Making Solaris Into an Environment

The words operating system and operating environment feel like they might be interchangeable. Especially for Solaris, however, environment is the better label. It’s also a key to knowing how Solaris stands taller than just an OS.

Three years ago this month, news started to surface about Oracle killing off the Version 12 of Solaris — and some worried, the environment itself. Additional releases for Solaris 11, right up to the most recent 11.5, kept rolling out. At the time, Oracle said a 2021 re-evaluation would be on the roadmap.

Whenever that happens, being an environment and more than an OS will help the companies using Solaris in a legacy computing operation.

Solaris is a set of tools which includes an operating system. The additional element is a set of libraries. By some reckoning, more than 10,000 programs in the environment are available for building communication and information apps. The environment intends to attract programmers who are working with Linux. A big library makes this a reasonable attraction.

Over at the website PandoraFMS — on-premise monitoring software developed by the Spanish company Ártica — a list of 10 interesting facts about Solaris includes this explanation about how Solaris can be so much of an environment, so much more than an OS.

“Oracle in 2010 decided that they should focus on Solaris 11, leaving the OpenSolaris project and closing the access to its source code. This didn’t mean the end for development of Oracle’s open software, or the end for free versions — but they intended to replace the older versions with Solaris 11. The idea is that just a few developers could have access to Solaris source code.”

In legacy computing, one of the key elements to aid longevity is adoption. For about five years, Solaris became OpenSolaris, with source code available to anyone. Oracle’s Solaris is now a proprietary environment once more. That alone is unique. Not many legacy environments pass into the open realm and return to a product lineup. Acknowledging that Solaris could have commercial value gives the environment a longer lifespan.

The set of Solaris facts includes some accomplishments to be proud of — good reasons to set forward in the event that preserving the legacy of a Solaris environment becomes an issue.

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