Solaris Express changes for desktop users

Along with the rest of the OpenSolaris downloads made available today, was a new Solaris Express: Community Edition, which like the current Solaris Express is based on the "Nevada" development branch of Solaris. While the bits released are the same, the community edition comes out more often, and with less testing first, to allow building, testing and debugging OpenSolaris with the same bits the engineers have internally. Once testing is done, one out of every two or three releases should be promoted to the main Solaris Express program, for those who like living near the cutting edge, but not right on it.

So the first community edition release today is build 16 of the "Nevada" branch of Solaris. The latest Solaris Express release was Solaris Express 4/05, which was build 10 of the "Nevada" branch. I imagine Dan or the Alan from Down Under will put together their usual lists soon covering the entire feature set, but I've already got a list gathered of changes you'll see in the Solaris desktop software consolidations (X, CDE, JDS, etc.) when you move from build 10 to build 16, so I figured I'd go ahead and post it. Some, but not all, of these changes should also be in Solaris Express 6/05, with the rest coming in the Solaris Express release after that.

Unfortunately, since these desktop components are not yet part of OpenSolaris, their bugs aren't yet available on the portal yet either, so I can't link to the bug database for more info on them yet.

  • Once again, new login screen graphics. (The "squiggles" didn't compress well for remote display or low-bandwidth Sun Ray, like the people in Sun's Sun-Ray-at-home internal pilot program.) Also, a 1400x1050 graphic size is added for all the laptop users.
  • Java Desktop System theme changes to match the upcoming JDS3 for Linux release. The Java coffee cup is back in the default background and the curved lines in the background don't clash with the icons as much. The Launch menu button is changed to look like a single button instead of a Java button next to a launch button.
  • Sun Update Connection icon in the JDS toolbar.
  • Updated versions of Xorg's nv (open source nVidia) & i810 (Intel 8xx & 9xx series chipsets) drivers to support newer hardware. [These are both updated to the X.Org CVS versions from around March 2005.]
  • Added libraries and clients for extensions created by XFree86:
    • programs (in /usr/X11/bin): xgamma, xrandr, xvidtune, xvinfo
    • libraries (in /usr/X11/lib):,
  • SPARC OpenGL upgraded to Sun's OpenGL 1.5 alpha release
  • Mesa open-source OpenGL-workalike for Xorg included on Solaris x86/x64.
  • Xscreensaver OpenGL modules now shipped on Solaris x86/x64 too. (Were previously SPARC-only since we had no x86 OpenGL support.)
  • agpgart kernel driver and Xorg server support (only used by the Xorg driver for Intel 8xx & 9xx series chipsets though) [See the OpenSolaris X Window System community announcements page for links to the sources integrated into X.Org CVS for this.]
  • Virtual mouse and keyboard drivers in the kernel make all USB & PS/2 keyboards and mice available via /dev/mouse and /dev/kbd, so you no longer need to manually configure your X config files to support multiple devices, and hotplugging additional devices simply works. If you open one of the other mouse or keyboard device files directly, it splits it out of the coalesced virtual devices and lets you access directly, if you need special configuration for specific devices.
  • Bugs in 3-button mouse emulation in both Xsun & Xorg have been fixed.
  • xorgcfg GUI tool provided for configuring xorg.conf files for Xorg.
  • libXext is now compatible with the XFree86/Xorg flavor of Xinerama. (See my June 2nd blog post for details. )
  • gdm2 better configured to work on Solaris (reboot & shutdown commands properly set, etc.)
  • JDS no longer locks up the keyboard when displayed to foriegn X servers like Xvnc or Exceed.

Though as I mentioned, these bits are from a development release, not fully debugged yet, so there's a couple of things to watch out for as well:

  • If you've installed the nVidia accelerated driver and upgrade to build 16, you need to reinstall that driver after upgrading since it clashes with the Mesa OpenGL in this build. That will be fixed in the future as we work on integrating the nVidia driver directly into Solaris.
  • If you're using an Xorg configuration file with multiple mouse devices, make sure the /dev/mouse device comes before the /dev/kdmouse or your system may hang on Xorg startup if you don't have a USB mouse plugged in. (Alternatively, delete the kdmouse device and just use the virtual mouse via /dev/mouse.) This is bug 6275666, fixed in Nevada build 17.


Are there no updates for XPrint in Solaris Express?

Posted by guest on June 24, 2005 at 08:22 PM PDT #

There are no Xprint specific updates in this release of Solaris Express, though Xprint benefits from some of the generic X updates since the code is shared.

Was there something specific you had in mind? The only Xprint work I'm aware of that we're planning is general bugfixes, and an update to the Xorg Xprint, probably as part of the move to Xorg's X11R7.0 release when it's ready.

Posted by Alan Coopersmith on June 27, 2005 at 03:51 AM PDT #

Solaris 10/Express still misses very basic things - there is no launcher script (/etc/init.d/xprint) nor xplsprinters, xprehashprinterlist and so on. Maybe that would be a good beginning to add this stuff...

Posted by Felix Schulte on July 01, 2005 at 08:36 AM PDT #

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