I always wanted to make an episode even a two part one on Sun Microsystems.
Unfortunatelly when Sun Microsystem was its height and later after when things turned bad after the dot-com bubble exploded in 2000 I was going through elementary and high school later finally getting my GCSE or High School Diploma in 2002. There were a lot of things on my mind at that age of 19 – 20 years old but I can tell you none of them were Sun Microsystems.
I used computers from a very early age of 6 years old and it was love at first sight. Thanks to that I have never had to look for another hobby elsewhere ever since.
Somehow at that time in hungary I do not recall if I have ever heard of Sun workstations or Sun Microsystems nor I recall seeing any ad or any of their machines anywhere but I do remember I used under linux Staroffice before it became Open Office ( 1999 Sun acquired Star Division and later in 2000 open sourced it and formed openoffice.org) as You will see as part of the many contributions of Sun Microsystems to the Open Source Community.
It was later in life when i found out more about Sun Microsystems and all the things they brought to the world, the things they stood for the machines they made and I learnt more and more of their history with time.
I also purchased a Sun T5220 with an UltraSPARC T2 for my homelab which is from the era of 2007 november just years before the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle happened in 2010 January 27
I really would like to get my hands on a Sun Ultra 45 Workstation one of the last ones made by SUN with the SPARC processors but their prices are astronomic on ebay … So if anyone has one which is waiting for a new home in mint condition please get in touch with me by email
Enough of me talking about myself.. Let’s dive into the history of Sun Microsystems.
History of Sun Microsystems
If You recall me mentioning about Sun Microsystems before You are not mistaken. In the History of BSD episodes I mentioned Bill Joy decided to leave BSD behind to go and help found and join a new start up called Sun Microsystems.
In 1982 Scott Mcnealy was approached by fellow Stanford alumnus Vinod Khosla to help provide the necessary organizational and business leadership for Sun Microsystems. Sun, along with companies such as Apple Inc., Silicon Graphics, 3Com, and Oracle Corporation, was part of a wave of successful startup companies in California’s Silicon Valley during the early and mid-1980s.
On February 24, 1982, Scott McNealy, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Vinod Khosla, all Stanford graduate students, founded Sun Microsystems. Bill Joy of Berkeley, a primary developer of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), joined soon after and is counted as one of the original founders.
The name “Sun” was derived from co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim’s original Stanford University Network (SUN) computer project, the SUN workstation.
Sun was profitable from its first quarter in July 1982.
In 1984, McNealy took over the CEO role from Khosla, who ultimately would leave the company in 1985. On April 24, 2006, McNealy stepped down as CEO after serving in that position for 22 years, and turned the job over to Jonathan Schwartz.
McNealy is one of the few CEOs of a major corporation to have had a tenure of over twenty years.
The initial design for what became Sun’s first Unix workstation, the Sun-1, was conceived by Andy Bechtolsheim when he was a graduate student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Bechtolsheim originally designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation. It was designed around the Motorola 68000 processor with an advanced memory management unit (MMU) to support the Unix operating system with virtual memory support.He built the first examples from spare parts obtained from Stanford’s Department of Computer Science and Silicon Valley supply houses.
For the first decade of Sun’s history, the company positioned its products as technical workstations, competing successfully as a low-cost vendor during the Workstation Wars of the 1980s. It then shifted its hardware product line to emphasize servers and storage. High-level telecom control systems such as Operational Support Systems service predominantly used Sun equipment.
Sun’s initial public offering was in 1986 under the stock symbolSUNW, for Sun Workstations (later Sun Worldwide).The symbol was changed in 2007 to JAVA; Sun stated that the brand awareness associated with its Java platform better represented the company’s current strategy
Sun Microsystems workstations and servers went through a few changes during the years just like Apple did (Motorola 68k to PowerPC to Intel x86 to Apple Silicon)
Motorola based systems
initially they used Motorola 68000 family based cpus through the Sun-1 through Sun-3 computers. The Sun-1 employed a 68000 CPU, the Sun-2 series, a 68010. The Sun-3 series was based on the 68020, with the later Sun-3x using the 68030
By 1983 Sun was known for producing 68k-based systems with high-quality graphics that were the only computers other than DEC’s VAX to run 4.2BSD. It licensed the computer design to other manufacturers, which typically used it to build Multibus-based systems running Unix from UniSoft.
