back to article OpenSolaris axed by Ellison

You all expected it, and now it has come to pass: Oracle has killed off the OpenSolaris development project. There was never any need for the OpenSolaris governing board to commit ritual suicide — they were going to be ignored to death just the same. A lengthy email sent out to the Solaris development team by Mike Shapiro ( …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In short

    Larry wants to benefit from the open source community (oracle enterprise linux) but he doesn't want the open source community to benefit from anything Oracle does. Unless of course they are willing to pay for a special partnership agreement.

    Ho hum. At least it will hopefully put some focus back on FreeBSD

    1. Captain Thyratron

      He never really cared one way or the other.

      You've got to put all this in perspective.

      Sure, adoption rates are more important than per-instance revenue. Sure, getting an OS out there where people can see it encourages more people to use it, to the benefit of whoever put it out there. Sure, focusing on making an OS a closed, niche, high profit-per-instance thing will surely kill it in time, e.g. OpenVMS, OS/400, &c. But Oracle is not an OS company. The long-term success of any part of Sun's former product line means positively jack shit to Ellison.

      Oracle is a database company--specifically, an "enterprise" database company. As long as they can continue charging hundreds of millions of dollars for database installations, they're happy. That's what they do. Solaris is just a boot loader for that database, and when it's dried up and dead, Oracle will find another to use. Oracle will leave dead platforms, demoralized users, and--most important of all--satisfied investors in its wake.

      Oracle did not buy Sun because it cared much about the SPARC server business or Solaris. They bought Sun because they wanted to secure all those juicy-looking high-end database customers before somebody else like IBM snapped them up and got them using some other expensive database that wasn't Oracle's.

      Oracle is a database company.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        RE: He never really cared one way or the other.

        "....Solaris is just a boot loader for that database, and when it's dried up and dead, Oracle will find another to use. Oracle will leave dead platforms, demoralized users, and--most important of all--satisfied investors in its wake...." Sir, that is the clearest explanation of the facts of Oracle business life I have read. Good luck getting the Sunshiners to actually understand it, but I salute your insight.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Captain Thyratron

        So they're "an enterprise database company", where more revenue comes from application servers and middleware, than from databases, eh? That's been the case for a few years now, by the way, so get your facts straight before you spout your BS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down


          And what do you think all that middleware and apps servers plug into? Scotch Mist?

          The DB side of Oracle is the foundation stone of the business, in the same way Windows is for Microsoft. You want Oracle Middleware and apps? Sure, you'll need this little database too....

          So not really BS. Microsoft aren't just an OS provider, Apple aren't just a fashion accessory house and Google do more than search - but these are what these outfits are known for because these are the centrepiece of the business. So Oracle can happily revel in being "an enterprise database company" - nothing to be ashamed of.

          Solaris, for now, will become a sideshow - a boot loader for Oracle apps and DBs, reduced in stature, support and (more importantly) development until they say 'stuff it, Linux is way ahead, so bye bye Solaris'.

      3. Jim 59
        Thumb Up

        boot loader

        "Oracle is a database company."

        Now it is a boot loader and platform company too.

        "... and when [the platform is] dried up and dead, Oracle will find another to use. Oracle will leave dead platforms, demoralized users, and--most important of all--satisfied investors in its wake."

        Not so easy to leave something for dead when it's yours though, and has your name all over it.

  2. Mark Talbot

    Are Oracle deliberately trying to turn themselves in the evil tech company

    I know oracle have always been a bit evil but with what there doing with Sun's IP are they trying to make themselves more hated in the tech community than Microsoft

    1. Captain Thyratron

      And Larry will twirl his moustache.

      If Microsoft is any indication, being hated in the tech community doesn't seem to hurt revenues.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No big loss

      ...if you ask me. You can probably count the number of community contributions to OpenSolaris on one hand, and by the sound of it, anybody who wants a free, in-development binary distro (with optional paid support) will still be able to in the form of Solaris 11 Express. So, just the same as the old OpenSolaris 20xx.yy releases, then, except probably more regular than once a year.

      1. Penti

        No they won't

        You don't get it AC, it won't be possible to just replace it with S11 Express, SXCE will not allow any commercial use.

