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Sun releases OpenSolaris for Xen

Sun Microsystems programmers have released the first version of OpenSolaris that runs on the Xen multi-operating system foundation.

On Monday, Solaris programmers called the OpenSolaris Xen version "pre-alpha" software "not for the faint of heart." But that's a good thing, according to Tim Marsland, a Solaris leader. "We believe that some developers want to participate during the development process, and now this project can open its doors to that kind of participation," he said on his blog.

Xen is a software foundation that lets a computer using x86 processors such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron run multiple operating systems. That feature is useful for using a server more efficiently. Xen currently works chiefly with Linux, but Sun is adopting it for its "Galaxy" line of x86 servers. Xen employs an approach called paravirtualization that requires changes in the operating system to cooperate with Xen.

Sun got one of Xen's more advanced features working, the ability to freeze an operating system and its applications, migrate it to another system, and restart it.

On Thursday, Sun also released a new Solaris Express version of the operating system, which has been tested but not as much as a full production release. The new version includes RealPlayer, software to read and write DVDs, performance improvements and bug fixes to the ZFS file system, 802.11 wireless networking support for some network adapters; and the "Greyhound" project to speed up encrypted Secure Socket Layer processing.