Sparc based systems
In 1987, the company began using SPARC, a RISC processor architecture of its own design, in its computer systems, starting with the Sun-4 line. SPARC was initially a 32-bit architecture (SPARC V7) until the introduction of the SPARC V9 architecture in 1995, which added 64-bit extensions.
Sun has developed several generations of SPARC-based computer systems, including the SPARCstation, Ultra, and Sun Blade series of workstations, and the SPARCserver, Netra, Enterprise, and Sun Fire line of servers.
In the early 1990s the company began to extend its product line to include large-scale symmetric multiprocessing servers, starting with the four-processor SPARCserver 600MP. This was followed by the 8-processor SPARCserver 1000 and 20-processor SPARCcenter 2000, which were based on work done in conjunction with Xerox PARC. In 1995 the company introduced Sun Ultra series machines that were equipped with the first 64-bit implementation of SPARC processors (UltraSPARC). In the late 1990s the transformation of product line in favor of large 64-bit SMP systems was accelerated by the acquisition of Cray Business Systems Division from Silicon Graphics.Their 32-bit, 64-processor Cray Superserver 6400, related to the SPARCcenter, led to the 64-bit Sun Enterprise 10000 high-end server (otherwise known as Starfire).
In September 2004 Sun made available systems with UltraSPARC IV which was the first multi-core SPARC processor. It was followed by UltraSPARC IV+ in September 2005 and its revisions with higher clock speeds in 2007. These CPUs were used in the most powerful, enterprise class high-end CC-NUMA servers developed by Sun, such as Sun Fire E25K.
In November 2005 Sun launched the UltraSPARC T1, notable for its ability to concurrently run 32 threads of execution on 8 processor cores. Its intent was to drive more efficient use of CPU resources, which is of particular importance in data centers, where there is an increasing need to reduce power and air conditioning demands, much of which comes from the heat generated by CPUs. The T1 was followed in 2007 by the UltraSPARC T2, which extended the number of threads per core from 4 to 8. Sun has open sourced the design specifications of both the T1 and T2 processors via the OpenSPARC project.
In 2006, Sun ventured into the blade server (high density rack-mounted systems) market with the Sun Blade (distinct from the Sun Blade workstation).
In April 2007 Sun released the SPARC Enterprise server products, jointly designed by Sun and Fujitsu and based on Fujitsu SPARC64 VI and later processors. The M-class SPARC Enterprise systems include high-end reliability and availability features. Later T-series servers have also been badged SPARC Enterprise rather than Sun Fire.
In April 2008 Sun released servers with UltraSPARC T2 Plus, which is an SMP capable version of UltraSPARC T2, available in 2 or 4 processor configurations. It was the first CoolThreads CPU with multi-processor capability and it made possible to build standard rack-mounted servers that could simultaneously process up to massive 256 CPU threads in hardware (Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440) which is considered a record in the industry.
Since 2010, all further development of Sun machines based on SPARC architecture (including new SPARC T-Series servers, SPARC T3 and T4 chips) is done as a part of Oracle Corporation hardware division.
x86 based systems
In the late 1980s, Sun also marketed an Intel 80386-based machine, the Sun386i; this was designed to be a hybrid system, running SunOS but at the same time supporting DOS applications. This only remained on the market for a brief time. A follow-up “486i” upgrade was announced but only a few prototype units were ever manufactured.
Sun’s brief first foray into x86 systems ended in the early 1990s, as it decided to concentrate on SPARC and retire the last Motorola systems and 386i products, a move dubbed by McNealy as “all the wood behind one arrowhead”. Even so, Sun kept its hand in the x86 world, as a release of Solaris for PC compatibles began shipping in 1993.
In 1997 Sun acquired Diba, Inc., followed later by the acquisition of Cobalt Networks in 2000, with the aim of building network appliances (single function computers meant for consumers). Sun also marketed a Network Computer (a term popularized and eventually trademarked by Oracle); the JavaStation was a diskless system designed to run Java applications.
Although none of these business initiatives were particularly successful, the Cobalt purchase gave Sun a toehold for its return to the x86 hardware market. In 2002, Sun introduced its first general purpose x86 system, the LX50, based in part on previous Cobalt system expertise. This was also Sun’s first system announced to support Linux as well as Solaris.
In 2003, Sun announced a strategic alliance with AMD to produce x86/x64 servers based on AMD’s Opteron processor; this was followed shortly by Sun’s acquisition of Kealia, a startup founded by original Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim, which had been focusing on high-performance AMD-based servers.