        Current Solaris 10 downloads only permit evaluation use, not development or personal/individual use, that's certainly a step back which visualizes and displays their intent and the future. If Express would be like the old Solaris Express why back down from using Solaris 10 without support, access to repository. And develop things away from sight is definitively not in line with what Sun was doing. They are basically many more times more closed then IBM now. Which also builds products on open source projects like the geronimo application server, other apache projects, open office and so on. And also providing it for free. Why drop community versions and gratis use for individual use, developers, technicians and so on, when everybody else is moving there even the not open source using players. It's just idiocy and will destroy every value it had. The express/free releases needs to be valuable and usable. It isn't if they are locked down too much or the licensing restrict one from doing anything. It doesn't rob them from providing the none free supported enterprise version or product. It helps them creating a user base which might want to move their when they grow, and they will grow with something/someone else if that's not a possibility. Which will also risk those current users migrating to the platforms the others are moving too.

        So it's not for anybody. And that's the problem.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Oracle is not a charity

      So it doesn't give out free lunches. How does it make them the most evil tech company? Wouldn't it be more evil to give out free googly candy laced with drugs?

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Do you really think they care?

      Sorry to burst your bubble but Oracle, MS, et al, coudn't give a monkey's about what people think so long as the coprorate licenses keep flowing. I have worked with Oracle DBs for 18 years now, since v6 and I have never known them to give two hoots what customers wanted. I have been in a couple of companies where they didn't pay for Oracle licenses and Oracle found out, it's not pretty. The Mafia are more pleasant, at least you get protection when you pay your protection money to the Mafia! You deal with Oracle licensing team and soting out 18 months of back-dated licenses. Oh yes, Oracle back-date their licenses if you "forget" to pay up!

      All you Web 2.0'ers seem to think tech companies should be all lovely and fluffy like Apple, sorry but Larry started Oracle when CEO's would license their own mothers if it meant turning a profit. You don't get bank balance of $35bn by being liked, you get it by being a hard-nosed, greedy bastard.

      Even the Jobs' of this world are greedy bastards, they just have slightly better PR team. Larry has never given a shit what people think and he sure doesn't care now! Like I say, so long as 95% of the Fortune500 companies keep paying their subs, then he's happy.

      I still love using the software though! LOL!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My my,

    Oracle are busy today.

    1. David S

      My thoughts exactly.

      Is it possible for an entire company to get out of the wrong side of the bed in the morning?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Oracle speak with forked tongue, Kemo Sabe

      "My my, .... Oracle are busy today." .... skelband Posted Friday 13th August 2010 22:07 GMT

      That suggest to an old experienced cynic, that they are struggling, and far from healthy.

  4. Captain Thyratron

    So long, and thanks for all the Unix.

    Good thing I started learning FreeBSD.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Fairwell, Solaris.

    I knew you well, and made a lot of money knowing you well over the years. Sad to see you go.


  6. Captain Thyratron


    The funny part is that it's Friday the 13th.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: dooooooooom

      It could only have been funnier if Larry had made that buffoon Fowler face the press and admit OpenSlowaris was sleeping with the fishes.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More likely renaming the distribution

    Think you got this one wrong, from what I understand they are renaming the opensolaris DISTRIBUTION to Solaris 11 Express, not killing of the opensolaris PROJECT. Get your facts right.

    1. ziggy

      not a rename - Solaris Express Is Different

      Solaris Express is a binary release, source code (for those portions that can be open sourced) will be released after official Solaris 11 release.

      in other words, no more continuous access to source code being built

    2. uninventiveheart

      Not quite...

      Solaris 11 Express is for developer use only... if you aren't registered with Oracle as a developer, you can't have it. The email said they're no longer pushing code updates to OpenSolaris. That means it's dead.

      Sun was bought by Oracle because by itself Sun is not profitable enough to survive. This decision shouldn't come as a surprise.

      1. Karlsson

        Parial true

        The distribution gets renamed, and sadly the continuous access to source code in the repository goes away. We'll see what happens, but from what I understand, source is to be made available when the "product" is release, not as good but still better than no source :)

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Let's say it together.

