Lots of speculation about Solaris and OpenSolaris is happening right now, with an allegedly leaked email being the latest generator of buzz, rumors and troll-ism.
But is that any useful? No.
So let's cut through the shiitake, do some due diligence and focus on some real facts instead.
In this article, we'll check out some real and authoritative sources of Solaris direction, mainly John Fowler's recent webcast about Solaris 11. Then we'll see what our future opportunities as members of the Solaris community are, and close with some pointers to other opinions on Solaris 11.
But before we start, the usual disclaimer: I am an employee of Oracle, I can't comment on any rumors, leaked emails or other speculation. The following is only my personal opinion and not necessarily the opinion of my employer.
Oracle and Open Source
Oracle is a big supporter of open source. Just check Oracle's Open Source Page for a number of open source projects that Oracle supports, including OpenSolaris.
The OpenSolaris Source Code is the Foundation of the Next Release of Solaris
As everybody who is familiar with Solaris and OpenSolaris knows, the source code we see in src.opensolaris.org is the ongoing development of the next release of Solaris. The OpenSolaris binary distribution is created from that source code and hence, it has always been a preview of the next release of Solaris.
The Next Release of Solaris Will be Called Solaris 11
The most interesting announcement so far (and this is official, true and public, as in "not rumor nor leaked") is John Fowler's Recent Oracle Systems Strategy Update Webcast. Please do yourself a favor and watch it, or at least download the slides. Its free, you just need to register.
I'll even give you a shortcut:
On Slide 10, or 10:40 into the video, John Fowler announced that the next release of Solaris is going to be Solaris 11, in 2011 (sic) and that Oracle is speeding up Solaris development. Solaris 11 will be as big a release as Solaris 10 was when it was introduced in 2005.
12:20 into the video, John lists the key improvements that Solaris 11 will deliver: A more powerful networking stack, better scalability, improved virtualization, a new packaging and deployment architecture, enhancements to the file system, and many more. Sounds familiar? Sure, go read all about them on the OpenSolaris projects pages!
Slide 12 (12:50) is a full roadmap for Solaris 10 and Solaris 11, highlighting key development milestones and showing regular release intervals (which come surprisingly close to traditional Oracle Open World dates). No more waiting for releases. Nice, predictable update schedule instead.
As John Fowler said, Oracle Solaris 11 will be made available as an early access soon, and I bet it will look remarkably familiar to those who have seen previous OpenSolaris builds before.
Oh, and be sure to watch the other bits of the webcast as well, for an update on the SPARC roadmap with some exciting data points about future SPARC processors.
What You Can Do Now
The way I see it, this is all good news, and it reinforces Oracle's commitment to Solaris and SPARC in a big way. And for the Solaris community, this presents a lot of ways to get involved:
If you have been previously waiting for the next release of the OpenSolaris binary distribution, you should be looking forward to the Solaris 11 early access program. After all, the OpenSolaris binary distribution always was an early access version of what is to become the next major release of Solaris. And now it is coming. Stay tuned and check out the preview of Solaris 11 as soon as it comes out.
If you're involved in an OpenSolaris user group, not much has changed: Solaris continues to deliver great technologies and features that are just waiting to be discussed, tried out, put to practice and shared among other Solaris enthusiasts.
If you're a developer, now would be a good time to join the Oracle Technology Network to stay up to date on new developments around Oracle Solaris 11. BTW, this is a good idea regardless of whether you actually develop code yourself or just use Oracle Solaris.
And if you're an open source enthusiast who wants to contribute source to a Solaris project, you still have all the options: I hear that the Solaris people are hiring, there are numerous projects related to Solaris on OpenSolaris.org, lots of user groups in all places of the world to join and there's even a full spoon/fork (depending on how you look at it) of the core OpenSolaris OS and Networking bits to play with.
In conclusion: Watch out for real facts from authoritative sources and don't waste your time with speculations, gossip or other unreliable information. While Oracle's communication volume may have been a little more terse than Sun's, there's a lot of value in following Oracle's official announcements closely. Just remember to stick to the facts.
Solaris 11 is the future, and it will be the best release of Solaris ever. In fact, you can preview its technologies now by looking at OpenSolaris.org and by joining the Solaris 11 early access program once it opens.
The community around Solaris is starting to become more independent, and as a result it will only become stronger. This is a good thing, because it helps the cause of bringing great OS technology to a server near you, enhance its potential and contribute new code, tools and application to the Solaris 11 OS.
Remember: The owner may have changed, but the architects, developers, service people, SEs and the community behind Solaris are still the same. Yes, people leave and join companies, they start and abandon projects, but these are all signs of a living, breathing Solaris community.
More Takes, Opinions and Comments
However, I'm not the only blogger trying to do a reality check here, and it may be valuable for you to check out other opinions as well. Here are a few articles from similar or different, but interesting viewpoints:
An interview with John Fowler in ServerWatch about Solaris 11. Notice the "Oracle will continue to invest in its open source communities" bit.
So the point is: Stick to the facts. Be constructive. RTFM. The idealism behind Solaris is technology oriented: It's all about the best innovations in operating system design ever, and how to make the best of them for businesses, users and developers.
What's your take? What are you looking forward to in Solaris 11? Leave a comment and share your take on Solaris 11 now!