The following year, Sun launched the Opteron-based Sun Fire V20z and V40z servers, and the Java Workstation W1100z and W2100z workstations.
On September 12, 2005, Sun unveiled a new range of Opteron-based servers: the Sun Fire X2100, X4100 and X4200 servers.These were designed from scratch by a team led by Bechtolsheim to address heat and power consumption issues commonly faced in data centers. In July 2006, the Sun Fire X4500 and X4600 systems were introduced, extending a line of x64 systems that support not only Solaris, but also Linux and Microsoft Windows.
On January 22, 2007, Sun announced a broad strategic alliance with Intel. Intel endorsed Solaris as a mainstream operating system and as its mission critical Unix for its Xeon processor-based systems, and contributed engineering resources to OpenSolaris. Sun began using the Intel Xeon processor in its x64 server line, starting with the Sun Blade X6250 server module introduced in June 2007.
On May 5, 2008, AMD announced its Operating System Research Center (OSRC) expanded its focus to include optimization to Sun’s OpenSolaris and xVM virtualization products for AMD based processors
Although Sun was initially known as a hardware company, its software history began with its founding in 1982; co-founder Bill Joy was one of the leading Unix developers of the time, having contributed the vi editor, the C shell, and significant work developing TCP/IP and the BSD Unix OS. Sun later developed software such as the Java programming language and acquired software such as StarOffice, VirtualBox and MySQL.
Sun used community-based and open-source licensing of its major technologies, and for its support of its products with other open source technologies. GNOME-based desktop software called Java Desktop System (originally code-named “Madhatter”) was distributed for the Solaris operating system, and at one point for Linux. Sun supported its Java Enterprise System (a middleware stack) on Linux. It released the source code for Solaris under the open-source Common Development and Distribution License, via the OpenSolaris community. Sun’s positioning includes a commitment to indemnify users of some software from intellectual property disputes concerning that software. It offers support services on a variety of pricing bases, including per-employee and per-socket.
A 2006 report prepared for the EU by UNU-MERIT stated that Sun was the largest corporate contributor to open source movements in the world. According to this report, Sun’s open source contributions exceed the combined total of the next five largest commercial contributors.
Operating systems – SunOS / Solaris Operating System
Sun is best known for its Unix systems, which have a reputation for system stability and a consistent design philosophy.
Sun’s first workstation shipped with UniSoft V7 Unix. Later in 1982 Sun began providing SunOS, a customized 4.1BSD Unix, as the operating system for its workstations.
In 1987, AT&T Corporation and Sun announced that they were collaborating on a project to merge the most popular Unix variants on the market at that time: Berkeley Software Distribution, UNIX System V, and Xenix. This became Unix System V Release 4 (SVR4).
On September 4, 1991, Sun announced that it would replace its existing BSD-derived Unix, SunOS 4, with one based on SVR4. This was identified internally as SunOS 5, but a new marketing name was introduced at the same time: Solaris 2. The justification for this new overbrand was that it encompassed not only SunOS, but also the OpenWindows graphical user interface and Open Network Computing (ONC) functionality.
Although SunOS 4.1.x micro releases were retroactively named Solaris 1 by Sun, the Solaris name is used almost exclusively to refer only to the releases based on SVR4-derived SunOS 5.0 and later.
For releases based on SunOS 5, the SunOS minor version is included in the Solaris release number. For example, Solaris 2.4 incorporates SunOS 5.4. After Solaris 2.6, the 2. was dropped from the release name, so Solaris 7 incorporates SunOS 5.7, and the latest release SunOS 5.11 forms the core of Solaris 11.4.
Although SunSoft stated in its initial Solaris 2 press release their intent to eventually support both SPARC and x86 systems, the first two Solaris 2 releases, 2.0 and 2.1, were SPARC-only. An x86 version of Solaris 2.1 was released in June 1993, about 6 months after the SPARC version, as a desktop and uniprocessor workgroup server operating system. It included the Wabi emulator to support Windows applications.
From 1992 Sun also sold Interactive Unix, an operating system it acquired when it bought Interactive Systems Corporation from Eastman Kodak Company. This was a popular Unix variant for the PC platform and a major competitor to market leader SCO UNIX. Sun’s focus on Interactive Unix diminished in favor of Solaris on both SPARC and x86 systems; it was dropped as a product in 2001.
By the mid-1990s, the ensuing Unix wars had largely subsided, AT&T had sold off their Unix interests, and the relationship between the two companies was significantly reduced.
