Solaris 10 submitted for Common Criteria

Sun Microsystems has submitted Solaris 10, its general-purpose operating system, for Common Criteria evaluation, and is planning to release a new product next year that will elevate the system to the same level of security as Trusted Solaris.

Trusted Solaris has the functionality of Solaris 8, said Mark Thacker, product line manager for Solaris security. When Solaris 10 finishes the Common Criteria evaluation process in nine to 12 months, Sun will have a new product called Trusted Extensions that will add more security to it, making it an up-to-date version of the older Trusted Solaris.

Trusted Extensions will be released in the second quarter of 2006, he said, and the company expects to have it already into the Common Criteria evaluation process by the time it's released. The company has not decided whether it will be available as part of the operating system, as a separate add-on or in some combination, he added.

Sun has had some degree of security certification in its operating systems since 1991, Thacker said.

“Sun views Common Criteria as not just something that we have to do, [but] something that we want to do," he said. "It is, and always has been, a differentiator for us.”

Recently, Red Hat announced that the next version of its Linux distribution has begun the evaluation process.

Thacker said that Sun's experience and history with the security classifications sets it apart from Red Hat and many other potential competitors. But, he said, Common Criteria is increasingly critical for companies that plan to sell to the government.

“It makes a big difference to the acceptance of the product," he said. "In the U.S. in particular, government customers like to buy products that vendors are willing to commit to Common Criteria certification on. You can commit to committing to it, or you can say, ‘Let’s go put the product into evaluation.' "

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