OPEN LETTER TO ORACLE: (Open)Solaris Roadmap

Posted on February 2, 2010

Dear Oracle,

Congratulations on the EU approval of your acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Many of us in the various Sun communities spent years working closely with Oracle products on Sun technology and feel right at home being part to the Oracle family. The business savvy and dedication to customer success will be a welcome change in the direction of all of Sun’s technologies.

While the strategy webcasts and FAQs have been fantastic, there are many questions customers have regarding the future of Solaris, OpenSolaris and the technologies within. It’s no secret that for several months Oracle has been involved to some degree in Sun engineering directions and therefore it does not seem unreasonable to ask for answers even so soon after the EU green-light.

First, and of foremost concern, is the future of the Solaris product for enterprise customer, currently “Solaris 10”. Will there be a Solaris 11? (It would fit nicely with Oracle’s scheme, btw.) Will it be compatible with existing Solaris technologies (Jumpstart, SysV PKGs, etc) or will the existing path to scrap these technologies in favor of new and unproven solutions created within the OpenSolaris platform be chosen instead?

Please understand that until recently customers could choose the traditional product (Solaris 10), the advanced development product (OpenSolaris Distribution), or use the bridge between these two worlds: Solaris Express Community Edition(SX:CE). However, with SX:CE’s recent retirement Solaris shops are forced to make a choice: go forward and accept uncomfortable and disruptive changes of OpenSolaris Distro or fall back into the technically inferior but fully supported and well understood Solaris 10. Sadly, some are opting to leave all together due to a lack of direction.

Decisions need to be made and customers need guidance in order to make them. Consistent with Sun’s legacy, the OpenSolaris project has been phenomenally successful in empowering customers and driving innovation, however management has continually failed to produce a coherent roadmap for enterprises to bank on.

Therefore, I would humbly ask that Oracle definitively provide guidance on the following:

  • A roadmap for enterprise Solaris customers
  • Guarantees with regard to the well-being and sustained viability of OpenSolaris as an Open Source community (independent of “OpenSolaris” as a distribution)
  • Future support and development for Solaris virtualization technologies, namely xVM (the best Xen solution in the industry thanks to ZFS, Crossbow, FMA, etc.) and Containers (the best Xen alternative in the industry), with respect to how they will compliment, supplement or be replaced by “Oracle VM”

I look forward to these details which will hopefully put an end to the Solaris FUD and put us back on a path of profitable and productive growth, for the sake of the community, customers, and Oracle itself.

Ben Rockwood

(Open)Solaris Developer & Evangelist