In 1994, Sun released Solaris 2.4, supporting both SPARC and x86 systems from a unified source code base.
Sun dropped the Solaris 2.x version numbering scheme after the Solaris 2.6 release (1997); the following version was branded Solaris 7. This was the first 64-bit release, intended for the new UltraSPARC CPUs based on the SPARC V9 architecture. Within the next four years, the successors Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 were released in 2000 and 2002 respectively.
Following several years of difficult competition and loss of server market share to competitors’ Linux-based systems, Sun began to include Linux as part of its strategy in 2002. Sun supported both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on its x64 systems; companies such as Canonical Ltd., Wind River Systems and MontaVista also supported their versions of Linux on Sun’s SPARC-based systems.
In 2004, after having cultivated a reputation as one of Microsoft’s most vocal antagonists, Sun entered into a joint relationship with them, resolving various legal entanglements between the two companies and receiving US$1.95 billion in settlement payments from them. Sun supported Microsoft Windows on its x64 systems, and announced other collaborative agreements with Microsoft, including plans to support each other’s virtualization environments.
In 2005, the company released Solaris 10. The new version included a large number of enhancements to the operating system, as well as very novel features, previously unseen in the industry. Solaris 10 update releases continued through the next 8 years, the last release from Sun Microsystems being Solaris 10 10/09. The following updates were released by Oracle under the new license agreement; the final release is Solaris 10 1/13.
Previously, Sun offered a separate variant of Solaris called Trusted Solaris, which included augmented security features such as multilevel security and a least privilege access model. Solaris 10 included many of the same capabilities as Trusted Solaris at the time of its initial release; Solaris 10 11/06 included Solaris Trusted Extensions, which give it the remaining capabilities needed to make it the functional successor to Trusted Solaris.
After releasing Solaris 10, its source code was opened under CDDL free software license and developed in open with contributing Opensolaris community through SXCE that used SVR4 .pkg packaging and supported Opensolaris releases that used IPS. Following acquisition of Sun by Oracle , Opensolaris continued to develop in open under illumos with illumos distributions.
Oracle Corporation continued to develop OpenSolaris into next Solaris release, changing back the license to proprietary, and released it as Oracle Solaris 11 in November 2011.
Features introduced in each Solaris releases / Version History
|Solaris Version||SunOS version||Release Date SPARC||Release Date x86||End of Support||License form||Major New Features|
|1.x||4.1.x||4.1.x||September 2003||Traditional License||SunOS 4 rebranded as Solaris 1 for marketing purposes.|
|2.0||5.0||June 1992||January 1999||Traditional License||Preliminary release (primarily available to developers only), support for only the sun4c architecture. First appearance of NIS+.|
|2.1||5.1||December 1992||May 1993||April 1999||Traditional License||Support for sun4 and sun4m architectures added; first Solaris x86 release. First Solaris 2 release to support SMP|
|2.2||5.2||May 1993||May 1999||Traditional License||SPARC-only release. First to support sun4d architecture. First to support multithreading libraries (UI threads API in libthread)|
|2.3||5.3||November 1993||June 2002||Traditional License||SPARC-only release. OpenWindows 3.3 switches from NeWS to Display PostScript and drops SunView support. Support added for autofs and CacheFS filesystems.|
|2.4||5.4||November 1994||November 1994||September 2003||Traditional License||First unified SPARC/x86 release. Includes OSF/Motif runtime support.|
|2.5||5.5||November 1995||November 1995||December 2003||Traditional License||First to support UltraSPARC and include CDE, NFSv3 and NFS/TCP. Dropped sun4 (VMEbus) support. POSIX.1c-1995 pthreads added. Doors added but undocumented|
|2.5.1||5.5.1||May 1996||May 1996||September 2005||Traditional License||The only Solaris release that supports PowerPC; Ultra Enterprise support added; user and group IDs (uid_t, gid_t) expanded to 32 bits,also included processor sets and early resource management technologies.|
|2.6||5.6||July 1997||July 1997||July 2006||Traditional License||Includes Kerberos 5, PAM, TrueType fonts, WebNFS, large file support, enhanced procfs. SPARCserver 600MP series support dropped.|
