Is Sun having second thoughts about opening of Solaris code?

Sun Microsystems is rethinking its January decision to release to developers the entire source code of its Unix-variant operating system Solaris.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

Sun Microsystems is rethinking its January decision to release to developers the entire source code of its Unix-variant operating system Solaris, and now plans to release that code in separate parts.

The enterprise software and hardware vendor said initially that it would make the Solaris 8 source code available free to developers by Q3 of this year.

The programme is targeted at service providers, Internet appliance makers, developers of embedded systems, and others who need easy access to the Solaris source code to innovate faster.

However, according to Anil Gadre, Sun’s vice president and general manager for Solaris Software, there is a greater value to developers if that code is broken up into parts.

The issue, Gadre said, is that Solaris 8 is made up of between five and 10 million lines of code, making it too cumbersome to be effectively modified as freeware.

Gadre said that Sun should have “taken [its] time to think a little bit further about the slices of communities that have different interests in different parts of the code.”

Sun also clamped some new conditions on its licensing model, including compatibility testing of third-party development that modifies the source code of the operating system.

Gadre said that Sun has no problem with developers changing Solaris’ code dramatically as long as they do not continue to call it Solaris—a factor which would undoubtedly lead to ISV confusion.

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