OpenSolaris modernizes packaging

SAN FRANCISCO'OpenSolaris, the open source version of the Sun Solaris operating system, features a new utility that should make it easier for organizations to package and distribute programs.

The Image Packaging System assembles all the components needed to install a program on a computer running Solaris. The program not only collects into a single package all the files needed to install a particular program but also checks for dependencies, or other programs that the program being installed will need to run. If the host computer does not have these additional programs, IPS will query a repository and download them.

Stephen Hall, senior staff engineer at Sun Microsystems, introduced the program at CommunityOne, a Sun-sponsored open-source conference held yesterday in San Francisco.

Sun has positioned OpenSolaris as an alternative to Linux, but critics say it still lacks many amenities that Linux ' with its wider developer base ' can offer. IPS brings OpenSolaris in line with Linux-based packaging utilities, Hall said.

A government agency could use IPS to distribute programs within the organization without the need for users to download software from the Internet. The software could even be used as part of a package to build entire images of OpenSolaris with custom software included. In this way, the organization could make CDs, for instance, that would run particular programs.

IPS is included with the latest version of OpenSolaris, code-named Indiana, available for download. The distribution also includes a new networking stack, the Xen virtualization software and the latest versions of Gnome, Apache, MySQL and the Zetabyte File System

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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