      Fork it! Let Illumos shine as a full-fledged OpenSolaris replacement!

      If they can do it with Haiku, and they can do it with ReactOS, they can do this. Just replace those proprietary parts with parts borrowed from BSD or Linux, and viola!

      Badgers. Because Oracle is that.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Is forking a wise proposition at this point?

        "Fork it! Let Illumos shine as a full-fledged OpenSolaris replacement!"

        Judging that Oracle has just begun to wage a war upon Google and Android - though admittedly I am not a lawyer and don't fully understand the lawsuit and what scraps are being fought over - I'm sure that I would be hesitant to use a derivative of opensolaris given that it appears that they want to own Sun's IP with predation. Hail Bob! (The Reg also needs a Bob Dobbs icon in addition to a Larry icon.)

        I hope that Nextenta has been consulting rather furiously with their legal team.

    2. the spectacularly refined chap

      BSD based?

      No, Solaris is and always has been SVR4 based (if you discount the Solaris 1.x retcon).

    3. Anonymous Coward


      > since Solaris itself is BSD-based, there is considerable cross-pollination happening between those two branches of UNIX.

      Solaris is *not* based on BSD. SunOS 4.x and before was based on BSD, but Solaris 2 in 1990 marked the change to an SVr4 base. I remember it well, it was when I joined Sun. That was such a painful experience that Scott McNealy promised that he would never do it to customers again. Seems to have been forgotten with (Open)Solaris 11.

    4. James R Grinter

      no, it really isn't.

      "Plus, since Solaris itself is BSD-based, there is considerable cross-pollination happening between those two branches of UNIX." -- no, it really isn't (maybe you're thinking of Solaris 1 aka SunOS 4, but that was done and dusted by 1995, going EOSL in 2003. It isn't common BSD heritage that has lead to ZFS and DTrace being picked up by FreeBSD and Mac OS X - the latter not a BSD kernel either.)

      Solaris 2 has USL heritage all the way through the kernel, although significant amounts have been replaced and even the 'SysV init' scripts have been deprecated for a while now. It's a stable platform that doesn't crash in the spectacular ways that I've seen some 'Enterprise' offerings give up, repeatedly, under heavy load.

      IMHO they got some things wrong (numerous mis-attempts at improving TCP stack performance, failure to fix packaging, poor systems management tools, and what were they thinking when they gave us SMF?) but, that said, at least it's not HP/UX or AIX. Those really are abominations, travesties of the "Unix" brand, that should have been killed off ages ago.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Oracle Technology Network

    Does it still fail as hard as it did when it had the Iraqi flag in the top left corner of every page?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Ellison has a funny bone

    That this would leak on Friday the 13th after months of silence and enough hints that anyone with a grain of sense would have put together months ago. These decisions were made a while ago and those with high moral standards and who had options got out from under this disaster on wheels. I appreciate his dark sense of humor.

    It will be interesting to see how this works out for Oracle, but in a climate where folks don't want to pay for hardware the only thing folks are less willing to pay for than hardware is software, especially software that you might be able to get open versions of elsewhere and which a lot of places have already migrated to and with an assortment of migration tools available. And if they don't put about 5 years of development effort into AI and IPS by the release date of Solaris 11, it may even be doubtful if it would be appealing to those customers free of charge given the maturity of Jumpstart/JET and the current pkg manager. Finding the engineers to hire, train and get on those tasks in less than a year is doubtful.

    The OS is, indeed, mostly not relevant anymore.

  11. halms
    Thumb Down

    and here we go...

    i have been waiting since they announced the takeover. i know something will go down. i'm sure the main reason is mysql. wont be surprised when (not IF) that happen.

  12. Mikel

    Said it before, say it again

    Larry Ellison is not in the giving stuff away business. I said it in April and I'll say it again. The guy isn't even trying to hide it. He's telling you in plain language. Free stuff is not how Oracle became such a wealthy company, nor how Larry Ellison became such a wealthy man. To Larry Ellison technology is just the context of the game. The goal is to win the game, and score is kept in dollars of profit per quarter, or market capitalization, or personal wealth - for him scoreboards that are functionally equivalent.

