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OpenSolaris logo
Screenshot of OpenSolaris 2009.06 in a VirtualBox
OpenSolaris 2009.06
developer Sun Microsystems
License (s) CDDL 1.0 (kernel),
as well as others (program packages),
including GPL
Current  version 2009.06 (June 1, 2009)
ancestry Unix
↳ UNIX System V
↳ Solaris  10
↳ OpenSolaris
Architecture (s) IA-32 (32-bit x86 and x64 ), SPARC
Polaris : CHRP - Pegasos
marTux : SPARC
Others Development stopped

OpenSolaris is a Unix- based operating system for the platforms PC ( IBM PC compatible - x86 architecture), SPARC and others.

The name OpenSolaris refers to the previous open source variant of the Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems . Up until 2010, OpenSolaris essentially consisted of the source code of the current developer versions of Solaris from which it was created. On August 18, 2010, OpenSolaris was discontinued by Oracle. Since then, open-source development has been continued in the independent community projects illumos and OpenIndiana .

OpenSolaris is the only open source operating system that directly from UNIX System V is derived. Its code base is Unix System V Release 4 (SVR4) compatible and combines code from SVR4 and SunOS-4.x . Its standard graphical interface under the name Nimbus is displayed via Gnome , but KDE integration is possible.



In 1994 the company Sun Microsystems acquired the rights to a license-free sub-licensing of the code base of Unix System V Release 4 and subjected it to considerable changes and improvements. The result flowed into Sun's operating system for Sun's own computer systems, Solaris .

The open source phase

The idea and planning of OpenSolaris began at the beginning of 2004. Multidisciplinary teams u. a. on the topics of licensing issues, business models, co-development procedures, source code analysis, source code management, tools, marketing, website and community development were founded. A pilot program to establish open source development was launched on September 14, 2004. The number of non-Sun developer community members was initially 18. Nine months later, the pilot program had 145 non-Sun participants.

Opening the Solaris source code was an incremental process. The first published source code part was Solaris' Dynamic Tracing Facility ( DTrace ), a software tool for administrators and developers to optimize a running system. DTrace was released on January 25, 2005. At this point, Sun released the first phase of the project website It was also announced that the code base would be released under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).

After Jörg Schilling called for the establishment of an OpenSolaris constitution and a control board on December 5, 2004, a “ Community Advisory Board ” (CAB) consisting of five members was founded. The five CAB members were announced on April 4, 2005. The 2005/2006 OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board members were Roy Fielding , Al Hopper, Rich Teer, Casper Dik, and Simon Phipps.

The first source code version of OpenSolaris released by Sun was Build 17 of a development version, which development began after the Solaris 10 release in January 2005. The official release date on which most of the Solaris source code was released was June 14, 2005. Three days later, Jörg Schilling and other developers released SchilliX as the first OpenSolaris distribution ever.

On February 10, 2006, Sun signed the OpenSolaris Charter. As a result, the OpenSolaris community was placed under the independent supervision of the “OpenSolaris Governing Board ” (OGB). The CAB became the first OGB.

In 2007, Sun developed an OpenSolaris distribution under the code name Project Indiana , which was primarily aimed at Linux users. The project was led by Debian founder Ian Murdock .

Official ending

In the years 2009 to 2010, Oracle Corp. the previous company Sun and incorporated its essential components. As part of this process, the resources under Sun's control have gradually been politically realigned.

On Friday, August 13, 2010, an internal Oracle document slowly spread across the Internet, proclaiming what many had already suspected: Oracle's OpenSolaris support will be discontinued with immediate effect. The open source developers of the operating system no longer get free access to the latest developer versions. However, updates for the Solaris parts under CDDL will continue to be available with a time lag. Access to the Solaris code under development is now only possible for technology partners who participate in an "Oracle Technology Partner Program". Oracle will decide on a case-by-case basis who is admitted to this program.

As a result, the OpenSolaris Governing Board will announce its dissolution on Monday, August 23, 2010; after Oracle had turned away from the open development model, the board no longer makes sense.

Independent continuation of development

The massive changes to the product policy by Oracle at the expense of the open source of Solaris and the up-to-dateness of the open-source system components were seen as the end of the system in the independent developer community , who did essential parts of the development of Solaris.

