Sun Debuts OpenSolaris Developer Preview

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-11-01 Print this article Print

The OpenSolaris Developer Preview, available only for x86 platforms, will support Sun's SPARC hardware soon.

Sun Microsystems and the OpenSolaris community have released a developer preview of the binary distribution for OpenSolaris, which is targeted at those who want to develop and test the distribution. While Sun is shooting to make the full official release available next March, should that not happen it will take place before the end of June 2008, Terri Molini, a spokesperson for, and member of, the OpenSolaris community, told eWEEK.
The project to build a binary distribution of OpenSolaris was announced by the community in May, and is known as Project Indiana.
The OpenSolaris Developer Preview, as it is known, can be downloaded here. It consists of a Slim Install Live CD, which is currently only available for x86 platforms, but will support Sun's SPARC hardware in the near future. Read more here about Sun's plans for a developer release of Project Indiana. The Live CD includes a basic core operating system, the GNOME desktop environment and a new graphical installer, with the option to install the operating system from the Live CD, Sun said in a post on its information blog. After the installation, additional packages can be downloaded using the new Image Packaging System, a new package manager that is slated for inclusion in the next version of Solaris but won't be back-ported to Solaris 10, the most recent version to ship. The new IPS is an attempt to design and implement a software delivery system that interacts with a network repository as its primary design goal, according to a post on the OpenSolaris Web site. Other key ideas are the safe execution for zones and other installation contexts; using the ZFS (Zettabyte File System) for efficiency and rollback; preventing the introduction of incorrect or incomplete packages; and efficient use of bandwidth, it says. "Why is this important? It is about re-engineering the way OpenSolaris technology is brought to the free and open-source community," Molini said. "It is about making it more accessible to students, developers and startups." Read here about ZFS for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple's upcoming version of its OS X operating system. All of the technology developed under Project Indiana will be delivered through OpenSolaris going forward, Ian Murdock, Sun's chief operating systems platform strategist, told eWEEK recently, noting that the GNU Userland is also being more tightly integrated with OpenSolaris. Sun is actively working to bring more developers into the Solaris ecosystem, and one of Indiana's goals is to make Solaris, and the features and functionality it offers, more familiar and accessible to people, Murdock said. Making a binary distribution of OpenSolaris has helped with that goal as the community "is giving developers what they want and expect from OpenSolaris," Molini said. Check out's Application Development Center for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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