OpenSolaris OS officially debuts

Also arriving from Sun is the NetBeans 6.1 open source IDE and a pre-release version of NetBeans for PHP developers

Sun and the OpenSolaris community are this week launching the official first version of the open-source OpenSolaris operating system, which has only been available in pre-release versions for developers until now.

Also arriving from Sun is the NetBeans 6.1 open source IDE and a pre-release version of NetBeans for PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) developers.

Being launched Monday in the US at the CommunityOne conference in San Francisco, OpenSolaris 2008.05 features packaging capabilities intended to make it more attractive to users of the rival Linux platform. Linux binary release capabilities in OpenSolaris are derived from an effort known as Project Indiana. These capabilities now are referred to as the OpenSolaris Image Packaging System. The packaging system simplifies installation and integration with third party applications.

"It's a major milestone where we're putting [the OS] out there for end-users fully supported," said Jim McHugh, vice president of Solaris marketing.

Based on the Solaris kernel, OpenSolaris incorporates features such as ZFS (Zettabyte File System), offering instant rollback and check-summing, which makes sure data does not get corrupted. ZFS is the default file system, linking to the basic components of the OS. Another capability, Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), provides predictive self-healing capabilities.

Solaris Containers within OpenSolaris enable building of virtualization-aware applications that can be deployed on more than 1,000 systems ranging from single machines to multi-CPU and multi-core systems.

Other capabilities in OpenSolaris include the Gnome 2.20 desktop look and feel and Compiz open-source window application.

OpenSolaris upgrades are to be released every six months.

OpenSolaris.org began as an open-source project started by Sun in 2005 to build a developer community around Solaris. The OpenSolaris OS serves as a platform for developing features to be rolled into Sun's own commercial version of Solaris.

Asked about redundancies in Solaris and OpenSolaris and why there needs to be two similar products, McHugh said there are companies running their database on Solaris who are likely to continue to do that.

"I think there's a case where they're happy on Solaris 10," said McHugh.

As part of the OpenSolaris announcement, Amazon and the OpenSolaris community are announcing that OpenSolaris will be available in a hosted fashion via Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). Customers can access the product without having to purchase the hardware to run it.

"It's a flexible model for developers who are looking for a quick [place] to run apps," without having to leverage their own datacenter, said Juan Carlos Soto, Sun vice president of global market development and engineering.

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