According to the latest information, previous versions of OpenSolaris are still available. However, the results of further developments on the part of Oracle will no longer be available in the current state open source in the future. This means a radical departure from the previous practice in which the open source components were snapshots of the current Solaris developer version.

In the meantime, several development teams have announced that they will continue the open source development of the system, once under the name illumos and further as OpenIndiana .



OpenSolaris is subject to the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). Some parts of the system are only available in binary form due to licensing rights.

Overall, Sun has placed large portions of the Solaris source code under the CDDL. The license is a derivative of the MPL (Version 1.1), recognized by the OSI since mid-January 2005 , and expressly allows the source code to be used for proprietary solutions. Files under the CDDL can be combined with other types of freely or proprietarily licensed files.

Licensing history

During Sun's announcement that Java would be placed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green gave indications of a release of Solaris under the GNU license. In January 2007, eWeek announced that an anonymous source had reported that Sun was placing OpenSolaris under a dual license (CDDL and GPL). On his Sun blog, Green replied that the report was false, that Sun was only considering a dual license. However, an agreement with the OpenSolaris community would have to be reached.

GPL compatibility

Sun has chosen a license for OpenSolaris that is not fully compatible with the most widely used free software license (GPL). Sun's CDDL is a free software license approved by the Open Source Initiative . However, due to the strong copyleft in both license models, a work cannot be published under one of the licenses if it contains parts that are under the other license. In the context of a collective work (in the sense of US-American copyright ), the use of components under incompatible licenses is permitted, but the exact boundary between a collective work and a derivative work has not been legally clarified.

More details in the main article: Common Development and Distribution License

Portings and derivatives

Polaris (PowerPC)

At the beginning of 2006, the Blastwave developers announced a porting to the Pegasos -based PowerPC / CHRP workstation ODW from IBM / Freescale / Genesi with 1 GHz MPC7447.


Since Sun has not kept its promise to open the OpenSolaris development to the community and since Oracle increasingly discontinued sub-projects after the takeover of Sun, members of the OpenSolaris developer community started the project illumos on August 3, 2010 for development of a truly free open source Solaris. In this project, the developers from the community should have the long-awaited co-creation opportunity and there is the goal of replacing the closed-source components of OpenSolaris with open implementations as quickly as possible while ensuring full compatibility with Solaris OS / Net (also as ON known).

illumos is a derivative of Solaris -OS / Net, which is a Solaris / OpenSolaris kernel with the majority of the drivers, the file systems, the kernel libraries and basic commands. illumos wants to adopt future changes from OS / Net and at the same time try to get its own changes to the code, which may be considered unacceptable for the owner of the OpenSolaris code. The aim of illumos is to achieve 100 percent compatibility with the binary interface (Application Binary Interface) of Solaris-ON (with a focus on the core functions). However, it is not a distribution (and also not a fork, because illumos does not exist with the aim of being different from the Oracle version, but reacts to the need to replace closed source with open source).

The name Illumos is a play on Solaris, from the Latin "illuminare" = enlighten (lumen = light) + OS for operating system ( English Operating System ).

Currently illumos is under the direction of Garrett D'Amore , who also works for Nexenta .

Current goals

Efforts are currently focused on replacing closed source components such as:

  • libc_i18n (the associated code is already integrated in Mercurial and can be tested)
  • iconv (work on integrating a joint implementation with FreeBSD )
  • Programs like tr, tail , more , sed , pax
  • NFS lock manager for NFSv1 to NFSv3
  • Crypto modules
  • numerous device drivers that were previously obtained from Sun as closed source from manufacturers (e.g. Adaptec )

The goal is to get an OpenSolaris without closed source components, which enables compilation of Solaris OS / Net ( self hosting ).


After information about the planned discontinuation of OpenSolaris by Oracle became public on August 13, 2010, the need to keep OpenSolaris open to the community became apparent.

illumos distributions

  • DilOS : with Debian package manager dpkg and apt; x86-64, SPARC;
  • Dyson : combines the Debian userland with illumos and wants to become an official Debian port;
  • napp-it : ZFS storage server distribution for NAS or SAN etc .;
  • NexentaStor : optimized for virtualization, NAS, SAN etc. a .;
  • OmniOS : distribution specialized in server usage;
  • OpenIndiana : end-user distribution with MATE Desktop Environment ; x86, x86-64, SPARC;
  • OpenSXCE : Distribution especially for developers and system administrators; x86, x86-64, SPARC;
  • SmartOS : combines OpenSolaris technology with Linux KVM virtualization, for example for building clouds ;
  • Tribblix : Distribution with the look and feel of NeXTSTEP using Window Maker ; x86-64, SPARC;
  • v9os : minimalist server distribution; SPARC;
  • XStreamOS and variants: distributions for network infrastructure, cloud services, development etc .;

The community

Sun promised to build a developer community to further develop OpenSolaris. An advisory board called the Community Advisory Board (CAB) was founded to initiate a democratically based OpenSolaris community. This was partially determined by Sun.

