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OpenSolaris

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  • User profile image
    Ray6

    It looks like Sun is trying to pitch Solaris at the desktop.

    I wondered if anyone has tried it as a desktop OS, and what they think of it.




  • User profile image
    Xaero_​Vincent

    I've used Nexenta before as a desktop OS. I tried Indiana a few days ago.

    The experience was exactly the same as any Linux distribution, except the glaring lack of polish and GUI tools to configure the system.

    The Unix commands are different but essentially perform the equivelent functions as the GNU toolset.

    In short, I see little advantage migrating to a different platform just to use the same apps as Linux and learn an alternate CLI command set with equivelent functions.

    Solaris has some advantage on the server with ZFS, DTrace, and decent scalability. However, those advantages arent exclusive. FreeBSD and Mac OS have ZFS and DTrace implementations as well.

    There is a beta version of a user-space ZFS driver for Linux via FUSE and SystemTap is working on rivaling most of it's feature (tracing userspace apps, not just kernel-mode drivers, etc).

  • User profile image
    Ray6

    Xaero_Vincent wrote:
    I've used Nexenta before as a desktop OS. I tried Indiana a few days ago.

    The experience was exactly the same as any Linux distribution, except the glaring lack of polish and GUI tools to configure the system.

    The Unix commands are different but essentially perform the equivelent functions as the GNU toolset.

    In short, I see little advantage migrating to a different platform just to use the same apps as Linux and learn an alternate CLI command set with equivelent functions.

    Solaris has some advantage on the server with ZFS, DTrace, and decent scalability. However, those advantages arent exclusive. FreeBSD and Mac OS have ZFS and DTrace implementations as well.

    There is a beta version of a user-space ZFS driver for Linux via FUSE and SystemTap is working on rivaling most of it's feature (tracing userspace apps, not just kernel-mode drivers, etc).


    Okay, so it sounds as if it still has some ways to go ....

    Cheers for that.


  • User profile image
    atehrani

    Yes it does have some ways to go (particularly in driver support), but Sun has been working really hard on it recently. What they have come up with in a short amount of time is impressive.

    At first one may question why not just use Linux. Besides the mentioned feature benefits with Solaris (ZFS, Dtrace, zones). The other thing Solaris brings is a stable ABI. This is contrast to Linux, in which they feel free to change (break) things.

    Once Indiana matures a bit more, I will be seriously considering making it my primary OS.

  • User profile image
    Ray6

    atehrani wrote:
    Yes it does have some ways to go (particularly in driver support), but Sun has been working really hard on it recently. What they have come up with in a short amount of time is impressive.


    Yes, it was the Indiana project that got me interested.


  • User profile image
    giovanni

    I gave it a second shot last week, but I have mixed feelings about it: I like it because I used Solaris extensively in the past and CDE works very well on older computers because it is very light weight.

    However I found it very hard to configure for a home networK: for example, try adding a user with useradd. By default you cannot add home directories because /home is taken by some service which prevents writing to it. Definitely not the easiest system to configure.

  • User profile image
    Ray6

    giovanni wrote:
    I gave it a second shot last week, but I have mixed feelings about it: I like it because I used Solaris extensively in the past and CDE works very well on older computers because it is very light weight.

    However I found it very hard to configure for a home networK: for example, try adding a user with useradd. By default you cannot add home directories because /home is taken by some service which prevents writing to it. Definitely not the easiest system to configure.


    I like the idea of one outfit having overall responsibility for it. Sun do some good stuff, but when it comes to ease of use? Not sure yet. I'm going to keep an eye on it though; probably give it a shot at the next release.

  • User profile image
    k2t0f12d

    I got it and tried it out a couple weeks ago.  Firstly, a word of warning about the OpenSolaris partitioner.  When you choose an existing partition and set it to "do not use" this does not have the same effect as a Debian-based installer, which simply ignores said partition.  OpenSolaris deletes it.

    I had been keeping 20gb of free space inbetween my glob of Linux partitions and a Windows partition for experiments like this.  Once I had OpenSolaris booted, I got a GNOME-ish looking desktop environment and opened a shell to poke around a bit.   That was a short-lived adventure, because my video adapter wasn't properly supported in a vanilla installation and I didn't feel like messing around with it yet.  Also, the environment seemed very similar to Linux in most ways, and since I already had that set up just the way I like, I wanted to get back there anyway.  That is except it wasn't there anymore, because of said misunderstanding between me and the Solaris partitioner.

    Fortunately, I expect system partitions to be the first thing to go in any case of misadventure and keep them as far away as possible from any data I care very much about.  For Debian, losing the system disk is more of a momentary inconvenience then a problem, especially since I mirror the archives I habitually use, with backups of a few key files and compiled software, and can be back up and running in, at most, thirty minutes.  Windows is obviously more of a problem, and I keep an up-to-date compressed image of its partition on hand, and never put any valuable data on the same disk with it.

    I will probably give OpenSolaris another go sometime in the future, but for now I need not bother, for the same reason I haven't jumped on the BSD wagon.  All three systems, being UNIX-like, are fundamentally the same, except Linux is better known, better supported, and what most of my computing is based on anyway.  Switching to another UNIX would be at best a lateral move; and at worse, something I already have, only with fewer features and less support.

  • User profile image
    Rossj

    k2t0f12d wrote:
    When you choose an existing partition and set it to "do not use" this does not have the same effect as a Debian-based installer, which simply ignores said partition.  OpenSolaris deletes it.


    Bloody hell. Nice and user-friendly then Smiley I think I'll give this particular test-run a miss.

  • User profile image
    k2t0f12d

    Rossj wrote:
    Bloody hell. Nice and user-friendly then I think I'll give this particular test-run a miss.


    I think part of the problem is that OpenSolaris, like Windows, has the predication that it will have exclusive use of the disk on which it is being installed.  The difference being, that with a little forthought, it is a simple matter to plunk down a Windows partition wherever you like (with LBA? I guess, works for me) without clubbing anything else in the process.

    I was able to recover my Linux glob after the OpenSolaris debacle anyway, but trashed it in preference of a reinstallation anyway, since there was nothing valuable on those partitions, and I felt safer using a fresh installation then something to which an alien OS partitioner could have done fsck all.

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