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Is OpenIndiana a "Fork"?

No, mostly.

OpenIndiana tracks the official Oracle OpenSolaris (and potentially the forthcoming Solaris Next) releases, utilising the source code Oracle continues to make available. As such, our relationship is similar to the way the CentOS project tracks Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

However there are differences, for example we intend to use Illumos in place of the official OS/Net consolidation, and we also intend to provide improvements on top.

What is the relationship between OpenIndiana and Illumos?

OpenIndiana provides a complete, ready-to-use operating system (distribution) like Oracle's OpenSolaris did. The Illumos Project develops the core software for the operating system such as the kernel. As Illumos is not a distribution, OpenIndiana will combine the Illumos core with additional software that Oracle still develops in the open. This is analogous to how Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu all use the Linux kernel and software from the GNU Project, but combine them with additional software.

What type of releases will you make available?

At the moment we will be producing regular development builds. Later we intend to provide a stable release, suitable for use in production.

Will OpenIndiana provide security and bug fixes to their stable releases?

Yes, absolutely. We view this as one of the key missing features that prevented widescale adoption of OpenSolaris in production environments.

When will OpenIndiana launch?

On 14th September 2010 we will be announcing our project to the press, as well as making available our first development build.

Will OpenIndiana use the IPS packaging system?

This project is a clone of the OpenSolaris distribution, not of Solaris 10 nor of Solaris Express Community Edition. As such the package manager will indeed be IPS. Using a different packaging system would defeat the purpose of this project.

What if Oracle discontinue providing access to the OpenSolaris source?

Oracle have already discontinued providing realtime access to the OS/Net consolidation (Kernel and core userland components). However the leaked memo suggests Oracle will provide the source source for this after each major Solaris release - we hope this will be the case. However this is not a problem for us as we will be switching to using Illumos once this project matures slightly.

In addition, all the other core desktop components such as XNV (X Window System), SFW (Sun Freeware Collection), JDS (Java Desktop System), PKG (IPS Package System), Caiman (The installer) are still for now being developed in the open, and OpenIndiana will continue to build these components.

Should Oracle cease providing access to these components, we will continue their development independantly, like any other Linux/BSD distribution.

Is there a live CD I can download and try?

Not yet, but we are very close. If you are a developer working on the project then you can gain access to our in-development ISOs and builds, which are not redistributable due to trademark restrictions.

We also have IPS repositories you can use to update an existing install.

Are there any key components missing that represent significant challenges to producing OpenIndiana?

No. Sun/Oracle have made available almost everything the community needs to build the distribution. The Distribution Constructor publically available is the same tool used by Solaris Release Engineering to produce the OpenSolaris live CD and automated installer CD. However there is no single source of documentation available for putting the whole operating system together. OpenIndiana community members are currently working hard on this.

There are some closed source components (devpro consolidation including tools such as make) or components to which the source is significantly out of date, such as libm. For now, all components in the /release and /dev IPS repositories are redistributable, so we will ship those binary components. Illumos are working on providing replacements, and once these are ready we will use those.

Where can I get more info/keep up to date with the project?

Please join our mailing lists –

Communication related to development happens on our IRC channel, #openindiana on

We have a Wiki at (Which you're on now!)

Finally we have a bug tracker available at:

Is OpenIndiana a desktop or a server operating system?

As a clone of OpenSolaris, the answer is both. However OpenSolaris contains some amazing enterprise server features, including the ZFS filesystem, COMSTAR iSCSI Framework, Crossbow Networking stack, SMF Service management framework, Fault Management system, etc. We intend to make OpenIndiana more suitable for use on servers, for example by introducing a minimal/server install option to the Caiman installer.

Why another OpenSolaris distribution when others like Nexenta, BeleniX & SchilliX exist?

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. Our aim is to become the defacto OpenSolaris distribution installed on production servers where security and bug fixes are required free of charge.

What if Oracle discontinue Sun Studio (The primary closed source compiler for building OpenSolaris)?

The OpenSolaris kernel currently builds cleanly with the GCC compiler, although the result does not yet boot. This is being worked on by interested parties, and as such we are not too concerned. While it's unlikely Sun Studio will be open sourced, we see no reason for Oracle to discontinue providing it free of charge. There are also the PathScale and LLVM compiler suites available.

How do I get involved?

As a community project, we depend on people doing just that! So please do head over to our Getting Involved wiki page! (big grin)

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