Solaris 10's Opening Act

Sun CEO Scott McNealy unleashed the first small piece of Solaris 10 code, the DTrace utility, to be open-sourced, promising that the bulk of Solaris 10 will be available under Sun's recently approved open-source license by the end of next quarter.

As he officially launched the Web site, McNealy said the first "buildable" version of Open Solaris will offer key features from Solaris 10, including containers, self-healing, military-grade security, new TCP/IP networking stack, and eventually, the Zetabyte File System.

Sun is slated to post commercial Solaris 10 for download on its site Jan. 31, but the DVDs won't ship into the channel until March. Moreover, the first cut of Solaris 10 and Open Solaris won't include the Linux Application Environment (LAE) code that enables the Unix operating system upgrade to run Linux applications natively.

A Sun spokeswoman confirmed that LAE won't be available until the second half. Both Solaris 10 and Open Solaris were originally promised to be available by the end of last year.

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McNealy said the decision to offer Solaris 10 (without customer support) to the market at no charge and to open-source Solaris 10 is a monumental decision.

"Nobody else in the open-source community is doing what we have done," he said, noting that Sun's Mozilla-like license, the Community Development and Distribution License, will allow users to commingle and distribute proprietary software with Open Solaris with full patent indemnification.

"Open Solaris will have far less influence or impact than the pure quality of Solaris 10. The pricing isn't changing--it isn't free--just the license structure is modified," said Marc Maselli, president of Back Bay Technologies, a Sun iForce partner in Boston. "This is just another move to mobilize uptake, build customer base and fight SUSE [Linux] and Red Hat."