Goodbye CDE...hello OpenSolaris!

I've been using OpenSolaris at home and on my laptop for months, but was still running Nevada builds on my SPARC desktop in the office... with CDE (you know, that super old, yet super fast, Common Desktop Environment).  Well, I got a new desktop recently which is Intel based, and with the brand spanking new release of OpenSolaris 2009.06, it seemed like I needed to move into the 21st century.

While I would still like an "advanced" installer, I do think the installation went amazingly quickly and very smoothly. I had to make several adjustments to the system after installation to get it running with NIS on the Sun internal network with a static IP address, and download some of my favorite software - which was so easy with the "pkg" command! This release is much faster and smoother than what I have been running on my laptop - clearly time to upgrade that as well. I was pleased to see how easy it was to install flash and acroread as well.

The problems didn't really start until I logged in with my Sun internal home directory mounted - when I found I had some horribly ancient and mostly broken GNOME configurations (probably from the last time I seriously played around with it, back in S9 or early S10 days). gnome-cleanup took care of that and got me to a nice clean GNOME login. A few minor adjustments so that things like mouse-over to make active for windows, and a change of my default gnome-terminal preferences and I'm mostly off and running.

I also hit problems with my .xmodmaprc file, as it apparently used "keycodes" which do not translate between Xsun on SPARC and Xorg on x86. Thanks to one of the desktop team members, Michael, he told me about "xev" and that it would be the keycode lines in the file I needed to fix. With a few tweaks, my ergonomic keyboard is now behaving just the way I like it.

I did try a modern mail reader, ThunderBird, but after being annoyed it didn't believe most of my mail folders were actually mail folders (due to missing IMAP leading message), and how annoying it was to save to the folders it did recognize, I switched back to pine after about 10 minutes. (yes, I know there is a newer version of that software, alpine, but I don't like that one either ;).

Now I just gotta figure out what to do about my network calendar being stored in a format for dtcm ;)


What I did for dtcm was copy the binary (and library versions) over to OpenSolaris. It worked OK for me except for trivial font glitches.

Since then, I converted to the Java/web-based calendar, which I'm not happy with because notifications are not as good as dtcm (you have to be logged in to NF and it's still iffy it seems).

Posted by Dan Anderson on June 02, 2009 at 03:40 PM PDT #

I've been running dtcm remotely from a nevada system... Namefinder is okay for emergency calendar checking, but not really for every day use. perhaps we need to put this in the /extra repo ;)

Posted by Valerie on June 03, 2009 at 05:21 AM PDT #


Posted by Nico on June 08, 2009 at 07:36 AM PDT #

ahh, cde.. how i miss it. i really like the nimbus theme, and admittedly, opensolaris's interface is all about modern and easy to use gui substitutes for ambiguous programs and cli stuff.. but still.. i want cde back, at least as an option. i understand that it cannot be packaged with opensolaris because of licensing issues, but it'd be still nice to have it.

i've tried everything. pkgadd-ing it from a solaris 10 or sxce b130 dvd, asking around on forums, learning the whole dtsession initialisation process by trial and error.. no luck. can't even start dtlogin, dtwm freezes after a short while when invoked from failsafe xterm.

do you see any chance of easily converting svr4 packages to ips, or that cde may return in the future?

Posted by bamdad on May 24, 2010 at 02:36 AM PDT #

barndad -

I believe the problems you note go beyond a simple packaging issue (as IPS will happily install SVR4 type packages), but more around the underlying system being developed without CDE.

GNOME is much more usable now than it was when I first tried it 5 or 6 years ago. It's great using OpenSolaris where everything gets updated at the same time and I'm getting bug fixes for the entire system as needed.


Posted by Valerie Fenwick on May 24, 2010 at 04:41 AM PDT #

you're probably right. for example, dtlogin complains about d-bus and consolekit. but that's beyond the point.

i only hope opensolaris will not die given the current circumstances. gnome or not, it's still one of the best, if not the best operating system out there.

Posted by bamdad on May 24, 2010 at 05:48 AM PDT #

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