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 for “distros”.
- 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 recompiled.
- 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.