Sun Getting Closer to Open-Source Solaris Release

Sun is expected to take a step forward next week with its plan to release the code for its Solaris 10 operating system. The company has scheduled a news conference on Tuesday where John Loiacono, Sun’s executive vice president of software, will give an update on the issue.

Sun’s Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) was approved earlier this week by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), which has certified that it meets the criteria of its open-source definition.

Encouraging Development

Although Sun would not comment for this article, it has been reported in the press that Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s chief operating officer, has indicated that the Solaris source code could be released by the end of this month.

Sun contributes to a number of open-source projects including GNOME, OpenOffice and Tomcat, but Stacey Quandt, senior business analyst and open-source practice leader for the Robert Frances Group, told LinuxInsider that “the challenge for Sun’s open-source Solaris will be creating a developer community model that encourages developers outside of Sun to participate.”

In part, that’s because Sun’s CDDL is not compatible with the General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is released. Therefore, code cannot be copied back and forth freely.

On the other hand, said OSI board member Russell Nelson, “Anybody can study open-source code and learn from it. Also, if anybody is having a support issue with Solaris that Sun didn’t want to address, they’ll be able to fix a problem or add a feature without contacting Sun.”

‘A Marketing Exercise’

Sun is trying to develop a Solaris-based open source community in the hopes of reinvigorating the operating system, which has lost a lot of ground to Linux.

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