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Opening Solaris - page 2

The Solaris 10 Pitch

  • September 15, 2005
  • By Martin C. Brown

OpenSolaris is a completely free and open source version of the Solaris operating system. OpenSolaris is made up of source code for the commercial Solaris operating system and both products will feed each other. The two "versions" of the operating system are based on the same source code, with the major benefit for OpenSolaris users that they have access to the latest source code and bug fixes for Solaris. OpenSolaris is not, in any way, a cut-down or restricted version of the main Solaris operating system, it is just an open source version of that solution.

As of August 2005, OpenSolaris consists of the main kernel, networking components, libraries, and commands that make up the core of the Solaris operating environment. Further components will be added over time until the OpenSolaris community reaches the point where everything available within Solaris will also be available in source form through the OpenSolaris project.

What is most interesting, from the perspective of a Linux user, is that the model and license adopted by Sun allows you to use, modify, and redistribute the code in the Solaris system. Ultimately this means that individuals and organizations can release their own Solaris distributions, in much the same way as we currently use Linux distributions from Gentoo or Fedora.

Sun has formalized the open source approach by making OpenSolaris available as a distribution in the form of the Solaris Express: Community Release, a free version of Solaris, based on the OpenSolaris code and designed to be used to help further develop the OpenSolaris product. The release is available as a set of CDs (four, currently) available for free download as ISOs which you can write and use to install Solaris. Both the SPARC and x86 versions are available and although the current Sun Download Center interface requires you to click for approval before download, technically the license does not require click-approval.

If you prefer, you can download the sources and build them for yourself to create your preferred Solaris operating system. The whole process can take from about an hour to 24 hours depending on your hardware and environment.

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