Oracle has been building out the next generation version of its Solaris UNIX platform ever since it acquired Sun last year.
Solaris 11 is available as a developer preview now in something called Solaris 11 Express which came out in November.
Now Oracle is ramping up the Solaris 11 effort with a new Oracle Solaris 11 Compatibility Checker Tool. This is an important step for Oracle and Solaris users.
While there will be new applications written for Solaris 11, the vast majority of available applications will be those that were written for prior versions.
"For more than a decade Solaris has maintained a Binary Compatibility Guarantee, and this guarantee is planned to continue after the release of Oracle Solaris 11," Oracle notes on the Compatibility checker site."However, it's still possible to build applications that, even though they compile and run successfully, are not using OS interfaces properly, or use deprecated interfaces, which may cause the application to break at some point in the future. It's always helpful to find potential trouble spots, adding yet one more way to assure your application continues to run."
However, considering the fact that Solaris 11, as was the case with Solaris 10 before it, will have virtual container zones - users need not worry, too much. With Solaris 11, a user could potentially run Solaris 8 in a virtualized container and then run apps written for that ancient operating system within it.
Sure, virtualization doesn't before at bare metal performance, but with Solaris 11, virtualization is supposed to be improved.
Solaris 11 introduces a long list of improvements and some of them could become issues for applications. There are a number high-availability features, including runtime patching which could potentially be issues for apps that require a certain state. ZFS is a wonderful filesystem but hey it could represent a problem for older apps that weren't designed for it.
The right way to make sure that Solaris 11 is ready for prime time is to test apps against it and that's what Oracle is now clearly doing.