Was a posting on the Oracle Website published Feb. 24 titled "End of Service Life Status for OpenSolaris Operating System" simply unclear on the concept, or was it a hint that Oracle is planning to drop the Sun Microsystems-developed open-source operating system entirely?
Industry folks on Twitter, FriendFeed, Yammer and Google Buzz admitted they were confused as they discussed the Oracle page, which talks about "the OpenSolaris End Of Service Life time line for OpenSolaris OS releases. The information covers the support status of every OpenSolaris release."
No need for application developers and IT managers to worry, though: Oracle says it is not killing off the freely downloadable community version of Sun's Unix-based Solaris enterprise operating system anytime soon.
At least that Oracle's story at this time, and they're sticking to it. As most savvy IT people know, Oracle has never been a company that has given away a lot of free software, so realistically anything can happen.
Oracle Vice President of Corporate Communications Letty Ledbetter told eWEEK via e-mail that people who might have been alarmed initially should just "Keep it movin', folks ... nothing to see here. The page is a policy page to describe how the service life of the product works. [We're] not announcing EOL [for OpenSolaris]."
Ledbetter said that "one of the folks who originally tweeted apparently misread and saw EOL vs. 'End of Service ... status.' They've also posted the following update: 'Just to make it absolutely clear-Oracle has NOT announced the EOL of OpenSolaris.' "
Ledbetter did admit she, too, was a bit confused by the posting's headline, which was in ominous red type.
Message Details General Support Policies
Upon closer reading, the page addresses general policies about how long a general-availability window of time is (six months); the length of time a post-EOV (end of version) phase is (2.5 years); and the SunSpectrum End of Service Life Phase (two years after EOV phase).
For example, the current OpenSolaris, Version 2009.06, was released for GA on June 1, 2009. The end of the GA phase was six months later (Dec. 1, 2009), the end of the post-EOV phase will be June 1, 2012, and the end of SS-EOSL Phase will be June 1, 2014-or 24 months after the previous phase.
To be sure, some people could read the page and ascertain that OpenSolaris is not long for the enterprise world. Oracle, a famously proprietary software company, already does plenty of business with Windows, Solaris, AIX, Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu and other operating systems.
OpenSolaris, however, appears to be safe for the time being.