The members of the CAB, which served between 2005 and 2007, were:

  • Rich Teer (author of Solaris Systems Programming , chosen by the OpenSolaris pilot community)
  • Al Hopper (from Logical Approach, chosen by the OpenSolaris pilot community)
  • Casper Dik (Senior Staff Engineer at Sun, assigned by Sun)
  • Simon Phipps (then Chief Technology Evangelist at Sun, appointed by Sun)
  • Roy Fielding (co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation , employed by Sun). Roy Fielding resigned from the OpenSolaris project on February 14, 2008 because Sun failed to keep its promise to open the OpenSolaris sources.

In the meantime there was an OpenSolaris constitution and an OpenSolaris Government Board (OGB) elected for one year by the core contributors . Since Oracle has so far ignored the current OGB, the OGB asked Oracle on July 12, 2010 to name a contact person and to start discussions by August 16, and announced the collective resignation in the event of non-compliance. The OGB disbanded at the end of August 2010 with a unanimous resolution.

Web links

Commons : OpenSolaris  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jörg Thoma: Opensolaris: Oracle buries open development , , August 14, 2010
  2. The article goes from the early 1980s to today, accessed on September 18, 2010
  3. SchilliX - OpenSolaris as a live CD., June 20, 2005, accessed on September 17, 2010 .
  4. OpenSolaris Charter ( Memento of August 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  5. OpenSolaris Independence Day ( Memento from February 25, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Stephen Shankland: Sun opens 'Indiana' chapter of OpenSolaris. Retrieved October 6, 2019 .
  7. ^ Paul Krill: Sun looks to steal Linux thunder with Project Indiana. July 12, 2007, accessed October 6, 2019 .
  8. a b OpenSolaris canceled, to be replaced with Solaris 11 Express. OpenSolaris, archived from the original on August 16, 2010 ; Retrieved August 14, 2010 .
  9. a b Oliver Diedrich: OpenSolaris Government Board resigns , Heise online , 23 August 2010
  10. Iconoclastic Tendencies - OpenSolaris is Dead. Retrieved August 27, 2010 .
  11. What version of the Solaris OS has been open sourced? In: OpenSolaris FAQ: General. OpenSolaris, archived from the original on December 16, 2008 ; Retrieved December 2, 2008 .
  12. illumos project announced. Retrieved August 27, 2010 .
  13. ^ OpenIndiana project announced. Retrieved September 11, 2010 .
  14. Can code licensed under the CDDL be combined with code licensed under other open source licenses? In: OpenSolaris FAQ: Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). OpenSolaris, archived from the original on October 27, 2007 ; Retrieved December 2, 2008 .
  15. ^ Peter Galli: Sun to License OpenSolaris Under GPLv3 , eWeek. January 16, 2007. 
  16. ^ Rich Green: All the News That's Fit to Print. In: Rich Green's Weblog. January 17, 2007, archived from the original on December 8, 2008 ; Retrieved December 2, 2008 .
  17. QualiPSo Report. (PDF; 844 kB) In: Thomas Gordon OSS License Compatibility., accessed July 2010 .
  18. Garrett D'Amore: illumos - Hope and Light Springs Anew - Presented by Garrett D'Amore . August 3rd, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  19. Peter Marwan: Ex-Solaris developer initiates open source project illumos , ZDNet , August 4, 2010
  20. Illumos wants to develop free OpenSolaris , , August 4th 2010
  21. Anonymous mail paste to discontinue OpenSolaris
  22. Steven Stallion's blog on the discontinuation of OpenSolaris
  23. ^ Roy Fielding's resignation blog
  24. Agenda and minutes of the OGB meeting ( memento of the original from July 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (from July 12, 2010) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /