In 2005 Sun open sourced Solaris, their version of Unix, creating the OpenSolaris project. Following the acquisition of Sun by Oracle some 5 years later, the OpenSolaris project was abandoned, and Oracle Solaris is no longer open source.
Two projects sprang up to fill the gap, in different ways.
The illumos project continued to develop the underlying code base - the kernel and supporting user commands (sometimes known as ON - the OS and Networking consolidation). This code base is now used as the basis for many derived distributions, including Tribblix.
The OpenIndiana project continued to develop a clone of the OpenSolaris distribution (which was code named project Indiana), including packaging and desktop components.
Oracle have continued to develop their own version of Solaris, so that, while the commercial Oracle Solaris and the illumos distributions share a common heritage and philosophy, and often behave similarly, they have diverged over time. With now over a decade of divergence, the minor differences can now be considerable.
There are now a significant number of illumos distributions, some of which are:
And a number of smaller distributions including, of course, Tribblix.
The creator of Tribblix wanted to get away from the bloat and complexity introduced by IPS, and created a lightweight distribution using SVR4 packaging, with a distinctively retro feel, but using modern components.
Tribblix ships 2 variants for 64-bit x86 hardware. The vanilla variant is built on essentially unmodified illumos. The omnitribblix variant is built on the same foundation as OmniOS, so gains features such as LX zones. Both Tribblix variants share the same application packages.
Tribblix also supports a limited range of SPARC hardware.
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