Operating Systems

In late October 2008, Sine Nomine Associates (SNA) released a running proof-of- concept port of the OpenSolaris operating system for System z processors. SNA worked in collaboration with Sun Microsystems and IBM, which provided technical assistance and equipment to facilitate the port. This article:

• Provides an overview of what the OpenSolaris port is—and what it isn’t

• Includes an overview of the project timeline and design decisions made to facilitate integration of the OpenSolaris operating system into the System z environment

• Offers technical insight on the state of the port and next steps envisioned.

First Things First

Before we dive into the details of the port, it’s important to understand the distinction between OpenSolaris and the traditional Solaris operating system our colleagues in the Sun world typically deploy on their Intel or SPARC hardware.

Commercial Solaris is composed of three major components:

• The core operating system technology (kernel, utilities, device drivers, etc.) that’s shared between OpenSolaris and the Solaris package

• Two types of third-party software from Sun and other vendors. One class of third-party software is produced by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) other than Sun, and Sun can’t distribute the source code (so these products aren’t available in OpenSolaris); the second class of third-party software are tools produced by other divisions of Sun that have chosen not to make source code available as part of OpenSolaris.

So how does this help you understand the purpose of OpenSolaris? A quote from the Sun Marketing VP during the presentation the team made at the Gartner Data Center Connections conference in Las Vegas in October 2007 sums it up fairly clearly: “You can think of OpenSolaris as Solaris.NEXT.”

3 Pages