Some Sun customers, like John Kretz, president of Enlightened Point Consulting Group LLC, in Phoenix, questioned Suns commitment to open source because of its history with Java. "I believe Sun has shown their true colors with Java," said Kretz. "Eighteen months ago if you had told me Novell [Inc.] would be a bigger proponent of open source than Sun I would have laughed myself to death. Truth is stranger than fiction I guess." Kretz said he does not support the open sourcing of Solaris, particularly from a security standpoint. "If Sun wants to open-source Solaris, then it should do it with a future release, one that has been combed over several times to find the most dangerous security issues," he said.Other users, such as Chuck Kramer, chief technology officer for Social & Scientific Systems Inc., in Silver Spring, Md., disagree. He said opening Solaris is a good thing as long as Sun continues its development to ensure legacy compatibility. "Open-sourcing it will lead to lower acquisition costs, potentially broader platform and device support, and even better compatibility with other operating systems as those users/vendors seek a cooperative operating environment," said Kramer. "Ive always felt Solaris had much more capability than was evident, but backward compatibility was holding it back. Going open source will expose those areas where Sun might have been able to make leaps in terms of security, manageability, performance and compatibility with other operating systems, but didnt for the sake of legacy support." Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at http://linux.eweek.com for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Thomas Nau, head of the Communication and Information Centers Infrastructure Department at the University of Ulm, Germany, also has concerns. "I think being very cautious about this is vital to them. If open-sourcing Solaris puts the code into danger of not being binary compatible anymore, then the risk is too high," he said. "I saw commodity Linux, not the enterprise editions, breaking applications far too often. I also think it becomes close to impossible to support an open version. Beside, what would be the gain? There are options today, but how many run Solaris on the desktop or Linux/FreeBSD? Also, having several distributions, all slightly different, doesnt help running a business on top of them."