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OpenIndiana logo large.svg
OpenIndiana login screen
Developer illumos Foundation et al.
Written in C
OS family Unix
(System V Release 4)
Working state In development[needs update]
Source model Open source
Latest release 2015.10[1] / October 4, 2015; 4 months ago (2015-10-04)
Available in English
Update method Image Packaging System
Package manager Package Manager, pkg
Platforms i386, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic
Userland Solaris and GNU Core Utilities
Default user interface GNOME 2
License Mostly CDDL, with other licenses
Official website

OpenIndiana is a free and open-source, Unix operating system derived from OpenSolaris. Developers forked OpenSolaris after Oracle Corporation discontinued it,[2] in order to continue development and distribution of the source code.[3] The OpenIndiana project is stewarded by the illumos Foundation, which also stewards the illumos operating system.[3] OpenIndiana's developers strive to make it "the defacto OpenSolaris distribution installed on production servers where security and bug fixes are required free of charge".[4]



Project Indiana was originally conceived by Sun Microsystems, to construct a binary distribution around the OpenSolaris source code base.[5]

OpenIndiana was conceived after negotiations of a takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle were proceeding, in order to ensure continued availability and further development of an OpenSolaris-based OS, as it is widely used. Uncertainty among the OpenSolaris development community led some developers to form tentative plans for a fork of the existing codebase.

These plans came to fruition following the announcement of discontinuation of support for the OpenSolaris project by Oracle.[6][7]

Initial reaction[edit]

OpenIndiana operating in console mode. View of the root directory
OpenIndiana Package Manager

The formal announcement of the OpenIndiana project was made on September 14, 2010 at the JISC Centre in London.[8] The first release of the operating system was made available publicly at the same time, despite being untested. The reason for the untested release was that the OpenIndiana team set a launch date ahead of Oracle OpenWorld in order to beat the release of Solaris 11 Express.[9]

The announcement of OpenIndiana was met with a mainly positive response; over 350 people[10] viewed the online announcement, the ISO image was downloaded over 2000 times,[10] the Twitter account obtained over 500 followers,[11] and numerous notable IT press websites wrote about the release.[9][12][13][14][15][16] The broadcast bandwidth of the announcement was substantial, noted to top 350Mbit/second.[17] The network package depot server experienced 20x as much traffic interested in their distribution than they originally planned for, resulting in more threads later being provisioned.[18]

Not all reporting was positive, and some online articles have questioned the relevance of Solaris given the market penetration of GNU/Linux.[19][20] One article was critical of the OpenIndiana launch citing a lack of professionalism with regard to releasing an untested build, and the project's lack of commitment to a release schedule.[21]

Community concerns[edit]

With the OpenSolaris binary distribution moved to SolarisExpress and the real-time feed of OpenSolaris updates discontinued, concerns abounded over what would happen to OpenIndiana if Oracle decided to stop feeding source code back into the community. The OpenIndiana team mitigated these concerns when they announced their intention to move the source code feed to the illumos Foundation.[22]

Concerns were raised about possible discontinuation of free access to the Oracle-owned compiler being used to produce OpenIndiana. In response, OpenIndiana was modified to be able to compile under the open source GNU Compiler Collection.[23] Work on OpenIndiana is ongoing to make the compiled binaries both bootable and stable on a greater number of machines (motherboards, chipsets, CPUs, and HBAs).

The HCL (hardware compatibility list) remains somewhat informal, fragmented and un-centralized requiring much end-user research for hardware selection.[24][25][26][27][28] The lack of a comprehensive centralized HCL might be an artifact due to the fact that the Device Driver Utility is part of the OpenSolaris binary distribution and uses an old Sun Microsystems email address now under Oracle control.[29][30][31]

In August 2012, founding project lead Alasdair Lumsden stepped down from the project, citing personal reasons and frustration with the lack of progress made on the project.[32] Among the reasons for lack of progress were lack of developers and resources. In his resignation, Lumsden wrote, "For many of us this was the first open source project we had ever contributed to, myself included. The task at hand was vast, and we were ill equipped to deal with it."[32]


A September 2013 DistroWatch review stated that the OpenIndiana project has "seemingly been in steady decline for the last couple of years."[33] The same review concluded that OpenIndiana had not progressed significantly from the state of OpenSolaris five years before:[33]

Running OpenIndiana today feels much the same as running OpenSolaris five years ago, the tools are mostly the same, the desktop is the same. The software included is starting to show its age and I don't feel any truly significant features have been introduced in the past few years. I'm sure the developers behind the project are doing a good job of hunting down bugs and keeping drivers current, and that is great. Still, I feel as though OpenIndiana is treading water, not progressing in any meaningful way.

A May 2015 DistroWatch review of OpenIndiana similarly concluded that little major progress had been made to the system over the years.[34] The review stated that the package selection and hardware support seemed to lag behind other systems, while many of the system administration features have either replicated or ported to Linux and BSD. The review concludes that:[34]

While OpenIndiana appears to still be stable and functional, it also gives the impression of being stuck in the past, possibly due to a lack of developers willing to work on the project. OpenIndiana runs and may still be useful in situations where, for various reasons, the administrator really needs a version of Solaris, but it seems to me as though OpenIndiana has not moved forward in the past seven years. The operating system still features some great ideas and good technology, but it does not appear to have made any progress in recent years.

