In a bid to counter the growing popularity of Linux, Sun Microsystems last week released the first component of OpenSolaris, an open-source-code version of its Solaris 10 Unix operating system. Sun expects to make OpenSolaris available by midyear.
"This is a nontrivial asset to be making open source," CEO Scott McNealy said. Sun released as open-source code Dynamic Tracing, or DTrace, a component of Solaris 10 that developers use to determine how well application code will perform.
This is likely to be the first in a series of moves to make more of Sun's software available as open source. Sun has been losing UltraSparc server sales as competitors convert customers to Linux on low-cost Intel servers.
Sun is making OpenSolaris available under a Community Development and Distribution License that allows entrepreneurs to develop proprietary products on top of OpenSolaris. Sun believes its commercial customers will continue to pay for Solaris 10 and annual technical-support contracts. Sun also indemnified open-source developers against legal action by opening up 1,670 Solaris patents to them. There are about 300,000 Solaris developers worldwide.