OpenSolaris JeOS Prototype (Part4: Linux vs OpenSolaris)

This entry is part of OpenSolaris JeOS (Just Enough Operating System) Prototype workshop.


OpenSolaris design limitations and JeOS construction possibilities

Linux

Idea of JeOS have origin in Linux world in 2007. Overall, Linux is ideal candidate for JeOS creation, you have separate version of 32bit and 64bit environments, you can easily customize compiled needed kernel profile, packages can/have small granularity like utility hostname can have its own package, maintenance tools for cli enviroment are mature and even full screen CLI tools exist, user can use local media or network for install/updates. Also Linux offer portability of installation, it use aliases for device names and latest versions using also for boot UUIDs, so once installed Linux can boot on many different real and virtual hardware without need for any manual installation reconfiguration.

Common Linux JeOS Implementations

Linux JeOS is commonly implemented as:

JeOS = JeOS media ( OS core {Kernel,Drives,Login} + OS Mimimum maintenance tools + Minimum user space tools ) + Packages repository (DVD or Network based)

This construction was first used for Server edition Ubuntu 7 based distribution and was available as 32bit oriented separate small size CD download optimized for Virtual Platforms. As Ubuntu prepares new version 8 it was optimized for project of Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded edition, even more packages granularity was introduced, also Ubuntu JeOS was optimized for selected Virtualization technologies 'VMWare ESX, VMWare Server and KVM. New version of JeOS was released as part of Server edition of Ubuntu 8 for both 32 bit and 64 bit architectures, however NOT as separate media, but as integral part of main Server edition CD install one.

Now users install Ubuntu JeOS JeOS with "Install minimal Virtual Machine" option, there are various reasons for this change:

  • The download size and install sizes are not so important now, as it was in 2007, today we have fast internet and large sized disks
  • Many users are not familiar with cli or don't have experience with Ubuntu Linux APT/DEB packaging , now they can install stuff directly from CD during install process.
  • Many users try to keep Virtual machines separated from network for security reasons, they now have option install stuff from directly from CD media.

Other interesting Linux distribution like SLACKWARE, with relaxed dependencies model which can allow to build even smaller JeOS like images, see 190MB Live CD with full x/GUI environment SLAX

OpenSolaris

OpenSolaris is implementation of main ideas in Solaris Approachability - KISS (Keep It Simple Solaris), create a modern Easy-to-Use Solaris GUI based distribution initialy targeting Desktop and Developer in various communities. Initial implementaion was done as project Indiana, which combine main Solaris technologies and selected principles and opensource technologies trying to fix in new distribution main user pains and complaints about Solaris, see for example: Solaris vs. Linux: Ecosystem-based Approach and Framework for the Comparison in Large Enterprise Environments. Later fully Open Source variant of Indiana evolve into OpenSolaris distro. In long therm there are also plans for Enterprise OpenSolaris derivate targeting server HW and company environments.

Historically Solaris have large sized packages with delivers many binaries, Solaris packaging was historicaly done more on logical level then on level of individual binaries and size optimalization. Current build process of OpenSolaris is based on packages from developer version of Solaris Nevada, so we are getting same large packaging situation in OpenSolaris too.

OpenSolaris 2008.11 deliver officially only GUI installations with Live-CD install profile to which user can add additional packages, even install tools like refreshed release of Distro Constructor (DC) and Automated Installer (AI) prototype are supports officially just same Live-CD install profile.

Construction of ideal JeOS is depend on OS Server Edition with full CLI support with well deffined OS Core functionality, because current OpenSolaris 2008.11 limitations we need to adjust OpenSolaris JeOS bulid strategy from Minimalization to Reduction approatch.

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