Relation to Solaris, Solaris Express, illumos[edit]

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 on the OS/Net consolidation like OpenSolaris was, OpenIndiana will apply the illumos kernel (the first release is still based on OS/Net). The project does use the same Image Packaging System (IPS) package management system as OpenSolaris.[4]

The OpenIndiana codebase is currently based on the majority of publicly available code from Oracle, although future releases will be based upon the Illumos code. The project is also expending efforts to make its codebase independent from Oracle-owned tools such as Sun Studio, although that is not the main focus of the project.[4]

Release schedule[edit]

[needs update] The first development release of OpenIndiana, Build 147, was released on September 14, 2010,[35] while a second development release, Build 148 was released on December 17, 2010.[36] A third development release, Build 151 was released on September 14, 2011. This is the first release to be based upon Illumos. MartUX 151a0[37] was released as the first SPARC build for OpenIndiana. Build 151a7 for Intel/AMD architectures was released on October 6, 2012. Build 151a8 was released August 10, 2013. OpenSXCE 2013.01 SPARC Build 151a, formerly MartUX, was released through OpenIndiana on Feb. 1, 2013 as the second and possibly last OpenIndiana SPARC build,[38] with subsequent releases based upon DilOS.[39]

Hipster is the codename for rapidly moving development branch of OpenIndiana and users might experience occasional breakages or problems. Hipster is using rolling-release model and only publishes installation ISOs once in a while. Every ISO release is announced via mailing list and Twitter.[40]


  1. ^ 2015.10 Release notes
  2. ^ Ljubuncic, Igor (23 May 2011). "OpenIndiana — there's still hope". DistroWatch. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Welcome to Project OpenIndiana!". Project OpenIndiana. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Frequently Asked Questions From the OpenIndiana Wiki
  5. ^ "Project Indiana". [dead link]
  6. ^ Lumsden, Alasdair (August 13, 2010). "OpenSolaris cancelled, to be replaced with Solaris 11 Express". osol-discuss (Mailing list). Archived from the original on 2013-03-07. 
  7. ^ Michael Larabel (September 10, 2010). "OpenIndiana — Another OpenSolaris Fork — Coming Next Week". Phoronix. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  8. ^ Announcement
  9. ^ a b Sam Varghese. "OpenSolaris fork to be announced". ITWire. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  10. ^ a b EveryCity Managed Hosting. "EveryCity Sponsors OpenSolaris Fork OpenIndiana". Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "OpenIndiana Twitter Account". 
  12. ^ Timothy Prickett Morgan. "OpenSolaris spork ready for download". The Register. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Illumos Foundation launches OpenIndiana". The H. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Luke Hopewell. "Illumos Foundation resurrects OpenSolaris". ZDNet Australia. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Ted Samson (September 15, 2010). "Illumos aims to clone dying OpenSolaris". InfoWorld. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Oliver Diedrich (15 September 2010). "OpenIndiana statt OpenSolaris". Heise Online (in German). Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Twitter / openindiana: Hope you liked the announcement
  18. ^ Twitter / openindiana: Our pkg.depotd server for
  19. ^ "From the Editors: Consulting the Oracle". Software Development Times. Software Development Times. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  20. ^ Joe Brockmeier. "A Quick Look at OpenIndiana". Linux Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  21. ^ Lawrence Latif (15 September 2010). "Open Indiana aims for default free Solaris distribution". The Inquirer. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  22. ^ What if Oracle discontinue providing access to the OpenSolaris source?
  23. ^ What if Oracle discontinue Sun Studio (the closed source and primary compiler for building OpenSolaris)?
  24. ^ Openindiana Community HCL
  25. ^ The Best Hardware to Use?
  26. ^ Nexenta Project | About suggested NAS SAN Hardware Archived December 12, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ NexentaStor TM Hardware Supported List Version 1.0 – February 02, 2011[dead link]
  28. ^ Joyent Validates TYAN Servers for Use in SmartDataCenter Archived November 24, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Device driver utility feedback email address
  30. ^ Feedback-alias: driver-utility-feedback ...
  31. ^ Device Driver Utility
  32. ^ a b Alasdair Lumsden (2012-08-29). "OpenIndiana lead Alasdair Lumsden resigns". Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  33. ^ a b "DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 523, 2 September 2013". 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  34. ^ a b "DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 609, 11 May 2015". 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  35. ^ oi_147 - OpenIndiana - OpenIndiana Wiki
  36. ^ "oi_148". December 17, 2010. 
  37. ^ 151a0 MartUX SPARC Build 151a0
  38. ^ OpenIndiana: SPARC release deleted
  39. ^ Twitter / openindiana: Stable release candidate aiming
  40. ^ Hipster

External links[edit]