What is Illumos? (and more on Bryan Cantrill)

I’m listening in on the conference call, and this sounds exactly what the OpenSolaris community needs.

It’s a potential fork – and a very exciting one at that; the project aims to be a fully open derivative of the Solaris/OpenSolaris code base, and has the involvement of some illustrious and recently ex-Sun/Oracle people – including Bryan Cantrill. Garret D’Amore (formerly Sun/Oracle, now of Nexenta) is the project lead.

By fully open, they mean all the proprietary code parts of Solaris/OpenSolaris have been replaced with open source code, with no corporate dependencies. In terms of the relationship with Oracle Solaris/OpenSolaris, they see it not as a competitor, but as an independent project which Oracle may if they wish choose to collborate on. Critically, the Illumos team believe that if code were to stagnate or stop flowing upstream from Oracle, they have enough “critical mass” in terms of developer resources and community involvement that they could continue to sustain the project. In their own words, it “can’t be “shut down” or subverted by any corporate master”. This news, coupled with the involvement of ex-Sun staff just warms my heart.

Hardware support? x86/AMD64, VMware/VirtualBox, with SPARC to follow soon (yay!).

I’d be hugely interested to eventually see an Illumos distro (again, given the involvement of ex-Sun talent), and if they were to provide professional support in line with pre-Oracle-takeover Solaris or OpenSolaris arrangements then this would be a very attractive alternative to the present situation.

Bryan Cantrill has posted some of his thoughts on OpenSolaris and forking over at http://dtrace.org/blogs/bmc/2010/08/03/opensolaris-and-the-power-to-fork/.


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