Welcome back to Crystal Ball Sunday. This week in the Crystal Ball are my predictions for OpenSolaris vs. Linux. The release of OpenSolaris on May 5th has caused quite a stir. Many say that it will replace Linux on the Desktop and in the Data Center.

My first prediction is that there will be sizable battle waged between the two in the Press and in IT labs alike. I foresee a lot of debate going back and forth about the two operating systems, their pros, their cons, and the stalwarts in both camps. This is going to be somewhat of a religious battle so prepare yourselves accordingly.

Second, and perhaps more important, is the license that both operating systems will eventually live under. Linus Torvalds opposes GPL3 and currently refuses to allow the kernel to be governed by it. OpenSolaris was released under the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License).
I think the first one of these operating systems that is releases under GPL3 will probably gain widespread acceptance with developers, corporations, and adopters. The reason is that most of the other open source apps released under GPL3 will receive vigorous adoption and development by the kernel that also matches that license.

Third, I think that while OpenSolaris will gain some ground in both the Data Center and Desktop spaces, it won't enjoy the amount of Press it probably deserves--except to argue for or against it (See Prediction 1 above). The reason is that Linux has such a large following, like Windows, or Mac and there is much invested in its status as a viable operating system.
As viable as OpenSolaris may ever become, it will pale in acceptance and investment compared to that of Linux. It isn't Linux, it isn't Windows, and it really doesn't fit into any other category except niche OS.

Finally, there will be very few good-selling books on the topic of OpenSolaris. Publishers may allow one or two to slip through the cracks here and there but you will never find volumes written about it and I doubt there will ever be an OpenSolaris Magazine or OpenSolaris Journal with a large enough readership to cover costs of production.

My Crystal Ball grows a bit dark where OpenSolaris is concerned but it will be interesting to track its progress over the coming months.

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jwenting 1,649

The people who matter couldn't care less whether something is CDDL, GPL2, GPL3, or whatever, or if they care they want the product to choose have any license BUT GPL (in whatever form).
Only religious fanatics do want GPL, and among those the fight between adherents of GPL2 and GPL3 are as fanatical in their fighting as any 2 religious sects.

jbennet 1,618

The CDDL is better than the GPL for vendors, driver makers and ultimately users.

If opensolaris did become GPL though, GNU would have to change its name LOL as GNU would be unix.

scru 909

I don't see this large Linux following that you keep talking about.