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OpenSolaris: abandoned software?

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OpenSolarisSome months ago I wrote about the uncertain future of opensolaris. OpenSolaris is the open-source distribution of the Unix-based Solaris operating system Oracle acquired through its purchase of Sun Microsystems. We all have been waiting a long time for a new version of OpenSolaris. The latest release was due to arrive back in February and in June we also saw an update from Oracle, stating that:

  • Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the OpenSolaris community
  • Oracle is investing more in Solaris than Sun did prior to the acquisition, and will continue to contribute innovative technologies to OpenSolaris, as Oracle already does for many other open source projects
  • On the “Solaris Near Term Roadmap”, they say Solaris 10 Update 9 will come some time in 2010 focusing on platform support and Oracle product integrations.

But despite all communications, we don’t seem to be any closer to an official release. The OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) is tired of waiting. The OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) is an independent body that was created on February 2006 to direct the community-based OpenSolaris software. Board members have been upset with the lack of communication from Oracle over the timing of future releases, among other matters.

This time, the OGB is giving Oracle one more chance to step up to the plate. If Oracle does not respond, the OGB will hand over control of the OpenSolaris project to Oracle, effectively washing their hands of the situation. Check the OGB meeting minutes here. The members of the OpenSolaris Governing Board are essentially delivering an ultimatum to the vendor, asking that it appoint a liaison to the group by no later than Aug. 16, or else the board will be disbanded. That executive should have the authority to talk about the future of OpenSolaris and its interaction with the OpenSolaris community. Otherwise the OGB will take action at the August 23 meeting to trigger the clause in the OGB charter that will return control of the community to Oracle.

Peter Tribble posts in his blog about this decision. A lot of frustration is expressed here, but I can fully understand his way of communication, especially about a company that has not handled their mergers in a clear manner, in particular  those portions that involved open sourced/community based products.

I have the impression, Oracle is not interested in OpenSolaris at all, and that they prefer to do nothing, so that the project turns absolutely boring and no one has any interest on it anymore. Just let it die…

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