Solaris 11 Certification Exam Comes off Beta Soon!

The new certification test from Oracle, Oracle Certified Associate, Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator, is currently in beta and is priced much lower than the standard tests (US$50 compared to US$300). This test will help you get the certification of the same name. However, the beta period is ending soon: April 28, 2012.

Note that this is different from the Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator certification.

It is also still possible to get certified for Solaris 10.

OpenSolaris is Officially Dead

We saw this coming.

As of 23 August 2010, the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) has stepped down; Ben Rockwood posted the resolution on his blog.

Oracle’s previous email to staff shows that Oracle has no interest in keeping OpenSolaris going, and now there is no one minding the store.

The next step lies with Illumos, the new torch-bearer for open source Solaris. Nexenta, the commercial UNIX based on OpenSolaris and a GNU userland will probably be the first to use Illumos (the project has close ties to Nexenta) – and Belenix may be next, although Belenix development seems to be quite slow (there is no corporate sponsorship and the community seems to be small). Belenix has the tougher problem, as they use a Solaris-based userland.

Oracle Sues Google Over Java on Android

Oracle – now having purchased Sun – has sued Google over their custom Java virtual machine for the Android mobile platform. In doing so, Oracle has sent reverberations throughout the open source and Java communities.

Google took the Java APIs and enhanced and changed them – then created a virtual machine (called Dalvik) which runs a custom format executable. This was part of the Android software when it was introduced in November 2007, and there were many complaints about Google’s treatment of Java – including complaints from Sun itself. Google’s response at the time to Sun’s complaints was:

Google and the other members of the Open Handset Alliance are working to help solve fragmentation and supporting the developer community by creating Android, a mobile platform that responds to the needs of the developers, has the backing of industry leaders, and will be available as open source under a nonrestrictive license.

To break that statement down, Google was saying:

  • The Open Handset Alliance (not the Java Community Process or JCP) should be the Java stewards for mobile Java.
  • Android (and Android Java) responds to the needs of the developers.
  • Android is backed by industry.
  • Android is available as open source.
  • Android is available under a nonrestrictive license.
  • Java 2 Mobile Edition (J2ME) has none of these capabilities.

Don’t miss the fact that Google created the Open Handset Alliance at the same time, and serves mainly as a source for Android – though it has in recent days been seen as useless by some.

Sun (now Oracle) has had a mobile version of Java (known as J2ME) since before Android existed – but Google bypassed it (and the Java Community Process or JCP) when it created its own JVM. Dalvik executables, in fact, are created from Java binaries, thus involving Java itself in the process of creation and development.

It appears that Google’s Android Java implementation was a direct attack on the JCP and on J2ME. To use J2ME, Google would have had to license it, as it was not available under a license that would have allowed commercial closed-source development: it was under the GPL, but without the classpath exemption that the J2SE had. Because of this lack of the classpath exemption, any development on the standard J2ME platform would have to be released as source code under the GPL.

This action by Oracle fits perfectly into its public persona: consider that Sun’s Chief Open-Source Officer, Simon Phipps, was not even offered a position at Oracle at all. He is or was on the advisory boards for OpenSolaris, OpenJDK, and OpenSparc. Other distinguished Sun engineers have left, including Kohsuke Kawaguchi (chief developer of Hudson), Charles Nutter and Thomas Enobo (both lead developers of JRuby), Tim Bray (Director of Web Technologies – which includes Java and JRuby), and James Gosling (creator of Java). It is notable that all of these people except Simon Phipps are luminaries in the Java realm at Sun. It is as if the Java engineers left wholesale once Oracle was about to take over.

Coverage of the lawsuit has been extensive. Stephen Shankland over at CNet has a story about why Oracle may have chosen to sue. Stephen O’Grady over at RedMonk may have one of the best in-depth analyses of this conflict out there. Groklaw has committed to following the lawsuit through the courts, and has an excellent introductory piece on the lawsuit. Steven Vaughn-Nichols suggests that this lawsuit is only the beginning, and that JBoss, Apache Jakarta, and the JCP better watch out (though I disagree).

From when Google introduced Android and its associated virtual machine, Dalvik, Stefano Mazzochi had one of the most complete explanations of what Google was doing and its implications.

The Death of OpenSolaris Confirmed

Recently, I posted about the future of OpenSolaris and the lack of response from Oracle.

