Sun to License OpenSolaris Under GPLv3

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-01-16 Print this article Print

The company plans a renewed focus on the needs of developers and system administrators with Solaris going forward, while individual pieces of the next version will also likely be increasingly delivered first as components or technologies targeted at verti

Sun Microsystems is set to license OpenSolaris under the upcoming GNU General Public License Version 3 in addition to the existing Common Development and Distribution License, sources close to the company have told eWEEK. OpenSolaris currently is licensed only under Suns CDDL, but company executives have previously floated the idea of a dual license with GPLv3.
Sources told eWEEK that this is very likely to happen after the release of that version of the GPL, which currently is being rewritten and is expected to be made final soon.
"The next version of Solaris will include things like GNU Userland, which is already being attempted with OpenSolaris, while open-source solutions from other communities for things like package management also look very promising. Dual-licensing OpenSolaris with GPLv3 could make this even easier," said a source who declined to be named. Will OpenSolaris and Linux soon be trading code? Click here to read more. "DTrace and the Solaris SMF [Service Management Facility]—a framework that handles system boot-up, process management and self-healing—will also lead to really useful development and management tools unlike those available today on any other operating system," the source said. "Moreover these things are scriptable and could easily be tied into the business management processes used by an organization to account for and manage their IT resources," the source said. While Sun officials would not confirm the plan to dual-license OpenSolaris under the CDDL and GPLv3, Tom Goguen, vice president of Solaris software at Sun, told eWEEK that other open-source technologies will play a big role in Solaris going forward. "Take the GNU Userland, which is an interesting piece of technology that Sun is looking at closely, and we may do something similar with, say, a container flavor," he said. "You can also expect to see a renewed focus on the needs of developers and system administrators with Solaris going forward, while individual pieces of the next version will also likely be increasingly delivered first as components or technologies targeted at vertical markets," he said. The key is making these technologies easy to drop into an established network, where they would not be intrusive or damaging and where people could continue to work the way they are used to, but that have open-source software and standards at the back end, Goguen said. Click here to read about the 128-bit Zettabyte File System in Solaris 10. "The combination of DTrace [the dynamic tracing facility built into Solaris], containers and then hypervisors will change the way we look at, use, write applications for and manage general-purpose operating systems," he said. "With DTrace we can deliver much more interesting sets of telemetry data—data that supports the business processes. Imagine the kind of useful real-time information that DTrace on a Solaris-based storage box could give you about who is using what and when. DTrace is a differentiator for Sun that will provide us with real advantages in this space," he said. Sun also made virtualization improvements to Solaris 10—the most current version of its operating system—in the recent release of its third update, which includes adding Logical Domains and enhanced Solaris Containers. Logical Domains allow customers to dynamically provision and run up to 32 instances of the operating system on each UltraSPARC T1-based system, Goguen said. Solaris Containers, which run inside the Logical Domain instances, allow the isolation of software applications and services, so that many private execution environments can be created within a single instance of Solaris. "Customers can detach, clone and move containers for greater utilization of system resources, simplified testing and deployment, and improved application security," he said. Read more here about the release of the third update to Solaris 10. Peder Ulander, Suns vice president of software marketing, said the companys plans for Solaris include far tighter integration of the operating system to the hardware and the applications that run on top of it, as well as creating new appliances and optimized virtualized application stacks. Suns goal is to create both a virtualized operating system for optimized, virtual appliances or application stacks, and a data center operating system, he said. Next Page: Suns labs.

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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