OpenIndiana Picks up Where OpenSolaris Left off
For those disappointed by Oracle's decision to discontinue supporting a free version of its Solaris Unix-like operating system, a new alternative emerged to take its place. OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation. OpenIndiana will be built on the last available version of OpenSolaris and will contain bits of Solaris 11. OpenIndiana is the new OpenSolaris.
OpenIndiana is said to be compatible with Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express and should be an easy drop-in replacement for those systems. Initially OpenIndiana will contain some closed-source code since the current code-base is not fully open. These bits will eventually be replaced by fully Open Source code.
OpenIndiana was born out of the need of many companies who relied upon Solaris and OpenSolaris for their businesses. When Oracle bought Sun, it changed the license of Solaris 10 (the previous version) so that it was no longer free to use and increased the price of their contracts to $1000 - $2000 per socket per year. For those that that prefer Solaris over other Open Source alternatives - such as the founder of OpenIndiana - an alternative option now exists. With OpenIndiana, former Solaris users can switch and receive free security updates and regular releases.
At present, OpenIndiana is considered to still be in development and is not recommended for production environments, but a stable release is expected within the next six months. For those interested, there are installable live DVD and USB images available for testing at the OpenIndiana Website. IPS repositories are also available so users can upgrade their existing OpenSolaris installs. OpenIndiana is appropriate for desktop or server use and features the GNOME desktop environment as well as several nice desktop applications.
OpenIndiana is a community project built by community members and it hopefully will have a bright future.
Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.
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