[ISN] Sun to open source Solaris

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Thu Jun 03 2004 - 00:34:25 PDT

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    By Robert McMillan
    IDG News Service
    After months of hinting about its intentions, Sun on Wednesday
    confirmed that it intends to release source code from its Solaris
    operating system under an open source licence.
    Sun spokesman Russ Castronovo confirmed that an open source Solaris is
    in the works, but he declined to reveal any significant details about
    the project including what software license Sun would be using,
    whether all of the components of the operating system would be
    open-sourced and when, exactly, Sun intended to release an open source
    "At this time it's in the development phase," said Castronovo. "We're
    in the thinking about it stage, and looking at details," he said. "The
    are a million details to work out."
    The debate over whether or not to open source Solaris has been a
    contentious one, according to sources within Sun. As recently as
    Tuesday, Sun CEO Scott McNealy was claiming that it would make little
    sense for Sun to freely release such a valuable asset.
    But Sun has, in fact, released a number of open source software
    products to date, including the OpenOffice productivity suite,
    components of the Gnome desktop, and the Tomcat servlet container.  
    However, the company has, until now, declined to release its most
    important software assets -- Solaris and the Java platform -- under an
    open source license.
    While the central kernel of the Solaris operating system includes some
    interesting technology, an open source Solaris will need to
    materialize within the next few months if it is to be of any interest
    to developers, said Eric Raymond, founder of the Open Source
    Initiative, a nonprofit corporation created to help companies develop
    open source software licenses. "If they don't get this done within six
    months, it's not going to matter at all because Linux is advancing too
    fast," he said.
    Sun has lost a significant portion of its business to Linux servers
    running on inexpensive Intel-based systems. Linux server shipments
    grew by 57% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2004, while sales
    of Unix servers declined by 3% during that time, according to industry
    research firm IDC.
    The fact that Sun is now planning to open source Solaris is somewhat
    ironic, Raymond said. "It is a matter of record that Linux was written
    because Solaris was too expensive and was closed source," he said. "If
    they had open-sourced it in 1990 or sooner, Linux would never have
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