Feeds

Sun sets on Solaris Express Community Edition

It's OpenSolaris from here on out

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Despite the public-relations muzzle on employees at Sun Microsystems these days, the OpenSolaris project has announced that it will discontinue the Solaris Express Community Edition distro of the Solaris Unix variant.

According to the posting on the OpenSolaris site, Sun will stop spinning Solaris Express Community Edition "by the end of the October timeframe," which is New American for "by Halloween," or Old American for the date "October 30," the last Friday of the month. Sun also decided that the proper abbreviation for this software was SXCE.

Anyway, the plan is to start kicking out SXCE distros every two weeks, with the latest goodies from the "Nevada" development project inside Sun, which eventually gets merged into OpenSolaris to become Solaris 11, being rolled into the distro just like always.

Sun will package-up Unix SVR4 images with the SXCE distro, but will begin packaging-up the distro using its newer Image Packaging System (IPS) packages alongside SVR4 images, and by the fall SXCE will only be available in the IPS format.

The reason why Sun's techies have broken radio silence is that Solaris Express is one of the tools that developers have used since 2003 and the days of Solaris 9 to get a sneak peek at upcoming Solaris features. And the very developers that Sun - and soon Oracle - is trying to court with Solaris, Java, and other key software need to know that the software they might be using is coming to the end of the line.

So what is the difference between SXCE and OpenSolaris? SXCE has some closed source features that Sun licensed many years ago but does not have the right to open source and distribute as part of OpenSolaris. And like Solaris 10, SXCE is only distributed in binary form for Sparc and x86/x64 machines.

Sun has not been able to kill off SXCE until now for one good reason: the OpenSolaris "Project Indiana" complete and installable distribution, which debuted in May 2008 with the OpenSolaris 2008.05 release, did not support Sparc platforms. In fact, it wasn't until OpenSolaris 2009.06 came out on June 1 that Sparc iron could install binary versions of the OpenSolaris distro.

OpenSolaris can now run on Sun or Fujitsu boxes using UltraSparc-II, UltraSparc-III, UltraSparc-IV, and Sparc T series chips. (Fujitsu's Sparc64 family of processors was not mentioned as being supported with OpenSolaris 2009.06 back in June. Go figure. No one at Sun answers questions these days.)

As El Reg previously reported, Sun is not expected to put another OpenSolaris rev into the field until early 2010. However, customers who want to compile their own version of the latest-greatest code can use the OpenSolaris repository and IPS to spin one up any old time their little hearts desire. This future OpenSolaris release is expected to be grabbed by Sun - er, Oracle - and hardened and certified on iron and with middleware, database, and application stacks and become the next commercially supported version of Solaris.

Back in April, just after Oracle made its $5.6bn bid to acquire the company and the PR muzzle went on, the word from sources inside Sun was that Solaris Next (can we stop messing around and just call it Solaris 11, please?) was due around the middle of 2010. Who knows what the plan is now, or what it will be once Oracle comes in with its clipboards, red pens, and stopwatches axe. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.