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since OpenSolaris is more or less abandoned by Oracle, is there a nice alternative that implements the unique features of OSOL? ZFS is one thing, but I liked the image creation system, that let you create images of a master system and then distribute it quickly to other computers. This was an effort to simplify creation of clusters.

According to the Wikipedia page of OSOL, there's Illumos, which is a fork of OSOL, with all closed source parts replaced by open source parts. Illumos is in active development.

But is Illumos an alternative to OSOL, with all it's features? Is anyone using it and could tell us his or hers experiences?

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For those of us who weren't aware of the demise of OpenSolaris, see this Register article , which links back to the authoritative OpenSolaris Governing Board meeting minutes. –  Stefan Lasiewski Aug 31 '10 at 17:45

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Illumos is not a full replacement to OSOL and I don't think it will be in the future since it's intended to be a base from which others can build a distribution. But check the Nexenta OS, this system is heavily based on OSOL and they are one of the main sponsors behind the Illumos project. Although I haven't used it personally and I wouldn't know whether it has what you need.

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Hmm they're talking about making illumos into a distribution at some point, so I guess we have to wait and see. Aside of Nexenta, are there other OSOL "clones"? –  polemon Aug 30 '10 at 16:04
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OS/Net was not completely open source, there were components that were still closed. As a result, until Illumos rewrites those missing components they won't have a full distro. Nextenta)S, BeleniX, SchilliX are all OS/Net based distros. –  nzwulfin Aug 30 '10 at 19:32
    
I wonder how seamless (if at all) the transition from OS/Net to illumos will be. BelleniX is kinda out dated right now, so I'd opt for NexentaOS. Hmm, I wonder if things will get broken once they switch to illumos... –  polemon Aug 31 '10 at 1:00
    
That's a question I think everyone is avoiding... Nexenta has made a statement about NextenaStor being "ok" because they've been "planning for this" but with the tap turned off access to the closed bits should disappear. That would be problematic for anything downstream I'd expect. –  nzwulfin Aug 31 '10 at 23:25

The folks who've done a lot of development for OpenSolaris have pretty much all joined the OpenIndiana bandwagon.

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You have highlighted the utility of ZFS in which I totally agree. Though there seem to be several derivative of Open Solaris which are mentioned above, you might consider choosing a modern version of FreeBSD. It has incorporated ZFS for several years. It is a well documented and supported operating system. I have been using the 8 series for several years and recently converted one machine to FreeBSD 9.1. Though it is not Solaris, you might give it a try. I get worried when projects disappear leaving former developers to scramble.

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Illumnos is the core development based on the OpenSolaris fork. The project does provide a Bare-bones distribution called illumnos-live which is realy just a baseline. It has been likened to how Linux is the Kernel in Gnu/Linux Distributions.

There are a few complete distributions based on Illumnos.

OpenIndiana provides a general purpose server as well as a desktop distribution with Gnome.

SmartOS from Joyent provides a Hypervisor/Virtualization distribution with KVM.

Nexenta is a Storage Appliance that does away with IPS and uses a .DEB type package manager in stead.

There are other distributions but most suffer from lack of development progress. Have a look at the Illumnos FAQ for more information.

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