|7||5.7||November 1998||November 1998||August 2008||Traditional License||The first 64-bit UltraSPARC release. Added native support for file system meta-data logging (UFS logging). Dropped MCA support on x86 platform. Sun dropped the prefix “2.” in the Solaris version number, leaving “Solaris 7.” Last update was Solaris 7 11/99|
|8||5.8||February 2000||February 2000||March 2012||Traditional License||Includes Multipath I/O, Solstice DiskSuite] IPMP, first support for IPv6 and IPsec (manual keying only), mdb Modular Debugger. Introduced Role-Based Access Control (RBAC); sun4c support removed. Last update is Solaris 8 2/04.|
|9||5.9||May 28, 2002||January 10, 2003||October 2014||Traditional License||iPlanet Directory Server, Resource Manager, extended file attributes, IKE IPsec keying, and Linux compatibility added; OpenWindows dropped, sun4d support removed. Most current update is Solaris 9 9/05 HW.|
|10||5.10||January 31, 2005||January 31, 2005||January 2024||before Oracle acquisition in March 2010, open source under CDDL|
after March 2010, Post-Oracle closed source
|Includes x86-64 (AMD64/Intel 64) support, DTrace (Dynamic Tracing), Solaris Containers, Service Management Facility (SMF) which replaces init.d scripts, NFSv4. Least privilege security model. Support for sun4m and UltraSPARC I processors removed. Support for EISA-based PCs removed. Adds Java Desktop System (based on GNOME) as default desktop. |
Solaris 10 1/06 (known internally as “U1”) added the GRUB bootloader for x86 systems, iSCSI Initiator support and fcinfo command-line tool.
Solaris 10 6/06 (“U2”) added the ZFS filesystem.
Solaris 10 11/06 (“U3”) added Solaris Trusted Extensions and Logical Domains (sun4v).
Solaris 10 8/07 (“U4”) added Samba Active Directory support, IP Instances (part of the OpenSolaris Network Virtualization and Resource Control project), iSCSI Target support and Solaris Containers for Linux Applications (based on branded zones), enhanced version of the Resource Capping Daemon (rcapd).
Solaris 10 5/08 (“U5”) added CPU capping for Solaris Containers, performance improvements, SpeedStep support for Intel processors and PowerNow! support for AMD processors
Solaris 10 10/08 (“U6”) added boot from ZFS and can use ZFS as its root file system. Solaris 10 10/08 also includes virtualization enhancements including the ability for a Solaris Container to automatically update its environment when moved from one system to another, Logical Domains support for dynamically reconfigurable disk and network I/O, and paravirtualization support when Solaris 10 is used as a guest OS in Xen-based environments such as Sun xVM Server.
Solaris 10 5/09 (“U7”) added performance and power management support for Intel Nehalem processors, container cloning using ZFS cloned file systems, and performance enhancements for ZFS on solid-state drives.
Solaris 10 10/09 (“U8”) added user and group level ZFS quotas, ZFS cache devices and nss_ldap shadowAccount Support, improvements to patching performance.
Solaris 10 9/10 (“U9”) added physical to zone migration, ZFS triple parity RAID-Z and Oracle Solaris Auto Registration
Solaris 10 8/11 (“U10”) added ZFS speedups and new features, Oracle Database optimization, faster reboot on SPARC system.
Solaris 10 1/13 (“U11”)
The Legacy of Sun
OpenSolaris > Illumos > OpenIndiana
OpenSolaris was based on Solaris, which was originally released by Sun in 1991. Solaris is a version of UNIX System V Release 4 (SVR4), jointly developed by Sun and AT&T to merge features from several existing Unix systems. It was licensed by Sun from Novell to replace SunOS.
Planning for OpenSolaris started in early 2004. A pilot program was formed in September 2004 with 18 non-Sun community members and ran for 9 months growing to 145 external participants. Sun submitted the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) to the OSI, which approved it on January 14, 2005.
The first part of the Solaris code base to be open sourced was the Solaris Dynamic Tracing facility (commonly known as DTrace), a tool that aids in the analysis, debugging, and tuning of applications and systems. DTrace was released under the CDDL on January 25, 2005, on the newly launched opensolaris.org website. The bulk of the Solaris system code was released on June 14, 2005. There remains some system code that is not open sourced, and is available only as pre-compiled binary files.
In 2003, an addition to the Solaris development process was initiated. Under the program name Software Express for Solaris (or just Solaris Express), a binary release based on the current development basis was made available for download on a monthly basis, allowing anyone to try out new features and test the quality and stability of the OS as it progressed to the release of the next official Solaris version.A later change to this program introduced a quarterly release model with support available, renamed Solaris Express Developer Edition (SXDE).
