Sun Shares Solaris Source Code

Sun Microsystems has met its self-imposed duty to share the source code of its flagship Solaris operating system. Today marked the beginning of the OpenSolaris project, which Sun celebrated by releasing its DTrace optimizing utility.

The company expects to open up the rest of Solaris by the second quarter of 2005 and reveal the engineering secrets hidden within its containers, self-healing and "hardened" Solaris security features, IP networking stack, and Zetabyte File System.

Sun has appointed independent advisors from the Open Source community to oversee the development of OpenSolaris.


Solaris is being released under the auspice of the Community Development and Distribution License (CDDL). The license contributes over 1,600 patents covering Solaris technologies. Sun claims that its decision to share its intellectual property minimizes the effect IP rights have as an "inhibitor to innovation" in emerging markets.

"As the largest business contributor to the open source community, Sun has always been an ardent believer in open standards and the open source process going back to the inception of this company," said Scott McNealy, Chairman and CEO of Sun. "The release of more than 1,600 patents associated with the Solaris OS far eclipses any other vendor's contribution."

Released today, Dynamic Tracing, or DTrace, is a tool that can analyze and diagnose bottlenecks caused by poorly designed applications and systems. Sun has designed DTrace to operate in valuable production environments when conditions are normal.

"There is nothing you can do (with Dynamic Trace) to cause a system to crash," a Sun spokesperson told BetaNews in an interview last February. Although the feature is turned off by default, over 30,000 probes extend deep into the heart of the operating system. A special scripting language can be used to write complex diagnostic procedures.

For more details on the current Solaris release, version 10, refer to the BetaNews dossier of its core features.

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