Amazing. Oracle acquires all of Sun’s intellectual property including their open source projects. They kill off OpenSolaris while still leaving other projects in a state of limbo. One possibly being VirtualBox. Sure, there have been updated releases since Oracle took over, but it has been over a month now and these updates are just less frequent.
OK, truth be told, Sun didn’t always commit to a consistent release cycle either. What frustrates me though is that the latest version of 3.2.8 has brought with it numerous bugs for Linux. One of which involves the corruption of saved states and the other involves general usability in the main application window. None of which I had seen when Sun directed the application’s development.
In a past posting, I had stated my opinions of the quality that should be expected now that Oracle is running the show with what was once regarded as quality or just good software. I guess the question boils down to: Does Oracle even care about virtualization? Is it part even part of the business model and in turn, revenue stream? What fate does VirtualBox have?
Well, it has been quite a week, last week. Not too long after the OpenSolaris Governing Board issued an ultimatum to Oracle and closely following the unveiling of the Illumos project, Oracle officially announced (in a memo to internal employees) that they will be leaving OpenSolaris behind. To most (including myself) this is not at all surprising. The writing had been on the walls, yet many still felt hopeful. It is disappointing news for more than one reason. OpenSolaris was a solid and great operating system. Not many of my readers may really know too much about the SunOS family but when Sun Microsystems developed a software product, it was always a quality product; that is, stable and extremely well polished.
When I think of Sun Microsystems, I think of a true engineering company. Although being all engineering and little to no marketing may have been one of many paths to its decline and eventual downfall. Either way, Sun gave us NFS, Java, ZFS, DTrace and plenty more. And whenever I stepped behind a Solaris or OpenSolaris system, I always felt comfortable. I would never use a GUI as most seasoned UNIX and Linux administrators don’t. The command line was my main access to the system’s facilities and this is where Sun had it right. Managing volumes and exported shares, boot environments, services and more. They had simplified and polished the ability to manage the system and all of its capabilities. Unfortunately Linux lacks in some of these but who is to say that someone will not take ownership and develop similar tools in the near future.
It is my opinion that this focus to detail and a stable and simplified environment is going to slowly disappear under the direction of Oracle. Again, Sun was an engineering company and nothing more. Oracle has more of a concrete vision and focus; that is, making money. How much will quality of products such as Solaris 11, VirtualBox, OpenOffice.org and especially MySQL (among others) suffer when deadlines are trying to be met and corners must be cut, because a late product won’t bring in revenue. I will admit that this is most likely where I will end my use of Solaris, unless Oracle surprises the world and continues to maintain the type of quality that Sun brought to the operating system.
Two days ago Sun Microsystems released the latest update to the VirtualBox virtualization application as version 3.0.4. You can download it here and view the Changelog here.
Today Sun Microsystem’s released their newest upgrade to Virtualbox with version 3.0.0. You can download it from here. You can also view the Changelog here. This includes enhanced 3D rendering support along with support for SMP architectures.
Also released is Mozilla’s latest version of their Firefox web browser. Firefox 3.5 can be downloaded from here. From the same page you can view all recently added features. The most notable is that it is twice the speed (if not more) of Firefox 3.0.x.