Everything old is new again
“Future features and functionality in Solaris will continue to be delivered through dot releases instead of more disruptive major releases.”
"Solaris 11 follows a Continuous Delivery model…”
“It's likely to be the customers like that who asked for [no Solaris 12]. S11 takeup is steady, but slow, and neither customers nor ISVs will want the disruption of yet another major release yet”
I’ve seen this movie before.
After Solaris 10, word came from the executive suite that Solaris 11 would not be coming out for… a while. Possibly ever. Can’t spend all that money on ISV adoption, customers are ascairt, and so on. Let’s just keep on adding things to Solaris 10.
Customers would hear the “Solaris 10 forevarr” message (aka “continuous non-disruptive delivery”) and say, “that sounds great! So when do we get feature X in Solaris 10?”
“Oh, well…” —kicking of ground with toes ensues— “…that requires feature Y, which would require too much change for a dot-dot release…” (remember, as someone already pointed out, “Solaris 10” is really SunOS 5.10, so “continuous delivery” would come through dot-dot releases.)
Customers in general do not want anything to change, ever… except for, of course, the new things. Can we have all the new things, please? But don’t change anything!
When Oracle took over, they saw what was in Solaris 11 and never coming in Solaris 10, and listened to customers who wanted those things, and said, “ship that sucker.” Which took another almost two years, for a total of almost seven years between 10 and 11 by then.
(Oracle had a novel way of solving the adoption costs, though, by not spending anything on customer or ISV adoption. Which might explain the “takeup is steady, but slow” —after FIVE YEARS— part.)
The good news is that a big reason why “continuous delivery” was a non-starter for Solaris 10 was that all the features needed to make it work at all, most notably IPS, were in Solaris 11. So it will definitely be easier to do this than it was 10 years ago. The questions are how much Oracle is willing to spend on backporting how many features from Solaris 12, and at what point do you start fudging the line between what is and isn’t a dot release?
The rain gage to me, and what I’d be asking as a customer, is, “When do you expect to continuously deliverate zero-downtime patching?” since that is A) on the top of the list of Solaris 12 features they’ve been talking about, and B) something that if it makes it into Solaris 11 would be strong proof that “Continuous Delivery” is doable, even for something requiring what would seem to be major changes to the kernel.