Requiem for an OS: OpenSolaris board closes shop

Neglected by Oracle, the OpenSolaris operating system has now lost its external governing body

Seemingly abandoned by its new owner, the open-source version of the Solaris operating system, called OpenSolaris, has now lost its governing board as well.

On Monday, the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) passed a motion to dissolve itself, OGB chairman John Plocher announced on the OGB mailing list. The control of OGB now returns to Oracle, according to the bylaws originally set in place by Sun Microsystems.

Since Oracle completed its purchase of Sun Microsystems in January, the company has been publicly silent about its plans for OpenSolaris, even as it has touted Solaris itself for large systems.

The company did not issue a planned March 2010 update of the software and offered no communication to OGB as to the reason why. In July, OGB issued an ultimatum to Oracle to appoint a liaison to OGB, or the board would dissolve.

Earlier this month, an internal Oracle memo, purportedly from an employee, stated that the company has no plans to release future versions of OpenSolaris, and instead will offer a free binary version of Solaris, called Solaris Express, for developers and casual users.

At the O'Reilly Open Source Conference held last month in Portland, Oregon, OGB member Simon Phipps said he doubted that OpenSolaris could continue to be developed without Oracle's help, given that most of the engineers familiar with the OS are Oracle employees.

Earlier this month, Nexenta engineer Garrett D'Amore, formerly with both Sun and Oracle, started a variant of OpenSolaris, called Illumos.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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Tags open sourceOracleoperating systemsunixsoftwareSun MicrosystemsOpenSolaris

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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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