Why did we decide to fork illumos? After all, there are already many illumos
distributions available to choose from. We felt we could do better than any
of them by taking a more aggressive stance toward compatibility and
reducing cruft from code and community interactions alike.
The following are some of the primary features of Unleashed that address the
shortcomings we perceive in illumos:
- We are completely open source. Unlike illumos, we neither ship nor
depend on closed-source binary blobs.
- We are a complete installable operating system, not an incomplete base
- We have periodic releases: roughly one every 3 months. We make a best
effort to provide security patches between releases.
- We have no uname identity crisis: we are
Unleashed. illumos identifies as SunOS 5.11,
despite being quite different from Solaris 11.
- We are modernizing the system through removal of legacy. We are
binary-incompatible with Solaris, which has allowed us to remove a
lot of cruft. Releases may break ABIs, since everything can be
- We are moving toward sensible defaults, instead of retaining API
backward compatibility forever. On illumos, the default compilation
environment is ancient, and you must specify arcane compiler flags or link
with additional libraries if you want anything newer. We want
./configure to be enough for most software.
- We have clear leadership. There is no decision-making committee; we
have a BDFL instead.
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