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


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Thanks Community

Macer's picture

I was a huge fan of OpenSolaris and a big fan of OpenIndiana. I am glad to see the community saw the advent of what is to come and had OpenIndiana in place and ready to distribute. I hope Oracle doesn't try to destroy the projects in one form or another because, as stated above, nothing can top zfs. It is by far the most amazing filesystem created.

I can honestly say that Oracle really is all about selling their database software and probably doesn't have an eye on OpenIndiana as long as it doesn't interfere with them making money on their end with their contracts. In reality for something like that to happen companies would have to hire competent admins which are more expensive than just getting support contracts from Oracle.

I am sad to see that Oracle pulled its support but it is great that someone picked up the project and kept it going. It is a good, solid OS with lots of promise and while there are other alternatives out there I really planned on using 134b for another decade until I saw something truly better come along.

Stop the FUD already

watersb's picture

Solaris is a very good OS. Of course you can get great reliability from Linux, Red Hat just had a stellar quarter selling support contracts to businesses. Of course FreeBSD's implementation of ZFS will eventually catch up to the one is Solaris, but right now they are about 8 versions behind.

If OpenIndiana succeeds in rallying a community around it, then there will be a real story here: why did the OpenSolaris community fail? What do the various Linux communities do well, and how is OpenIndiana going to do that?

Oracle has pumped some new development money into Solaris; they are pretty much obligated to do so by their customers' support contracts. The NetApp patent mugging has been put to rest, mostly. Oracle says they will release Solaris 11 source code. Feel the love, people!

No point to OpenSolaris/Indiana, given GNU/Linux and *BSD

Sum Yung Gai's picture

Given that we have both GNU/Linux and the BSD's, I saw no point in OpenSolaris then or OpenIndiana now. If I want a truly FOSS platform, I'll just call for one of the GNU/Linux distros or one of the BSD's. My choice will depend on the specific task at hand.

For typical enterprise x86/AMD64 servers, I'll typically pick Slackware or Red Hat, and for desktops, I'll typically pick Ubuntu or an LTSP deployment. The non-x86 enterprise server stuff gets Debian. For firewalls and anti-spam filters, nothing beats OpenBSD, which I will happily deploy on any CPU platform (it works on many). At this time, I typically do it on Sun Ultra 5 boxes due to their being very cheap, readily available, and rock-solid.

So, given that just about any enterprise need is already covered by Linux and BSD, I just don't see the case for bothering with OpenSolaris. Now, that said, if the developers just want to scratch a programming itch, then power to 'em! They should do so, if for no other reason than because they want to.

I guess you never used zfs.

JonV's picture

I guess you never used zfs. The only reason I use Opensolaris or Nexenta core is because zfs is amazing. All my servers are CentOS but my disk arrays are all on nexenta. I know there is XFS or btrfs but they cant compete with the capabilities of zfs.

Oracle is about making money only

Anonymous's picture

Oracle is amazing sales organisation. They are into money making only...No enthu for technology or society. They have big corps as their customers and pick pocket them at will. Unless and until you have big challege to Oracle in DB and application space from Opensource, they will continue to kill opensource projects.....No difference in M$ and Oracl$.

Java, Oracle, kill...

Anonymous's picture

I just want Oracle could also kill Java. Stupid language...
I'll keep on dreaming...


haqrleyrider1958's picture

I am not a big fan of corporations and big companies producing what they call open source software. I sometimes think they have an ax to grind or some motive in mind. It has been my experience that they do not put the same quality and effort into a distribution as, let's say a university or some other private non-profit organization does.
I have personally experienced this with openSUSE, Fedora, and Open Indiana. Software within the repositories are lacking, and there seems to be a lot of bugs. I am not trying to be biased as I distro hop a lot and gived each and every distribution one chance, and I give the community a chance, and only one chance, for answers to my questions and problems before I decide which one or two to run until something else of interest comes along.
So to recap I do not trust big companies and corporations trying to pipe out free distributions. It's just a perception I have, but I just do not trust the motive and the rhyme or reason.

They are the equivalent of

Anonymous's picture

They are the equivalent of debian sid, of course they are somewhat buggy. Fedora and opensuse are given for free, in return users test the new technology that will be deployed in enterprise versions. It just seems fair to me.
Even foundations and universities get sponsorships from corporations, part of the money goes to develop new technology that interest the sponsor and the rest is used for whatever they want.
Also, in community driven projects as debian and gnome many of the programmers are paid by corporations as oracle, hp and ibm which also provide money and equipment.
Programmers, as most people need to make a living in some way so almost nobody is actually working for free and at least part of the code you write has to produce money in some way. That it's in the form of donations, sponsorship, sales or enterprise contracts it doesn't really make any difference.
Everybody deserve to see a return for their hard work.

so without some kind of corprorate backing

mikesd's picture

would you expect these distros to survive? There's a reason Fedora and Opensuse are 2 top rpm distros.

That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.

perhaps some blackmailing is

Unkn0wn's picture

perhaps some blackmailing is in order?

Oracle is determined to

crosstopher's picture

Oracle is determined to destroy as many of the open source projects as they possibly can. They must be stopped!

Yes we will rise against all

Ukn0wned's picture

Yes we will rise against all of the corporations ... and we will win!

Fight For Freedom!