Variety is the Spice of Blastwave

With all of the talk recently regarding the Blastwave project, I polled some of the maintainers to get an idea of the reasons these people give of their free time (and in many cases, of their pocketbook), to support open source packages for Solaris. The response was great, and therefore I've kicked off an effort to document some of these reasons. Articles are in no particular order, beyond what I feel like writing about in a given day :). And now, onward.

Life without spice, like an OS without a color capable ls command, is bland. In the past, the variety of software available for Solaris earned it a reputation for being a bit bland. Solid as a rock, but at the end of the day, rocks alone don't get the job done. Since the very early days of Solaris, system administrators, engineers and other technically inclined Solaris users decided to take the entrepreneurial approach. They began to compile and package for Solaris the vast number of software projects in the wild which typically only target Linux. These projects made Solaris more enticing to users and admins that in the past were spoiled by the riches of open source projects readily available for Linux.

Blastwave continues in this proud tradition of from-the-people-for-the-people, providing more functionality for Solaris, improving it's usablility, and at the same time, it's reputation. There is a stunning array of software that Blastwave makes available in Solaris standard SysV packages. At the time of this writing, the most recent release of great note is Gnome 2.8. Installing or upgrading Gnome on a Blastwave system is a snap -- just run pkg-get -i gnome, and all of the required packages, including dependencies, are installed for you.

If you're not into Gnome, you can always grab the K Desktop Environment (KDE) instead. It is packaged with end users in mind, including dtlogin integration, so after installation, it's as easy as logging out of your current environment and logging back in in KDE! And the fun doesn't stop with the desktop (although it could, if you're happy at that point). If you are an administrator, the variety of software available, including Apache (both 1.3.x and 2.0.x), MySQL 4.0.x, Subversion 1.1.1, and many, many more. In fact, at the time of this writing, Blastwave has 932 high quality open source software packages available -- just install and go!

Check out Blastwave today, and see if the software you need is available. If it isn't available, check the request form to see if someone has already requested it, and if not, add it to the list (or better yet, build a package and sign on as a maintainer).

As always, if you or your company are powered by Blastwave, please consider donating to the project, purchasing a single DVD, or even a DVD subscription -- every little bit helps to ensure the future of high-quality open source software packages for the Solaris Operating Environment.

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