OpenSolaris's days are numbered. Oracle has revealed plans to discontinue support for the platform, and the OpenSolaris board has since disbanded. But there's a ray of hope for supporters of the platform who are loathe to enlist a free alternative or to fork over cash to Oracle to use regular Solaris: Developers of a newly released project called OpenIndiana are touting the offering as the only true clone of OpenSolaris out there.
OpenIndiana is a project of the The Illumos Foundation, which develops Illumos, an open source alternative to the OpenSolaris and Solaris kernel and core network features. "OpenIndiana aims to be binary and package compatible with Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express, and most of the operating system is built from source code that Oracle continues to make available," according to OpenIndiana. "So in some ways, our relationship is similar to the way the CentOS project tracks Red Hat Enterprise Linux."
Alasdair Lumsden spearheaded the OpenIndiana project because he's a huge fan of OpenSolaris and wants to continue using it for his small hosting company. However, he finds it difficult to afford the $100,000 in licensing fees he'd need to pay to migrate his 50 two-socket servers to Solaris 11.
One alternative, he said, was a different flavor of Linux -- but "for us, Linux lacks many of the features that we use every day, like ZFS and containers," he told The Register.
As for using another OpenSolaris distribution such as Nexenta, BeleniX, or SchilliX, "None of the other distributions are a clone of OpenSolaris, nor do they have the market penetration we believe we can obtain with this project," states the FAQ page of the OpenIndiana Wiki.