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More Open Source Support For Sun's Solaris

Sun is improving its Solaris OS with new support for the open source PostgreSQL database, Xen virtualization, GRUB boot loader and the Solaris ZettaByte File System (ZFS).

The new features come as Sun is claiming that Solaris 10 has hit 3.3 million licenses and as a new update is expected to be released in December. And at least one of the new features may be a boon to the open source community.

ZFS has been hailed by Sun as its next-generation file system that will replace the nearly 25-year-old Unix File System (UFS). It is now being included in the OpenSolaris OS and is set to be included in a May 2006 Solaris 10 update.

ZFS is a 128-bit file system with enhanced error detection and correction capabilities. ZFS removes the need for a volume manager, as storage virtualization is built into the file system providing robust scalability.

Sun has released ZFS as open source under its CDDL license.

Glenn Weinberg, vice president of the operating platforms group at Sun, on an afternoon conference call said that the CDDL is designed to be commercial-friendly and community-friendly in a way that allows for wide deployment.

"We would not at all be surprised to see ZFS start to show up in other operating systems at some point in the not-too-distant future," Weinberg said.

Sun is now also set to support the PostgreSQL open source database. PostgreSQL was just updated to version 8.1 at the beginning of August.

The addition of the open source database comes during the same week as Sun received an endorsement from Oracle for Solaris 10.

Earlier this week, Sun announced that Solaris 10 was again named by Oracle as its preferred development and run-time platform for most x64 architectures.

GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader)is an almost universally used boot loader on Linux distributions that will be included in the next update of Solaris. GRUB is typically used to allow a user to choose which OS or version of the OS they want to boot.

A pair of virtualization components is also set for Solaris integration. Solaris Containers for Linux will appear in the OpenSolaris by the end of this year and in the September 2006 of Solaris 10.

Solaris Containers for Linux will allow Red Hat Linux binaries to run unmodified on Solaris.

For those that need a fully virtualized instance of an OS, Sun has got another option by way of the open source Xen Virtualization project in which Sun is now actively participating. Xen will find its way into Solaris 10 by September 2006 and OpenSolaris by year's end.

Sun claims that Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris so far are both doing well.

John Loiacono, executive vice president of Sun Software told the conference call that there were now 3.3 million registered Solaris 10 systems with two-thirds of them on x86.

Loiacono also described Sun's open source efforts as a success with its OpenSolaris community currently numbering over 10,000 members.

Code from those members that aren't Sun employees has already found its way back into Solaris, according to Loiacono, which is proof positive of Sun's open source commitment and strategy.

"We said from the beginning that doing open source is not of interest to us; doing open source with the community is," Loiacono said. "The community aspect of that is what truly makes it open source, just giving code away does nothing."