What's New in Solaris Express 8/04 (Build 63)

Solaris Express 8/04 (or Build 63, as we call it) is now available for download.

For one of our Beta programs, I've been authoring a "newsletter" of sorts for the past 5 months; this describes new features in the S10 Express releases. Partly, this is a rollup of information that can be found in the What's New doc, but it also features other stuff that I have spotted that might not otherwise be publicized.

Bart suggested that I share the Beta6 version of the newsletter on my weblog. And so here I am; it's more fun than doing laundry, at least. Remember-- this is what's new since the last express build. It's a huge list nonetheless. Who say's we're slow?

[Now that I've gone to all the trouble to write this, I see that Alan Hargreaves has beat me to the punch-- hey, no fair announcing the features before we ship the thing! (Heck, I thought pre-announcing stuff would get me into trouble.) And Alan Coopersmith has excellent coverage of X11-related (and more) changes. I've shamelessly stolen some of the highlights that Alan (C, not H) mentions which I missed. Anyway, I hope that my descriptions will fill in some extra detail, and I'll try to update this entry with links to the documentation as I have the time. Plus, there is some exclusive content you'll find only here. Hmph.]

Networking and Sharing

  • NFSv4 is on by default. The nfs client will attempt to use version 4 for all mounts; the NFS server will offer version 4 automatically, along with version 3 and version 2.
  • DHCP Event Scripting allows you to trigger shell scripts when various DHCP client events occur.
  • Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) is now implemented. SCTP is a networking technology akin to TCP that is popular in the Telco space.

Debugging and Observability

  • kmdb, the replacement for kadb (the kernel debugger) is available on all platforms and kadb is gone. Good riddance. This brings most of the functionality of mdb to an in situ debugger. The joy of ::ps is now available all of the time. Another cool feature of kmdb is that you don't need to remember to 'boot to the debugger' as you once did. Running mdb -K will cause kmdb to carjack the running the OS.
  • DTrace MIB (networking) and fpuinfo providers.
  • dtrace(1M) now sports -c and -p options; -c makes it easier to start up a process and trace it, and -p lets you attach dtrace to a running process. In both cases, dtrace exits when the target process exits, and the PID of the target process becomes available as $target. So now it's trivial to use the PID provider to trace a process from its earliest moments of life:
    dtrace -n 'pid$target:::entry{@[probefunc]=count()}' -c /usr/bin/id
    
  • per-thread modes for truss, pstack, and pflags

x86 Platform

  • The SAN Foundation Software (the fibre channel stack) is now available on x86 systems. Hook your Maserati up to your Stinger and kick some ass!
  • x86 Basic SATA Support provides support for using Serial ATA on motherboards using ICH5 & ICH5R hubs and/or Silicon Image SATA controllers 3112, 3114 and 3512, operating in IDE mode.
  • SunVTS is now available for Solaris x86, although as on SPARC, it's not installed by default. This is definitely on my list of things to try.

Security Features

  • OpenSSL is now supported, and available in /usr/sfw. This version of OpenSSL is integrated with the Solaris Cryptographic Framework (which in Solaris 10 unifies all of the crypto on the system) via PKCS#11. Secure and fast... Who knew?
  • IPSec/IKE NAT-Traversal. You can now use IPSec and IKE from behind a NAT (Network Address Translation) box, making IPSec more useful from (e.g.) DSL setups.

Open Source Integration

  • The Zebra Multiprotocol Routing Suite is now supported, and available in /usr/sfw.
  • Sendmail has been upgraded to 8.13
  • BIND 9 (the DNS server) is now available, and supported. It is in /usr/sfw. /usr/sfw/doc includes a BIND 8.x to 9.x transition guide.
  • Samba has been upgraded to 3.0.4
  • libusb 0.1.8 is now available in /usr/sfw. [I'm really excited to have this. I'm going to try to see if I can get gphoto to talk to my Canon Powershot S45]
  • Perl 5.8.4 is now available; and PerlGcc makes it easy to build perl modules using GCC (we use Sun's compilers to build the OS, including Perl, and so special effort is required to bridge to perl modules built with GCC.

Zones

  • Security auditing has been extended to work with Zones.
  • New project.max-lwps, project.max-tasks and zone.max-lwps resource controls help you better contain workloads.
  • CPU visibility inside zones is now restricted to the CPUs assigned to the resource pool, if you bind the zone to a pool. This means that you can configure a zone to only "know about" 2 CPUs on your 12 CPU server. This can be very useful for per-CPU licensing schemes.

Other Stuff

  • The default depth for Xsun is now 24-bit on all frame buffers that support it (it's in the /usr/dt/config/Xservers shipped with the system now instead of forcing everyone to edit by hand). Hooray!
  • Sun's OpenGL implementation is now bundled in with the OS; it will no longer require a separate download.
  • SVM's metaimport(1M) command now allows a user to import replicated SVM disksets (replicated via Hitachi TruCopy/ShadowImage or the like).

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