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OpenSolaris spork ready for download

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It is not quite ready for primetime, but with the announcement of OpenIndiana, a so-called spork of Oracle's OpenSolaris Unix distribution, the server world is getting a familiar, re-opened, and community-developed operating system aimed specifically at data center workloads.

Then Oracle changed the licensing terms for the Solaris 10 freebie distribution, which only allows those who download the operating system to use it in test and development environments; if you use Solaris 10 in production, you are supposed to pay Oracle $1,000 to $2,000 per socket per year, depending on the scalability of the server. Then the OpenSolaris community died of neglect and eventually committed ritual suicide.

While the Illumos Project, launched in early August to create an open source alternative to the OpenSolaris and Solaris kernel and core network features (called OS/Net in the Sun lingo), Illumos did not go so far as to create a full distribution. Moreover, the sporky bit was that Illumos was going to try to work with Oracle and contribute code changes into OpenSolaris in the hopes that Oracle will adopt some of the changes and share some of its own.

Why not just shut up and use Linux, as so many former Sun customers over the past decade have clearly done?

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