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Sun launches OpenSolaris project with DTrace code

Sun Microsystems is set to unveil its strategy for open sourcing its Solaris operating system Tuesday, Jan. 24, beginning immediately with the DTrace utility. The source code for DTrace, Sun's new dynamic tracing framework, will be available for download Tuesday at opensolaris.org. The company is promising to provide "buildable code" from the upcoming Solaris 10 release by the second quarter.

"Our goal is to be completely open with this," Glenn Weinberg, VP of the operating platforms group, told Java Development Trends. "We are not sticking our toe in the water of open source here. We are embracing the true spirit of the open source community and process."

Sun recently received approval from the Open Source Initiative (OSI) for Version 1.0 of the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL--which they're pronouncing "cuddle" at Sun), paving the way for the OpenSolaris project. Sun submitted the CDDL to the OSI for review and approval on this past Dec. 1 via the license-discuss@opensource.org mailing list, then submitted a revised version based on community review on Dec. 17. The OSI is the non-profit group that manages open source definitions through a certification program.

The CDDL is a "direct descendent" of the 1.1 version of the Mozilla Public License (MPL), Weinberg says. The license covers all of the patents that are relevant to the Solaris source code, Weinberg says.

One of the changes Sun made to the MPL was to make the patent terms clearer and more favorable to smaller developers, Weinberg says. "One of our goals is to use our patent portfolio to actually protect the OpenSolaris community that we want to build and to allow them real intellectual property protection."

The DTrace technology is one of the key additions planned for the latest release of Sun's operating system, Solaris 10, due at the end of January. DTrace is a dynamic tracing framework designed for network troubleshooting and system performance tuning in real time.

Other technologies expected in OpenSolaris include Trusted Containers and the Zetabyte File System.

Sun is scheduled to outline its strategy for OpenSolaris Tuesday during a conference call with reporters and analysts. Weinberg says the company will announce its plans for establishing a community advisory board to begin the process of building an OpenSolaris developer community. That board will initially comprise five members: two from Sun, two elected from the current pilot OpenSolaris project, and one "luminary" from the open source community, Weinberg says.

Sun stated its plans to open-source Solaris last June, and OpenSolaris was originally expected to be released by the end of 2004. Plans were stalled, however, when a debate raged within the highest levels of Sun about exactly how much of the OS should be open sourced. Sources said that disagreement has since been resolved.

Weinberg would not comment on rumors that Sun plans to open source its JINI technology and JES bundle.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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