I work for Joyent (joyent.com) now, which employs a number of devs that work on illumos (illumos.org). We also provide cloud infrastructure. Would it help if we offered one or more instances (VMs) on which to run buildbot slaves (and on which volunteers for bug fixing could hack)?  I know a lot of people in the illumos community would be quite sad to have it dropped as a core Python plat.

Yes you are correct that Oracle owns the Solaris brand.

tl;dr history if you care:
- sunos -> Solaris
- Sun open sources Solaris, called OpenSolaris (2005)
- Oracle acquires Sun and closes Solaris (Aug 2010). Shortly after, the community forks OpenSolaris and calls it illumos (Sep 2010)
- OpenIndiana is a distro of illumos (somewhat similar to how Ubuntu is a distro of Linux). Other distros are SmartOS (the one Joyent works on), and OmniOS.
- Oracle continues work on Solaris, releasing "Solaris 11 Express".

I've no real numbers of usage of illumos vs Solaris 11 vs others.


p.s. I hear that Jesus is also in contact with some of the illumos-devs on IRC (and perhaps email). I hope we can help there.