Sun Debuts OpenSolaris Developer Preview

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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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