I recently came across an interesting article on Project Indiana, the upcoming OpenSolaris desktop distro. Here are a few snippets:
“A veil of ambiguity that obscures the function and purpose of OpenSolaris is one of the greater impediments that currently limits the growth of the OpenSolaris community. Is it a kernel or an operating system? As Debian founder and Sun’s new platform strategist Ian Murdock pointed out in a blog post last month, OpenSolaris doesn’t neatly fall into either category. “Like Linux, OpenSolaris is a kernel. Except that it’s more than a kernel. Or, rather, more than a kernel but not quite a complete operating system,” says Murdock. “Are you confused yet?”
Murdock’s solution to this problem is to work with the community to build a cohesive OpenSolaris solution modeled after modern Linux distributions. If Sun can give users and developers an easy way to start experimenting with OpenSolaris, it would reduce the barriers to entry and make the community more inclusive, which would in turn expose a broader audience to really cool features like ZFS and DTrace that inspire adoption of Solaris in enterprise environments.
For Sun, the key to achieving [the] chain reaction of growth is to establish a gentle glide path from Linux to OpenSolaris by creating an integrated OpenSolaris stack that existing Linux users can download, install, and use with minimal effort. Specifically, an installation CD image with a useful set of binary packages that provides a complete desktop environment and access to additional third-party software via remote repositories. Does that remind you of anything? “How many of you would take Solaris for a spin,” asks Murdock, “if doing so was as easy as, say, downloading the latest version of Ubuntu and installing it?””
I really think Project Indiana could go a long way into popularising OpenSolaris. The biggest strength of Ubuntu is that it is idiot-proof. Which means that idiots can get it to work, with minimum fuss and without screwing up. Most people in the world will not spend time to learn an operating system that’s really powerful, coz they couldn’t care less. They’ll adopt it only if it works intutively. This is the path along which Open Source must develop.