Oracle still has no official response, and has no word on where OpenSolaris is going. However, a memo to Oracle Engineering was leaked and then posted to the OpenSolaris Discussion mailing list (osol-discuss) and was later confirmed by an Oracle employee to the mailing list.

William Yang has a nice write-up on the memo and its salient points; in short:

  • Oracle will no longer let OpenSolaris track Solaris development.
  • Solaris code will stay under the CDDL license.
  • “OpenSolaris” as a distribution will no longer be released.
  • Code will only be released after Solaris is released.

Also interesting is Oracle’s reasons for closing down OpenSolaris:

  • Not enough man-power.
  • Releases Solaris technology to competitors.
  • Prevents users from using Solaris.

Oracle has never been a popular company; most Oracle DBAs in my experience have never been happy with Oracle’s support or licensing, for example. This contrasts with Sun, which has always had a positive image.

In the area of open source, Oracle has always been a champion of closed source, in contrast with Sun which had been a positive open source champion. As a result of this, we are seeing more and more open source projects by Sun either closed down or changed into closed source: consider the closing of Project Kenai (a SourceForge-like site for open source projects), the fears over the future of MySQL, and the death of OpenSolaris.

The OpenSolaris experience under Oracle has echos in MySQL: Monty Widenius, the founder of MySQL, was quite vocal in his opposition to the Oracle purchase of Sun, and expressed his fear that MySQL would become closed source. Perhaps his experience with SAP and MaxDB had something to do with that – MaxDB had been released under the GPL through 7.6, when it was returned back into SAP and became closed source once again.

About the time that Oracle announced its purchase of Sun, Monty began the GPL-licensed version of MySQL, MariaDB which has taken hold, and the European Union mandated that MySQL shall remain dual-licensed. I wonder if MySQL’s fate would have been similar to OpenSolaris if it had not been for Monty.

It would be interesting to track the other open source projects now under Oracle’s umbrella:

  • Java (and OpenJDK), and its add-ons
  • Glassfish (J2EE)
  • MySQL
  • NetBeans
  • Lustre file system

Oracle’s Plans for OpenSolaris Murkier than Ever

The controversy around the future of OpenSolaris has been building to a fever pitch these last few weeks, most recently leading to the creation of Illumos, a new open source kernel tree based on the open source portions of OpenSolaris.

Way back in July of 2009, Steven Vaughn-Nichols suggested that OpenSolaris would wither on the vine through deliberate neglect by Oracle – and this seems to be happening (whereas his prediction of the same treatment for MySQL and VirtualBox seems to be misplaced). Then in February of 2010, Ben Rockwood wrote an open letter to Oracle about the future of Solaris and OpenSolaris.

Oracle’s most recent response (during an interview with ServerWatch) has been to state that development on Solaris continues apace, and that Solaris 11 is due out by the end of 2011. Most notable was the lack of any discussion on the future of OpenSolaris.

A few months ago, the OpenSolaris Governing Board – in effect, the people in charge of the details of operating the OpenSolaris community and its resources – are willing to resign en masse if Oracle does not talk to them; Peter Tribble (a member of the OpenSolaris Governing Board) talks about this action in his blog.

I agree with those that say that Oracle can do what it likes, and the threat made by the board is empty – not because of the threat itself, but because it will accomplish nothing, and has no effect on Oracle. If Oracle wants OpenSolaris to go away, it doesn’t matter what the OpenSolaris community thinks. The Governing Board simply has no leverage with Oracle.

No word on how this action will affect Belenix; while Nexenta is basically the OpenSolaris kernel plus a Debian/GNU userland, Belenix is an OpenSolaris kernel plus a mostly Solaris userland. The primary founder of Belenix (Moinak Ghosh) is on the OpenSolaris board; one of the other developers (Sriram Narayanan?) blogged about the board’s action shortly after it was taken in July. Perhaps Belenix would use the Illumos kernel as well?

However, the prospect of OpenSolaris living on in the form of Illumos is promising, and technologies that are part of the open source OpenSolaris will not be lost. Nexenta has already stated its interest in Illumos; this is perhaps because Nexenta relies on OpenSolaris (with its now doubtful future) for its kernel. Thus, it is perhaps no surprise that a Nexenta engineer is the driving force behind Illumos, and neither is it a surprise that Illumos is currently a kernel only.

