The Express version is the offering of Oracle to those who are more than a little disappointed that there will be no company support, or version, of OpenSolaris, which was a community effort.

Oracle has been almost completely adverse to any mention of community involvement of any kind, and so there is an effort to continue the work of OpenSolaris independently, called Illumos.

Solaris 11 Express features these new things –

  • Improved boot times, in the tens of seconds
  • Network virtualization capabilities
  • Enhancements to the ZFS file system

Also mentioned is telemetric integration with Oracle’s online support portal, which is said to allow proactive and preemptive support measures.

Hmm, I ‘m not sure about that, it sounds nasty, like a possible kill switch, if the user has the temerity to change something that Oracle does not like.

From a notice on the InfoWorld site, we also see these claims from Oracle –

It has binary compatibility with more than 11,000 applications developed by third parties on some 1,000 SPARC and x86-based systems, according to Oracle.

Solaris 11 Express presents system administrators with a number of changes in installation, patching, application delivery and other areas, according to Oracle. The company is providing a series of resources to help with the transition. In addition, a webcast is scheduled for Dec. 7.

The release cannot be used in production or commercial environments under the terms of the developer license.

Yet another possible reason for that telemetric integration! If Oracle does not like anything you might be doing with it, a quick shut down will do the trick!

Its release comes a few months after Oracle announced it would no longer support the OpenSolaris project, an open-source distribution of Solaris, in order to focus on the commercial version.

Oracle’s decision followed public frustration by members of the OpenSolaris governing board over the vendor’s perceived lack of interest and participation in the project. The board ultimately dissolved.

But some community members are working on Illumos, a derivative of the OpenSolaris codebase formed in August.

There has not been much notice from any other place about Illumos, so it does look as though those hardy few are keeping a very low profile. No word has been seen, but could there have been any notices to discontinue the efforts?

It is far too early to tell if Solaris 11 Express will garner any real usage – the enthusiasm I once had for the effort, and its lineage, being a true Unix, has been dampened by the reticence of Oracle to help out the little guy, and their speed to litigate makes me wonder if any further efforts are indicated.

§