Oracle and OpenSolaris: A Kernel of Truth

August 16, 2010 - by jason

@nevali on Twitter asked a question that we've heard from many customers, so I'm writing a response to everyone, though none of you need to worry. His question is, "As a long time Open Solaris stalwart, I do wonder what @Joyent’s perspective on the post-Oracle-takeover world is."

In many ways, we're happy to have seen Oracle and Sun combine. Sun was a great company for technologists and Oracle is tremendously good at operating a business. Oracle may prove to be the management team that can turn around Sun's fortunes. And I think they're completely committed to the Solaris kernel.

A lot of people think of OpenSolaris™ when they think of Joyent, and that's reasonable -- since it's the most well known open source distribution of the Solaris Kernel. But in truth, Joyent has never used OpenSolaris™. OpenSolaris™ is a full operating system, a "distribution" containing both a kernel and a userland (along with packaging tools), the name a marketing term used to refer to this full distribution. There are a number of features in there that we've simply never cared about: For instance, we have no need to allow laptops to sleep. Since 2005, Joyent has been using the open source Solaris 11 kernel, a couple of binary bits and combining it with a Solaris build (that we maintain) of NetBSD's pkgsrc. Combining a BSD set of tools with the rock solid Solaris gave us a foundation that contained the best of both worlds and allowed us to have a functional userland while having access to DTrace, ZFS and Zones.

So given Oracle's commitment to the Solaris kernel, and the way we're using it in SmartOS, we're actually very well aligned with Oracle. Also, we've been working and will continue to work to make our base operating system a completely open operating system, and we are aligned with and believe in the vision behind the Illumos project.

If you have any particular questions, comments or concerns in this area, please feel free to let me know directly at jason@joyent.com and I'll make sure they get addressed.

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