Oracle, Sun, BSD, Solaris and Darwin (with a nod to OS X)

2009-04-30

In recent news: Sun Microsystems has been targeted for takeover by Oracle. The deal is expected to complete by the end of the summer. Oracle and Sun have both published an FAQ which I briefly looked over. The bit that caught my eye is the wording to the effect that "[Oracle] remains committed to Linux".

Does that mean Oracle are going to push code from Solaris into Linux, eventually dropping the former, or that they are going to retain Solaris for High-end deployments? OpenSolaris has quite an active community, even if most of that is from within Sun itself.

On the note of Solaris, I do love this platform in the guise of OpenSolaris. The SMF along with ZFS are two very amazing pieces of technology. The other bonus in the Solaris code base to Oracle is the DTrace system, which I’ve not had a chance to look at.

Onto BSD. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an operating system that was Free as in Beer, Free as in Gratis, and had all the advantages of Linux along with some of it’s own technologies? Well, why not look at Free/Open/NetBSD? The range of hardware support may not be as good as Linux, but quite a few Linux technologies are getting ported to the BSDs along with Solaris technologies such as ZFS. The license is the most liberal of open source licenses available, requiring only attribution when redistributed or cobbled into another product (which can be closed source).

My opinion? Well, If I can’t go with OS X – which has BSD internals, the launchd system and "just works" – I think my preference is swinging from Linux onto OpenSolaris. Maybe I’ve just got a penchant for smaller, lesser-used, operating systems.

I guess my ideal non-OSX system would be an OpenSolaris or pureDarwin-based distro. PureDarwin is the project that evolved out of the demise of OpenDarwin, and aims to create a workable OS out of the opensourced parts of OS X; which means that launchd is a given. However, pureDarwin is very infantile at present and really isn’t usable nor up-to-date (AFAICT), with it’s developer preview from way back at christmas.