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Shadows Loom Over Sun's Open Source Plans

While Sun Microsystems expects to officially debut Solaris 10 at a quarterly event Nov. 15, its plans to release an open-source version of the Unix operating system remain in limbo.

Even though Solaris 10 moves to manufacturing within the next two months -- and is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2005 -- details about an open-source version of Solaris have not been finalized. That information was confirmed Tuesday by Sun executives, including President and COO Jonathan Schwartz.

Sources close to the vendor say a significant internal debate rages within the highest levels of Sun about the company's open-source Solaris plans, which were first announced in June.

Schwartz would not comment on why details around open-sourcing Solaris remain hazy, but acknowledged that the licensing details are still under discussion with members of the open source community and OSI. Sun has been piloting its open-source plans with roughly 30 members of the open source community, he said.

The Unix leader expects to release all of the major features of Solaris 10 under an "OSI-approved" license, Schwartz said. He would not speculate on what such a license would be, but said that the chances of its being the popular GNU general public license (GPL) were as good as with any other licensing scenario.

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