8 April 2003 Sun Microsystems is to start commercial sales of its Trusted Solaris operating system, which was originally developed and sold solely to the US military and security services.
Trusted Solaris includes a range of security features and functions not available on standard Solaris. These include a fully integrated firewall, more granular access control and various features that reduce the risk of key strokes being logged by, for example, Trojan horse software.
In particular, Trusted Solaris does not allow “super user” or “root access” capabilities, which are common in standard Solaris and other operating systems. With super user privileges, a single user can obtain access to every element of an operating system — and then do what they like with the system.
By removing this feature, an administrator will need to obtain permission from a number of people before major changes can be made. Sun claims that Trusted Solaris also offers a tamper-proof audit trail that logs all activity.
Trusted Solaris has been sold to US government agencies for the last decade, but Sun is hoping that heightened concern about computer security will make it a viable alternative to the open source operating system Linux and Microsoft Windows.
Solaris is used in a range of US military hardware, including helicopters and tanks.
The company says it will charge $999 for the standard desktop edition and $2,495 for an independently certified version. It is available on both Sparc and Intel microprocessors.
The release of Trusted Solaris coincides with the launch this week of a range of new products from Sun. These include the Sun Fire V210, a new low-end server, and the StorEdge 6120 mid-range storage array.