Initially, Sun’s Solaris Express program provided a distribution based on the OpenSolaris code in combination with software found only in Solaris releases. The first independent distribution was released on June 17, 2005
The Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) was intended specifically for OpenSolaris developers.
On March 19, 2007, Sun announced that it had hired Ian Murdock, founder of Debian, to head Project Indiana, an effort to produce a complete OpenSolaris distribution, with GNOME and userland tools from GNU, plus a network-based package management system. The new distribution was planned to refresh the user experience, and would become the successor to Solaris Express as the basis for future releases of Solaris.
The announced Project Indiana had several goals, including providing an open source binary distribution of the OpenSolaris project, replacing SXDE. The first release of this distribution was OpenSolaris 2008.05.
On May 5, 2008, OpenSolaris 2008.05 was released in a format that could be booted as a Live CD or installed directly. It uses the GNOME desktop environment as the primary user interface. The later OpenSolaris 2008.11 release included a GUI for ZFS’ snapshotting capabilities, known as Time Slider, that provides functionality similar to macOS’s Time Machine.
In December 2008, Sun Microsystems and Toshiba America Information Systems announced plans to distribute Toshiba laptops pre-installed with OpenSolaris. On April 1, 2009, the Tecra M10 and Portégé R600 came preinstalled with OpenSolaris 2008.11 release and several supplemental software packages.
On June 1, 2009, OpenSolaris 2009.06 was released, with support for the SPARC platform.
On January 6, 2010, it was announced that Solaris Express program would be closed while an OpenSolaris binary release was scheduled to be released March 26, 2010. The OpenSolaris 2010.03 release never appeared.
SXCE releases terminated with build 130 and OpenSolaris releases terminated with build 134 a few weeks later. The next release of OpenSolaris based on build 134 was due in March 2010, but it was never fully released, though the packages were made available on the package repository.
Instead, Oracle renamed the binary distribution Solaris 11 Express, changed the license terms and released build 151a as 2010.11 in November 2010.
There are a few forks based on OpenSolaris, such as: BeleniX, EON ZFS Storage, Illumos, Jaris OS, MartUX, MilaX, Nexenta OS, NexentaStor, OpenIndiana, OpenSXCE, SchilliX, SmartOS, StormOS.
On September 14, 2010, OpenIndiana was formally launched at the JISC Centre in London. While OpenIndiana is a fork in the technical sense, it is a continuation of OpenSolaris in spirit: the project intends to deliver a System V family operating system which is binary-compatible with the Oracle products Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express. However, rather than being based around the OS/Net consolidation like OpenSolaris was, OpenIndiana became a distribution based on illumos (the first release is still based around OS/Net). The project uses the same IPS package management system as OpenSolaris.
illumos is a partly free and open-source Unix operating system. It is based on OpenSolaris, which was based on System V Release 4 (SVR4) and the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). illumos comprises a kernel, device drivers, system libraries, and utility software for system administration. This core is now the base for many different open-sourced illumos distributions, in a similar way in which the Linux kernel is used in different Linux distributions.
OpenIndiana is a free and open-source Unix operating system derived from OpenSolaris and based on illumos. Developers forked OpenSolaris after Oracle Corporation discontinued it, in order to continue development and distribution of the source code. OpenIndiana is named after Project Indiana, the development codename at Sun Microsystems for OpenSolaris.
List of Open Source Contributions of Sun Microsystems
Sun had many open source initiatives and products. Almost all of the software was open source as well as some of the hardware designs. Here’s a decent list of the products (I’m sure I left out more than a few)
Open HA Cluster
Java Desktop Linux
Storage and Networking
Lustre File System
Logical Domains (Virtualization Server)
Java DB (Sun supported version of Apache Derby)
Java (most of it…)
Sun Grid Engine
GlassFish Enterprise Service Bus
GlassFish Web Server
Star Office >> Open Sourced by Sun and founded OpenOffice.org
OpenSparc (open source chip designs)
T1 and T2 (multi-core, multi-threaded processors)
Desktop Environments used in Solaris
Early releases of Solaris used OpenWindows as the standard desktop environment. In Solaris 2.0 to 2.2, OpenWindows supported both NeWS and X applications, and provided backward compatibility for SunView applications from Sun’s older desktop environment. NeWS allowed applications to be built in an object-oriented way using PostScript, a common printing language released in 1982. The X Window System originated from MIT’s Project Athena in 1984 and allowed for the display of an application to be disconnected from the machine where the application was running, separated by a network connection. Sun’s original bundled SunView application suite was ported to X.
