Feeds

The Year in Operating Systems: No battle of big ideas

Small change for 2009

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

(Open)Solaris

The other big Unix, of course, is Sun's Solaris and OpenSolaris pairing. And the big news for Sun was, of course, getting the first and then a second release of OpenSolaris out the door based on the code created and maintained by the OpenSolaris community.

Unlike IBM and HP, Sun has open sourced its Solaris Unix and is trying to emulate the development and support style of the Linux community. To be specific, OpenSolaris is most like Canonical's Ubuntu in that customers can buy tech support for the development as well as commercial releases. Canonical, incidentally makes no distinction at all, and it is likely Sun will just have something called OpenSolaris 2009 at some point and be done with it.

Like the Linux distros, Sun is trying to make it easier for companies to spin their stacks of the operating system, middleware, and application software and then distribute these across the servers in their networks.

Sun's business plan is to make Solaris as easy, open, and modern - meaning updated on a six-month cycle - as a development Linux with the full support you can get from a commercial Unix or Linux distro.

While Sun distributed millions of freebie copies of Solaris 10 and now OpenSolaris, it remains to be seen whether the change from a closed-source, fee-based to an open-source operating system paid for using support contracts will pan out. It is not clear whether the change will not only protect the $1 billion-plus in Solaris licensing and support revenue, but also extend it and - here's the kicker - extend it profitably.

On the technology front, Solaris (whether it is open or compiled) is still well-regarded, and Sun tried to make lots of different kinds of hay out of the pairing of Solaris with its Zettabyte File System (ZFS).

ZFS has been given root file system status in Solaris now - an indication that Sun believes ZFS is absolutely ready for prime time - and Sun plus a handful of other storage makers spent their time creating solutions that pair Solaris and ZFS to make storage devices. This business, though, still does not yet contribute enough in terms of sales to Sun to make up for declining prices on midrange and large Unix iron and a shift away from Sparc to x64 processors from Intel and AMD by some of Sun's customers.

Given its customer base, its technology portfolio, and the nature of the systems market today, it is hard to imagine Sun coming up with a better strategy than it did.

The kinds of things Sun is doing with its operating system - supporting x64 iron enthusiastically, using a Linux-style development, distro, and support model, and such - are the correct things. However, Sun needed to do these things a decade ago as the Linux genie was coming out of the bottle. Linux doesn't fit into that bottle any more, and the real question you have to ask is this: will Linux stuff Solaris into that bottle?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Duck and cover

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.