Google testing Sun's OpenSolaris

It looks like Google may be experimenting with OpenSolaris, according to a couple sources. From the article:
Google runs a stripped-down version of Red Hat Linux specially modified by its engineers. But another source, a Solaris systems administrator who recently interviewed for a job at Google, said he was told the company plans to create and test its own modified version of OpenSolaris.
“I am 100% certain that there are literally dozens of people horsing around with OpenSolaris inside Google,” said Stephen Arnold, a technology consultant and author of The Google Legacy. Moving to OpenSolaris, he said, would be a natural move for Google, with its large number of former Sun employees and its never-ending drive to push the performance of its data centers to the hilt. But Arnold said he doubts that Google, which finished rolling out its highly-secret data centers in 2004, is deploying OpenSolaris widely yet. “Will it quickly replace Linux anytime soon? No,” he said.

Now it's clear that Linux is fairly entrenched at Google and literally dozens of people at Google are always “horsing around” with all kinds of projects that will never come to fruition. That being said, what would the implications of Google dumping Linux for OpenSolaris be for the Linux community? I think the loss would be two fold. First, Google engineers put a lot of time and work into various aspects of Linux that end up moving upstream. Losing that would be bad, but in the end other companies would likely take up most of the slack. The other element is the hit to the reputation Linux has. “If it's good enough for Google..” is something you'll here quite a bit at Linux shops. While it wouldn't be a ding Linux couldn't recover from and it wouldn't actually impact the quality of Linux in any way, perception means a lot; especially in the corporate world. “Why did they make the migration” would be the subject of a massive amount of scrutiny, and rightfully so. Google is seen as a technically savvy company with talented engineers that really know their stuff. For them to move would be a huge seal of approval for OpenSolaris and something I think Sun would absolutely love to see happen. All in all, this is just another rumor at the moment, but it's definitely one the Linux world will be keeping a close eye on.
–jeremy
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