Sun later dropped support for legacy SunView applications and NeWS with OpenWindows 3.3, which shipped with Solaris 2.3, and switched to X11R5 with Display Postscript support. The graphical look and feel remained based upon OPEN LOOK. OpenWindows 3.6.2 was the last release under Solaris 8. The OPEN LOOK Window Manager (olwm) with other OPEN LOOK specific applications were dropped in Solaris 9, but support libraries were still bundled, providing long term binary backwards compatibility with existing applications. The OPEN LOOK Virtual Window Manager (olvwm) can still be downloaded for Solaris from sunfreeware and works on releases as recent as Solaris 10.The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) was open sourced in August 2012.
Sun and other Unix vendors created an industry alliance to standardize Unix desktops. As a member of the Common Open Software Environment (COSE) initiative, Sun helped co-develop the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). This was an initiative to create a standard Unix desktop environment. Each vendor contributed different components: Hewlett-Packard contributed the window manager, IBM provided the file manager, and Sun provided the e-mail and calendar facilities as well as drag-and-drop support (ToolTalk). This new desktop environment was based upon the Motif look and feel and the old OPEN LOOK desktop environment was considered legacy. CDE unified Unix desktops across multiple open system vendors. CDE was available as an unbundled add-on for Solaris 2.4 and 2.5, and was included in Solaris 2.6 through 10.
In 2001, Sun issued a preview release of the open-source desktop environment GNOME 1.4, based on the GTK+ toolkit, for Solaris 8. Solaris 9 8/03 introduced GNOME 2.0 as an alternative to CDE. Solaris 10 includes Sun’s Java Desktop System (JDS), which is based on GNOME and comes with a large set of applications, including StarOffice, Sun’s office suite. Sun describes JDS as a “major component” of Solaris 10. The Java Desktop System is not included in Solaris 11 which instead ships with a stock version of GNOME. Likewise, CDE applications are no longer included in Solaris 11, but many libraries remain for binary backwards compatibility.
The open source desktop environments KDE and Xfce, along with numerous other window managers, also compile and run on recent versions of Solaris.
Sun was investing in a new desktop environment called Project Looking Glass since 2003. The project has been inactive since late 2006
The Sun Ultra series is a discontinued line of workstation and server computers developed and sold by Sun Microsystems, comprising two distinct generations. The original line was introduced in 1995 and discontinued in 2001. This generation was partially replaced by the Sun Blade in 2000 and that line was in itself replaced by the Sun Java Workstation—an AMD Opteron system—in 2004. In sync with the transition to x86-64-architecture processors, in 2005 the Ultra brand was later revived with the launch of the Ultra 20 and Ultra 40, albeit to some confusion, since they were no longer based on UltraSPARC processors.
The original Ultra workstations and the Ultra Enterprise (later, “Sun Enterprise”) servers were UltraSPARC-based systems produced from 1995 to 2001, replacing the earlier SPARCstation and SPARCcenter/SPARCserver series respectively. This introduced the 64-bit UltraSPARC processor and in later versions, lower-cost PC-derived technology, such as the PCI and ATA buses (the initial Ultra 1 and 2 models retained the SBus of their predecessors). The original Ultra range were sold during the dot com boom, and became one of the biggest selling series of computers ever developed by Sun Microsystems, with many companies and organisations—including Sun itself—relying on Sun Ultra products for years after their successor products were released.
The Ultra brand was revived in 2005 with the launch of the Ultra 20 and Ultra 40 with x86-64-architecture.
x64-based Ultra systems remained in the Sun portfolio for five more years; the last one, the Intel Xeon-based Ultra 27, was retired in June 2010, thereby concluding the history of Sun as a workstation vendor.
The SPARC-based Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation laptop was released in 2005 as well, but it would prove to be a short-lived design and was retired the next year. Its release did not coincide with the rest of the line as most of the brand had already moved on to x86.
Additionally, new Ultra 25 and Ultra 45 desktop UltraSPARC IIIi-based systems were introduced in 2006.
In October 2008, Sun discontinued all these, effectively ending the production of SPARC architecture workstations.
The original Ultra/Enterprise series itself was later replaced by the Sun Blade workstation and Sun Fire server ranges.