Illumos is an outstanding Unix operating system that provides next-generation features for downstream distributions, such as advanced system debugging, next-generation filesystem, networking, and virtualization options. The software is developed by both volunteers and companies building products on top of the software.

Illumos - Introducing Free and Open-source Unix Operating System Which Based on OpenSolaris

It is an excellent base for both traditional and cloud-native deployments. Thus, the OmniOS and Open Indiana distributions are a good place for new users to get started, and you can install them in a virtual machine or on bare metal. However, you need an illumos-based operating system to build illumos. It does not support Cross-compilation.



Illumos is available for free from their source repository and is the home of many technologies including ZFS, DTrace, Zones, CTF, FMA, and many more. The developers pride themselves on having a stable, highly observable, and technologically different system- its engineering heritage, tracing its roots back through Sun Microsystems to the original releases of UNIX and BSD.

There are lots of companies out there who use illumos. Lots of communities and businesses base their products and services on illumos. In addition to offering the core for projects and products, components of illumos have been ported to other operating systems.

  • FreeBSD – Incorporates ZFS, DTrace, MDB.
  • Apple – Incorporates DTrace.
  • Joyent – Public and on-prem cloud, object storage.
  • Lucera – Financial infrastructure services.
  • Delphix – Database virtualization.
  • Nexenta – Storage appliance.
  • EveryCity – Managed cloud services.
  • Project FIFO – On-prem cloud.
  • Circonus – Monitoring services.
  • Pobox -Email services.
  • Topicbox – Mailing list services.
  • DanubeCloud – On-prem cloud.

Organization (that makes use of the software) and its description are as follows above.

Illumos Features

The software comes with the following features;

ZFS – ZFS is a combined file system and logical volume manager providing a high level of data integrity for very large storage capacities.

Solaris Containers, (Zones) – is a low overhead implementation of operating-system-level virtualization technology for x86 and SPARC systems.

DTrace – DTrace is simply a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework for troubleshooting kernel and application problems on production systems in real-time.

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) – is a virtualization infrastructure. It supports native virtualization on processors with hardware virtualization extensions.

OpenSolaris Network Virtualization and Resource Control, (Crossbow) – it is a set of features that offers internal network virtualization and quality of service such as Virtual NIC (VNIC) pseudo-network interface technology, Exclusive IP zones, Bandwidth management, and flow control on a per-interface and per VNIC basis.

Illumos Distributions

Here are the various distributions associated with illumos;

DilOS – a Debian package manager (dpkg + apt) and virtualization support, available for x86-64 and SPARC.[22].

NexentaStor – is a distribution optimized for virtualization, storage area networks, network-attached storage, and iSCSI or Fibre Channel applications employing the ZFS file system.

OmniOS Community Edition – OmniOS takes a minimalist approach suitable for server use.[23]

OpenIndiana – Openindiana is a distribution that is a continuation and fork in the spirit of the OpenSolaris operating system.

SmartOS – SmartOS is a distribution for cloud computing with Kernel-based Virtual Machine integration.

Tribblix – a retro-style distribution with modern components, available for x86-64 and SPARC.[24]

V9os – V9OS is a server-only, IPS-based minimal SPARC distribution.

XStreamOS – is a distribution for infrastructure, cloud, and web development.

Dyson – it’s derived from Debian using libc, and SMF init system.

OpenSXCE – OpenSXCE is a distribution for developers and system administrators for IA-32/x86-64 x86 platforms and SPARC.

Illumos Download

Download and install illumos on your device? Are you a beginner/new user? The OmniOS and OpenIndiana distributions are a good place for new users to get started. Thus, you can install it in a virtual machine or on bare metal. From the list of distributions listed above, locate the distribution that meets your needs and proceed to download it.


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