community project, like Debian, or that it's independent. The direct connection to Sun has bred suspicions over the company's support for open source software that does not originate from Sun.

Not helping its case is the fact Sun put OpenSolaris under its own license - Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). Sun joins a league of other vendors including Microsoft who have written their own licenses rather than use existing open-source licenses. Debian, by contrast, got to its position in the industry using a spread of different, and existing, licenses. Another complication is the Sun-domination of the OpenSolaris work.

Murdock defended the corporate connection to OpenSolaris, pointing to Fedora's association with Red Hat and Ubuntu's connection to Canonical.

"In many cases Sun has a bad rap in the open source community because of bad decisions Sun did 10 yeas ago - the fact Sun did not immediately embrace Linux," Murdock said.

That's all over now, apparently. "We are doing open source at a scale that has never been done," he said. "One of these days the message will sink in that these guys are serious about this."®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
HTML5 vs native: Harry Coder and the mudblood mobile app princes
Developers just want their ideas to generate money
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.