Oracle buys into Sun's 'Project Copy Linux' dream
Former Sun exec lowers red flags
A former Sun Microsystems' executive has re-assured worried OpenSolaris users the open-source operating system has a future under new owner Oracle.
Dan Roberts, Oracle director of product management, has said the database giant will continue to invest in OpenSolaris and will deliver the operating system's next incarnation: OpenSolaris 2010.03.
"Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source, and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the community," Roberts told the annual OpenSolaris meeting Friday on IRC.
Roberts repeated the official party line coming from Oracle when it's asked about plans for the Sun hardware and software products that Oracle has decided to keep.
"Oracle is investing more in Solaris than Sun did prior to the acquisition," he said. Roberts added Oracle "will continue to contribute technologies to OpenSolaris, as Oracle already does for many other open source projects."
But a former director of Solaris, OpenSolaris, and database marketing said certain features would be kept out of the community pool.
Roberts significantly flagged up how some of the enterprise features found in MySQL under Sun were not returned to the community. "There may be some things we choose not to open source going forward, similar to how MySQL manages certain value add at the top of the stack," he said.
"It's important to understand the plan now is to deliver value again out of our IP investment, while at the same time measuring that with continuing to deliver."
The comments on OpenSolaris follow growing concern among members of the OpenSolaris community that their product had gone almost unmentioned during Oracle's recent Sun-strategy outing, and that - despite reaching out to Oracle - they'd had heard nothing back.
OpenSolaris project manager Peter Tribble complained they'd been completely ignored," with their questions over the project's future going unanswered. OpenSolaris developer and evangelist Ben Rockwood also wrote an open letter pleading for information.
But Tribble now seems satisfied. The project manager blogged here: "While there are clearly devils in the details - it's clear than Oracle plan to keep pushing OpenSolaris forward, so rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated." ®
The irony of Linux
The irony is that Linux is basically a little copy Solaris.
It was Sun which started with open BSD UNIX, merged scalable SMP multiprocessing capabilities into Solaris, provided a great deal of code & specifications in their open projects which found their way into other OS's (like Linux), and completely returned to their open roots after nearly a complete re-write of all the proprietary code.
It is a shame how the industry hates open and willfully forgets history.
Contrary to that popular misconception, Stallman doesn't have a problem with people making money: it's the making of proprietary software he has a problem with.
Of course, if Sun (erm, Oracle) were to use a mainstream Free Software licence like, say, GPLv3 for OpenSolaris then you'd have Stallman's congratulations making their way to Oracle immediately, regardless of whether Oracle are selling it as a product.
Cautiously good news
Oracle leaving the current arrangement re OpenSolaris is good news - both for Oracle and the wider OSS community. What I'd be interested in hearing is whether they're going to continue the enlightened policy of allowing folks to have free licenses on the "full fat" Solaris product - or are they going to parallel RedHat and have a free (OpenSolaris/Fedora) and a paid-for-only product line (Solaris/RHEL)?