OpenSolaris/Solaris Relationships

Tuesday, Feb 13. 2007  –  Category: OpenSolaris


there still seems to be some common misconceptions about what the relationship is between OpenSolaris & Solaris. it’s not as simple as “OpenSolaris is open source Solaris”. i’ve tried to answer this before, but as has been said: a picture is worth a thousand words.

so here’s my picture:

basically, OpenSolaris is a set of source code encompassing things like the kernel, libraries, commands, guis (JDS), X, etc. etc. distributions are free to pick and choose from those source code areas as they see fit, they don’t have to take all of the OpenSolaris source. this is why OpenSolaris has the concepts of consolidations, which have the duty of publishing coherent collections of binaries (thanks to sch for that wording, i like it). e.g. JDS is a consolidation publishing the whole desktop environment, ON is a consolidation publishing the kernel, libraries and commands that depend on each other. this helps alleviate issues like dependencies, etc.

the interesting area we hit is when we reach distributions like Nexenta which clearly take ON’s kernel (and libraries?), but uses GNU user commands. an even more interesting area are operating systems which only take certain technologies (e.g.: MacOS taking ZFS & DTrace), or FUSE/ZFS for Linux. if someone took a basic Linux distro and added JDS to it, i would certainly consider it to be a distribution based off of OpenSolaris-based technology.

the 5 distributions shown in the diagram (Nexenta, Belenix, Schillix, MarTux, SXCE/SXDE) are our current distros that are more clearcut since they all deliver builds of ON.

i show the relationship between SXCE (Solaris Express Community Edition) and SXDE (Solaris Express Developer Edition) since they are essentially the same thing, but SXDE delivers at a slower (more “stable”) pace than SXCE which revs frequently. i denote S10 (Solaris 10) in a different colour because, it’s not technically open source since S10 FCS was delivered before we open sourced the Solaris source base, but certainly features and technologies developed in OpenSolaris (ZFS, BrandZ, etc.) are finding their way into S10 updates & patches, so it seemed reasonable to show it in this diagram still.

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