    Link where I said it:

    And the text (because you all are lazy) reads:

    Giving stuff away does not add immediately to the bottom line. It's not how Oracle operates. Larry Ellison is not in the "giving stuff away" business and he doesn't intend to be.

    So get over it. It's time to get forking all the Sun things that can be forked, and replacing all the things that can't.

    1. asdf

      Larry has to please the freetards a little

      MySql forced Larry's hand to offer a gimped free database for apps. Larry has to be a bit careful as unlike M$ he can't afford to piss off the open source world entirely (too many Oracle licenses running on non windows boxes for the shareholders to ignore). I agree when he has his druthers his business model though is like Calvin Kleins charge way more than is reasonable and chalk it up to paying for the brand. Can't argue with success.

  13. asdf

    Where the hell is Matt B to gloat?

    Come on Matt where is the told you so? SPARC has been garbage for a long time and I am glad Larry took it out back and shot it in the head. Solaris is ok but honestly now that Sun is gone is it really that much more compelling than RHEL or even *BSD? I did like some of the technologies that they made open source such as ZFS but that gravy train has left the station and Larry doesn't do anything free just for goodwill. RIP Sun, a lot of your stuff was pretty neat (not SPARC it has sucked balls since before the dot com bust) but ultimately you FAILED just like DEC and will leave nothing but memories for us grey beards.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Where the hell is Matt B to gloat?

      "Come on Matt where is the told you so?"...... Shush again! Don't annoy the Sunshiners, they have a hard enough time dealing with reality, let alone when you explain the difference between the truth and their Truth. I'm already hearing from resident Sunshiners that Illumos is the New Truth, etc, etc. The funniest one was from a Sunshiner, telling me that Illumos was going to "kick Linux's A$$", whilst he was busy pushing RHEL out to some x64 servers!

      "......SPARC has been garbage for a long time and I am glad Larry took it out back and shot it in the head......" Interestingy, Larry has realised that the hardware bit of the Sun bizz he never wanted can actually make some money, if only as a means to push more database licences. He's let John Fowler stand up and do his usual wild promises routine, wave around another non-roadmap roadmap (a proper roadmap has information, detail and is plausible). He seems to be intent on resurrecting something from CMT for all those threads, though how he expects to do it is another thing seeing as all the real SPARC brains have already jumped ship. Maybe it will be offloaded to Fudgeitso, maybe it's all a ploy to stop existing SPARC base migrating to other OSs and different databases. But, at this point, SPARC is not quite dead and buried.

      But Larry has stuck to his promise of monetising the Sun carcass. He is already looking to make patent money off Java and charge for access to "open"Slowaris. The Sunshiners will squeal and whine, but the shareholders will take the profits over community mindshare any day.

      So, take a minute, be patient, and we will all get to laugh at the Sunshiners in time.


  14. uninventiveheart

    'Tis only a flesh wound...

    Community is still going through the motions...

    On August 23rd, they're going to return control of the OGB to Oracle. Moot point if Oracle is ending the development anyway.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    damn, I still never got that trial cd...

    Still waiting... Was it linux world I signed up for you to mail it? or was it online, online I think?


    Na, actually I am glad to see oracle come to it's senses. remember the creative VMRL in 94?

    I still have two original posters, the one with the houses, and webmaster untangling the web. I don't see many of those anymore.

  16. Uwe Dippel

    The Evil Beast?

    Looks pretty much at first sight.

    Though it does pretty well what looks right from their angle. SUN's was another one, and they messed it up.

    Until here, almost no word about the OpenSolaris community. With my hat as a sociologist, it is also interesting, how badly the community was set up, and governed. It will be a nice thesis to wade through all the discussions in the OpenSolaris forum(s) from 2006 until the demise, and analyse the ever again arising discussions on the topic of 'community' and 'licensing'.

  17. Kebabbert

    Bad for OpenSolaris Good for Solaris

    This is bad for OpenSolaris. But really good for Solaris.

