An open source alternative to Solaris 11 has been launched. OpenIndiana has been introduced by a team of developers to fill the gap left following Oracle's decision to no longer support Open Solaris.

Alasdair Lumsden, managing director of hosting company, Every City, is one of the prime movers behind the project. "We used Solaris 10 for my company and Sun were beginning to charge a lot more for security. We switched to Open Solaris but after the Oracle takeover, that became very expensive so I got together with a few people off the mailing list and started working on an open source version."

He said that although EveryCity was used for hosting, the project was a separate one from the company's main business.

According to Lumsden, the move was just in time. "About a month ago, a memo from Oracle was leaked, revealing that the company was going to kill OpenSolaris to focus on its commercial offerings, so we are in the right position to take advantage of this

Lumsden said that the project didn't clash with the already-existing Illumos project which was based on forking the Open Solaris kernel. "I see similarities with Linux in the way that there are other distributions such as Red Hat around the Linux kernel. There Other OpenSolaris distributions," he added, " but, OpenIndiana offered something different. The other ones have been around a long time, while OpenIndiana has been designed specifically as a drop-in replacement for Solaris 11."

OpenIndiana, which got its name from the project to build an operating system out of OpenSolaris source code, uses the CDDL licence. Lumsden said that the software would not face the legal difficulties that Google has faced with Android. "There's nothing that Oracle could sue us for," he said. "The only thing we were concerned about was the name, which is why we haven't used Solaris at all."

The software was launched last week and attracted 2000 downloads in its first day said Lumsden.