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5 Operating Systems Making Big Waves This Week

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OS

It's been a busy week for operating systems (OSes). Here's a rundown of what happened and the implications.

1. QNX to Power BlackBerry Tablets

It's not often an embedded OS that controls Las Vegas hotel fountains, car audio units and air traffic control systems makes the news, and this time last week you'd have been hard pressed to find more than a handful of people who had ever heard of QNX.

That is until Research in Motion announced it will be basing its BlackBerry Tablet OS on QNX, which it acquired earlier this year (and promptly made closed source). QNX will thus be at the heart of the highly specced BlackBerry PlayBook tablet aimed at enterprise users when it is released in 2011.

The QNX OS is a far cry from anything RIM has used in its BlackBerry mobile devices before: It's a POSIX OS based on a microkernel architecture, with device drivers, networking stack and file system all running in memory-protected user space. It also features an adaptive partitioning scheduling system, which has an effect similar to Windows SQL Server 2008's Resource Governor: It aims to guarantee applications a set percentage of processor resources, ensuring real-time applications keep running even when the OS is doing a significant amount of multitasking.

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Goodbye Solaris

  • Guilty SPARC: Oracle euthanizes Solaris 12, expunging it from roadmap
    Rumors have been circulating since late last year that Oracle was planning to kill development of the Solaris operating system, with major layoffs coming to the operating system's development team. Others speculated that future versions of the Unix platform Oracle acquired with Sun Microsystems would be designed for the cloud and built for the Intel platform only and that the SPARC processor line would meet its demise. The good news, based on a recently released Oracle roadmap for the SPARC platform, is that both Solaris and SPARC appear to have a future. The bad news is that the next major version of Solaris—Solaris 12— has apparently been canceled, as it has disappeared from the roadmap. Instead, it's been replaced with "Solaris 11.next"—and that version is apparently the only update planned for the operating system through 2021.
  • Oracle Finally Confirms It's Canning Solaris 12
    At the beginning of December there were rumors of Oracle canning Solaris and now that's finally been confirmed by Oracle more or less as they will not be delivering Solaris 12. According to Ars, they got confirmation from Oracle that they will not be going ahead with Solaris 12 as planned. Solaris 12 has been canceled and wiped off their roadmap. Oracle is said to be working on a "Solaris.next", but no details yet. This "Solaris.next" is also reportedly the only planned Solaris update through 2021.

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