    Solaris 11 Express will be free and support optional:

    "We will have a Solaris 11 binary distribution, called Solaris 11 Express, that will have a free developer RTU license, and an optional support plan. "

    With the new exciting roadmap for SPARC, Solaris has never been in better shape! The future is very promising! (The step from Linux to Solaris is much smaller, than from Windows to Solaris. There are many Linux users out there to convert to Solaris. )

    1. sysconfig


      "There are many Linux users out there to convert to Solaris." -- I doubt that. Many Linux users want it for free and/or be able to do whatever they want with the code. You will not be able to convince any of them to even look at a binary-only commercial product at all.

      More interesting is: What do the OpenSolaris fans and developers do now? Will they end up in the *BSD corner? Then Oracle's move was at least worth something!!

      1. Marcus Aurelius

        Speaking personally

        As a sometime Linux user, I want it for free to develop a solution on my system, and then I implement that solution in the real world on a "proper" system, which $company doesn't object to paying megabucks for.

        Rightly or wrongly, some companies are still a little bit squiffy on using the "amateur produced" Linux over Solaris, AIX or whatever, and I'm personally not going to argue with them as they're happy to pay my bill and for the "industry" system they want..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        >Many Linux users want it for free and/or be able to do whatever they want with the code.

        Oh come on!!

        How many Linux *users* look at or even care about the source of their OS?

        All they want is to be able to get something for free and experience the fuzzy warm feeling of being cool

    2. Willy Messerschmitt
      Dead Vulture


      You are so funny. Could you please throw more salt into the wounds of the Slowaris Greybeards ?

      The tombstone is in reality a Salt Dispenser.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      exciting roadmap??

      > With the new exciting roadmap for SPARC,

      Come on, the SPARC roadmaps have always been exciting, but eventually SPARCs were behind the competition. Do you think anyone will believe that after all major tech heads have jumped the ship?

    4. Penti

      It isn't

      It isn't good for Solaris, they don't even sell Solaris workstations or desktops any more. No OpenSolaris mean no modern hardware support, no laptop support, no desktop support. You'll be lucky if the developer version is a VirtualBox image I guess.

      Sun is only for their existing enterprise customers now, before it was for everybody. Startups, mid-sized companies, developers and students. Now it's just moving to become some obscure enterprise product which many will not ever see or use. Every involvement with Xorg, Gnome etc will be lost. Why support a company that doesn't support the software of your choice? Their database offerings with bundled hardware hasn't even been well received they have destroyed or alienated any customers they might have had, and they clearly don't want Java to be everywhere, which is anti-competitive and dishonest and betraying past promises. And goes against Javas ambition itself. And is battle which they will loose. Hotspot is already out there free and open source, licensed to the like of IBM, HP, Azul systems etc which have contributed greatly to it. Iron rule will fail. We will simply move to competitors systems. They are a company set to leverage the "IP" to it's full extent which means not prohibit any unlicensed use. Which would be retarded. Even by MS standards. Sparc is cool but most doesn't run their software on it and Rock is dead. It doesn't help them a bit. It won't turn them into IBM. Or a "complete" company.

    5. Jesper Frimann

      Only Keb can make a positive spin on this story :)

      As always it takes Keb to make a positive spin on this rather sad story for the OpenSolaris community.

      // Jesper

  18. frank fegert

    Strangely though ...

    ... there is a job opening (ID: IRC1354555) for a sysadmin position supporting the OpenSolaris infrastructure posted on the Oracle recruitment site. I wonder how that fits together with the announcement of bailing out of OpenSolaris?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't take that job....

      They laid-off the sysadmins a couple of weeks ago and it was likely planned as far back as rolling up opensolaris was. At least it would appear that the systems won't be left to the developers, but if that job description is any indication, anyone with the amount of experience they're looking for would not be all that enthusiastic about applying for it. "Dynamic environment"? Excuse me whilst I chuckle.

  19. Mage Silver badge

    So like Google then?

    People have the mistaken idea that Android is FOSS development.

    The Android road map is secret.

    Google alone develops a new version of Android and *then* releases it as Open Source. Google decides what item of confectionery it will be called.

    So Oracle has taken a leaf out of Google's book :-)


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