Sun Details Open Solaris Licensing Plans

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-01-24 Print this article Print

The company will use its new Common Development and Distribution License for its Open Solaris project. Sun also will release the code to its DTrace technology, which is found in the upcoming Solaris 10 operating system and allows a look into its inner wor

Sun Microsystems Inc. will use the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) for its Open Solaris project, and also will announce Tuesday that it is making the source code to its DTrace technology, found in the upcoming Solaris 10 operating system, immediately available to developers. But the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company plans to keep the Solaris trademark and all distribution rights associated with that, so the Sun Solaris software brand will continue to be made available as a supported distribution by the company, with value-added services and support offered at a charge on top of that. Sun submitted the CDDL to the OSI (Open Source Initiative) for approval in December, but declined to say what it intended to use the license for. As previously reported in eWEEK, it was widely expected that this would be the license used for the Open Solaris Project if approved.
The OSI approved the license earlier this month, and John Loiacono, Suns executive vice president of software, will officially announce the licenses use for Open Solaris on Tuesday, Tom Goguen, vice president of Suns operating platforms group, told eWEEK.
"Developers will be given access to the source code and will be allowed to modify the code covered by the CDDL, but those modifications will have to be shared back with the community. This is also a very friendly license for OEMs," Goguen said. Also, as first reported in eWEEK, developers agreeing to the CDDL will get access to all of the technology rights of more than 1,600 patents associated with Solaris and Open Solaris. Read more here about Suns decision to give patent-use rights to developers. "Its important to note there are also a large number of patents pending in Solaris 10, which could increase this number. The license also gives users a level of patent protection," Goguen said. The CDDL, which is based on the commonly used MPL (Mozilla Public License), brings to the table "a lot of the value and benefits of the MPL," he said. "We did some tweaking of that license, particularly around how it can be combined with other licenses, and the OSI also took several months taking a close look at it," he said. All of the source code to Solaris 10 will be made available not on Tuesday but rather sometime in the second quarter of this year, when developers will be given everything they need to create, build and run an open version of Solaris, Goguen said. Also on Tuesday, Sun will make the source code available for DTrace, a new feature in Solaris 10 that opens to developers and system administrators a window onto the workings of the operating system and the applications that run on it. The source code will be available at However, that code initially will not include the compilers and other files necessary to allow a build to be made from it, as those will be made available later. "But any enterprising developer can take that code and do some interesting things with it," Goguen said. There is also some Solaris 10 source code, mostly third-party specifications and drivers, that Sun does not have the legal rights to give away as source code, so these will be made available as binaries and can be built into any open Solaris distribution and used, he said. Next Page: Accelerated release plans for Solaris 10.

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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