As vnunet.com predicted yesterday, Sun Microsystems has released Solaris 10 with the promise that editions of the platform for Sparc, x86, AMD64 and EM64T systems will be made available as a free download by the end of January 2005.
Sun promised to provide its full commercial grade Solaris 10 product free for deployment. However, the firm added that a range of services and support offerings will still be available for a fee.
The vendor claimed that the operating system, which is designed for data centre environments, is its fastest platform, more than 40 per cent faster than Solaris 9 in web server performance on both Sparc and x86.
According to the firm, the platform represents 3,000 engineering years and a $500m-plus R&D investment to create its 600-plus feature enhancements.
"Operating systems matter now more than ever," said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer at Sun.
Key enhancements in Solaris 10 include the DTrace diagnostic tool kit designed to help developers zero in on performance issues and hard-to-find bugs, and Predictive Self Healing which aims automatically to diagnose, isolate and recover from hardware and application faults.
Sun said that the Solaris Containers feature makes it the only operating system to provide multiple software partitions, with more than 8,000 containers on one instance of the system.
The latest Solaris edition includes process rights management technology from the Trusted Solaris operating system, used for US government secure communications to deliver a more granular privilege use model.
The platform, which is optimised for AMD Opteron 64-bit processors, will also ship with the Linux Application Environment (previously codenamed Project Janus) to run Solaris and native Linux binaries side-by-side with no modifications.
Sun also claimed that Solaris 10's ZFS file system, which has "16 billion times more capacity than current 64-bit file systems", would offer "virtually unlimited storage capacity" making it particularly suited to data centres.
Additional enhancements include the Sun Update Connection, a service designed to allow users to analyse the system and to deploy fixes remotely using Sun's update portal.
The Unix giant also offers the Solaris Application Guarantee promising that applications written for previous versions of Solaris will run on Solaris 10.
"Solaris 10 is an industry milestone, bar none. This is the result of Sun's huge investment in R&D and demonstrates how superior engineering can deliver real customer advantage," said Schwartz.
"With thousands of customers previewing Solaris 10 as part of the Sun Software Express for Solaris programme, and more than a half million installations of the product so far, Solaris 10 is the most anticipated product release in the history of Sun."
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