New Laptop == Fresh install of OpenSolaris

I have a new laptop. A Toshiba Tecra M9. Since it, like my brompton is owned by Sun, it is called "brompton".

The new OpenSolaris 2008.11 bits on this hardware support suspend to RAM so closing the lid with the power disconnected results in the system sleeping almost instantly and equally importantly when I press the power button it restarts from where it left off. Really something that any laptop needs to have so this is real progress.

While Tim is suggesting that Sun should give up on the desktop, something I don't completely agree with as the savings would not be that great unless you give up on the X server as well which would leave Sun Ray high and dry something that we should not do. The desktop experience on a modern 3D accelerated frame buffer is something that is getting quite appealing. While most of the features are really just icing (rotating the workspaces when you hit <control><Alt><Left> & <control><Alt><Right>) at least one I've found useful already. When I press <control> & the key there is a ripple effect as if the desktop were water and a water drop has landed where the mouse is.


It allowed me to track the mouse after VirtualBox had hidden it although in the snapshot you can see the mouse. This has probably been on my old laptop but I either had not noticed it or it was not turned on as I had selected the custom options to compiz a while back. It makes me wonder what other new features are hidden in the window system that I may be missing. A VT220 emulator maybe?

One mis-feature though is that by default savecore does not get run at boot time. I recall the head in the sand arguments that were made for turning off savecore after beta in the dark (although at the time less dark than now) days of SunOS 4.0. This seems like a similar exercise in denying reality. On the upside this is not quite so bad as it was as at least there is a dedicated dump device so the dump will not get overwritten as part of swap and can be extracted later by running savecore. Indeed the first thing I would do and did do was this:

cjg@brompton:/boot/grub$ pfexec savecore
cjg@brompton:/boot/grub$ pfexec dumpadm -y
      Dump content: kernel pages
       Dump device: /dev/zvol/dsk/rpool/dump (dedicated)
Savecore directory: /var/crash/brompton
  Savecore enabled: yes
cjg@brompton:/boot/grub$ 



        
    
Comments:

New vt220 emulator? Terminator :-)

Posted by Alan Burlison on November 28, 2008 at 02:51 AM GMT #

But does the keyboard feel the same!

Posted by Chris Gerhard on November 28, 2008 at 04:15 AM GMT #

Which graphics chip does your M9 use? I have an A9 with an Intel Mobile GM965 and it doesn't work with Compiz.

Posted by andrewk8 on November 28, 2008 at 04:18 AM GMT #

It has an nvidia Quatro NVS 103M. I've yet to see how it copes with being connected to steam powered projectors which was an issue with the old M2 I had when running OpenSolaris.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on November 28, 2008 at 04:28 AM GMT #

andrewk8, I also have Intel-powered GM965 (X3100) video in my laptop. Double-check that your /etc/X11/xorg.conf video driver is using the optimized 'intel' driver as mine defaulted to the 'vesa' driver after a fresh install of RC1. Then log off and back on and you should have Compiz effects working on the GM965 video.

Posted by Wes W. on November 28, 2008 at 04:59 AM GMT #

Disgregard last comment. I was just testing and with RC2, I don't even need to have a /etc/X11/xorg.conf file anymore as everything is autodetected properly. So, in this case, I highly suggest you try your Compiz after upgrading to RC2! Almost too easy.

Posted by Wes W. on November 28, 2008 at 05:03 AM GMT #

"While Tim is suggesting that Sun should give up on the desktop"

What do you expect from these expensive Sun's executives (Tim Bray, Simon Phipps --the open source team lead at Sun and OSOL Gvmt member ??) that for their daily work just use the Apple/MacOS platform ? For them the client-side and developers' platform must be only for Google and Apple, and Sun must just work for the backend-side niche, but they don't realize that the server-side depends on the clients and developer platform, and neither Google nor Apple backs any Sun server/OS product. The Indiana team have done a great job, since 2008.05 opensolaris is my platform of choice, and for sure the 2008.11 will be a sucess, although i think that OpenSolaris-KDE-4.1 would be the perfect match.

What Sun should do is give up on those.......

Posted by Raul on November 28, 2008 at 06:40 AM GMT #

Thanks for the info. I've tried compiz on RC2 - no joy. I'll try with a custom xorg.conf .

Posted by andrewk8 on November 28, 2008 at 09:45 AM GMT #

Tried with a customer xorg.conf - no joy. It was using the intel driver anyway. Here must be something specific to my system that is preventing it from working.

Posted by andrewk8 on November 28, 2008 at 10:13 AM GMT #

Just wanted to agree with you on the "give up on the desktop" issue - to do so would commit Sun to the history books - OK, you may retain some large customers, but ultimatley you would likely die slowly, just as HPUX is, I worked at a large investment bank in 2005 and they were just beginning a mass Linux rollout in a move to abandon many millions of pounds of Sun Sparc kit.

Linux has gained so much momentum because of the development community - a certain person once screamed "developers, developers, developers" and he was 100% right. Once OpenSolaris matures and the open sourcers can rip CDs play movies and use it as their standard desktop (while they develop) you will start to make bigger gains in developer mindshare.

Sun has some really great technology - Solaris 10/OpenSolaris is so much a different beast than the old Solaris 6-9, ZFS, Dtrace and zones have genuinely changed how I develop and use IT, Netbeans is now a slick, feature rich IDE that is really productive to use, the CMT (coolthread) range of systems are nothing short of mindblowing and your x64 kit is just as equally impressive.

When I read comments like this, especially from within Sun just make me fearful, we coined a phrase "Sun never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity", please don't miss this one.

Posted by Sean Clarke on November 28, 2008 at 03:27 PM GMT #

IMHO the desktop is such an important place to have a presence in. The key to adoption is familiarity. I would wager a small fortune that the success that Linux and Windows have had in recent years is that they have strong desktop offerings. If you use something every day you become familiar with its design principles, its quirks, strengths and weaknesses...when it comes time to deploy you are far more likely to decide on something you are familiar with than some exotic piece of software that only runs on big iron.

Posted by Che Kristo on November 28, 2008 at 08:37 PM GMT #

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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