So now – how long before we see a Debian/Illumos project? Or is that Nexenta now?

Oracle Continues to Withdraw Sun Support Access

A couple of days ago, Techbert noted that Sun firmware downloads were no longer available from Oracle. This is just one more way that Oracle has been withdrawing from Sun’s traditional open stance.

Oracle already has stated it would not be putting all new technologies into OpenSolaris, and that it would provide support for all Sun servers in the (customer’s) data center or none at all.

The entire character of Sun’s offerings has changed, and for the customer, not for the better.

Is Oracle killing Sun Solaris support?

Recently, Oracle has made several changes in Solaris support that have people wondering if Solaris just got too expensive to run.

The first change was to move to a pay-for-security model which some have already compared to extortion. Patches for Solaris would only be available to paying support customers, leaving others to be insecure and without recourse.

The other change that Oracle has made is to force its paying support customers into an “all or nothing” support model: either all Solaris systems are under a support contract or Oracle will not enter into a support agreement. This means that in any environment that all Solaris systems must be accounted for and under Oracle support.

With this latter change, it may be that this pay-for-security model, while still unseemly, will have less of an effect than previously suggested. It may also convince many smaller businesses to scale back their Solaris installations and to get rid of older machines instead of holding on to them.

At its worst, it may mean that support for software on older Sun machines may wither faster, and that older machines will become obsolete – and useless – faster, increasing “churn” in the data center and (perhaps) making the data center more energy-efficient, while costing companies more and making Oracle more money.

However, one thing Oracle has not done is to clarify the future of OpenSolaris. The community is waiting for a definitive statement from Oracle; even former Sun employees working with OpenSolaris have no signs from Oracle in any direction.

UPDATE: Ben Rockwood over at the Cuddletech blog has excellent coverage, with detailed analysis of the relevant licenses and what it means for Solaris end-users. On the 26th he discusses the “all-or-nothing” support model, and on the 28th he writes about Oracle’s choice to remove the ability to use Solaris for free.

Future of OpenSolaris Under Oracle

Recently there was a big flap over the future of OpenSolaris. Oracle posted the support lifecycle for Solaris and other technologies, and future support for OpenSolaris was missing.

Indeed, customers who talked to their Oracle sales representatives about paid support for OpenSolaris in the enterprise were told that it is currently unavailable.

This combination led some to theorize that OpenSolaris would cease to exist; this is not at all the case, according to Oracle. eWeek went to the source to get a coherent and complete explanation.

Datamation looked at Oracle’s plans for OpenSolaris and found that OpenSolaris will remain viable and active. However, one sad note: Oracle may not open source technologies currently being developed by Sun.

Sun and Oracle Deal Final (at last!)

The huge cloud that has been hanging over the Sun-Oracle deal has finally been swept away and the deal consumated with blessings from regulators.

Oracle discussed their plans for Sun on 27 January, stating that they would cut Sun’s server line by 50% while increasing commitment to Sparc processors. They also restated a commitment to Java and called Java “the crown jewel” from Sun.

The press has been mum on Sun’s other products, including StarOffice, Solaris, the Modular Data Center, and VirtualBox for just a few. Oracle’s commitment has been stated towards these products in the past; whether that commitment will translate into action is yet to be seen.

Also not mentioned is Sun’s participation in open source projects such as NetBeans, OpenSPARC, and OpenSolaris. However, all three of these projects now show Oracle branding. This at least suggests that Oracle is aware of these projects (if it wasn’t just a case of switching out an Oracle logo instead of a Sun logo).

Direct NFS in Solaris with Oracle 11g: Benchmarks

Over at Glenn Fawcett’s Oracle Blog, there is a write-up about the speed of Oracle’s Direct NFS (now a few years old) as compared to the traditional NFS client. Glenn wrote about how to set this up initially, then followed up with a report on how to monitor the environment, as well as the results of testing the environment.

Glenn worked with Kevin Closson, who is one of the minds behind Oracle’s DirectNFS. Kevin wrote about the colloboration and about some of the misunderstandings surrounding dNFS with Solaris and Sun storage.

Oracle has a nice whitepaper on this topic, going into detail as well.

There is also an old posting by the Oracle Storage Guy describing DirectNFS in detail, particularly in regards to using dNFS with EMC storage.

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